The Worst of Rocklahoma 2013, Starring Axl Rose
Some of the attendees were of questionable nature, with a variety of tattoos and T-shirts expressing various viewpoints that are, shall we say, somewhat extreme. No doubt rural Oklahoma, with its various billboards on abortion, meth addiction and Christianity prominently displayed outside of the reaches of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, is a more likely place to encounter such a phenomenon, but realizing I was standing behind a man who has "WHITE" tattooed down one arm and "POWER" tattooed down the other was still unsettling to say the least. --Gavin Cleaver
There were some fantastically terrible tattoos on display. Note to self: Invest in a laser tattoo-removal chain in the Oklahoma area ASAP. --Jaime-Paul Falcon
As Jaime is going to go into detail over, the GNR performance was a true debacle, but the supporting cast were hardly stellar either, with the bookers unwilling to take many chances outside of the most generic of metal. Again, not surprising as no one really comes to this festival to be challenged, but to put a band of the quality of The Sword on a side stage at 5:15 p.m. on a Friday to play to precisely no one is such a terrible decision you have to ask if the person that drew up the schedule knew what they were doing all the time. (GC)
We arrived at the fest late, but we joked the whole time it didn't matter, because no matter how late we arrive, Axl Rose would be even later. Of course we were right. The mercurial Rocker was 30 minutes behind us, but his legendary demands were keeping us from getting into the festival as the media entrance was blocked off, because as the security guard said, "I've got Axl coming through."
We made it to the stage in time to see Axl mangle "Live and Let Die" and as the 51-year-old ex-baddest boy in the business struggled to hit any type of pitch or remember most of the lyrics it dawned on us what we were in for. An aging crazy person's personal fashion show.
Axl took every opportunity to disappear backstage and change clothes. Each song ended with a solo by one of the band's members, which would then be transitioned into a lead-in solo for the next song. This gave Axl enough time to amble off stage, change into a new leather jacket, garish T-shirt and matching hat. During the 13-minute (!) version of Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heavens Door" (a song about suicide, that Axl promptly dedicated to the victims of Moore), we experienced three separate breakdowns, and what felt like four separate Axl costume changes. This wasn't a Guns N' Roses show, this was Axl embracing his inner Madonna.
Sometime between Axl fumbling the lyrics of "Patience" and the horrid cover of The Who's "The Seeker," I decided there was a way to fix this (Night)trainwreck. Axl just needs to disappear again. Ball is in your court Axl, we're begging you to grab it and run. (JPF)