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COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Grand Casino’s Grand RockTember Music Festival

Updated: 09/18/2013 4:12 PM
Created: 09/16/2013 5:06 PM KSTP.com
By: Aaron Chalich

This past weekend I attended the Grand Casino “Grand RockTember Music Festival” in Hinckley, Minn., at the Grand Casino Amphitheater.

In one day, nine popular bands played to an almost sold-out crowd. The place was packed, and everyone was ready for a great time.

The line-up was amazing and included, Trixter, L.A. Guns, Kip Winger, Warrant, Dokken, Skid Row, Firehouse, Lita Ford and Tesla.

Trixter performed first, and they started right on time at 2 p.m. sharp. Then, about every hour, a new band played until the event ended at about 12:30 a.m.

I really thought that the bands that were selected to play at Grand RockTember Fest were the perfect mix. You had all of the classic rock bands from the 80s that everyone grew up listening to. I never would have thought I would see Trixter, L.A. Guns, Dokken, Lita Ford, Skid Row, Warrant, Firehouse, Kip Winger, and Tesla all on the same stage in one day.

The bands sounded great, and they played all of their classic songs. To see them all together was unbelievable. I really enjoyed Firehouse, Lita Ford, Skid Row, Warrant, and Tesla. I had never seen L.A. Guns before, and I was excited to see them for the first time. They were amazing. 

The one thing that I also really liked was that all of the bands played all of their hits along with some of their newer songs.

It was also great seeing all of the fans on their feet screaming for their favorite bands and singing along with the bands to their favorite songs.  Everyone was having a great time, and it was fun to talk to other fans about their favorite bands like Skid Row and Dokken and to hear about their first time they had seen them in concert.

The funny thing with us rock fans is that we all remember the first time we saw a certain band and where it was at and all of the specific details. It’s like asking someone where they were when they saw the moon landing or when they heard Elvis died.

When I first heard that the Grand Casino was going to do a huge rock fest with nine bands in one day, I didn’t know how they were going to do it.  That’s a lot of bands, equipment, people to organize and schedule. 

I must say that everything went so smoothly and all of the bands played on time. There didn’t seem to be any problems at all. 

As soon as one band was done, their equipment was wheeled off and the next band’s equipment was wheeled on and set up very quickly. They had it down to a science.

The Grand Casino Amphitheater is amazing.  I really enjoyed how everything was arranged.  You had concessions in the back and the food and drinks were very reasonably priced.  There were very large bathrooms that were located in the back of the venue.  There didn’t seem to ever been a large line for the bathrooms, which was nice.

I was really impressed by the two very large HD screens that were on the side of the stage so people in the back could see the concert.  The video was so sharp and clear. I was blown away and had never seen jumbo screens with that great of quality of video before.

The only thing that was unfortunate was that it rained for most of the afternoon, but that didn’t affect anything.  The casino handed out ponchos, which was nice.  Some people did leave the concert. The majority of the people stayed though.

Overall I had an amazing time at Grand Casino’s “Grand RockTember Fest” and I know that everyone that attended did as well.   The lineup of bands was amazing and they all put on great shows.  I really hope that the Grand Casino does another RockTember Festival or another music festival again.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist with KSTP.com writing about entertainment news.


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