Judas Priest, Lynryd Skynyrd unmatched by torrential rain

Wisconsin festivals have fared pretty well this year avoiding inclement weather in exchange for cooler temperatures, or in some cases, scalding ones. However, night two of Oshkosh’s Rock USA did not have that privilege, instead experiencing near torrential rains on and off throughout the evening.

Earlier bands Road Trip and Dokken escaped the brunt of the weather, but starting with Whitesnake is when it turned grim. Seats empty, the grounds not abuzz per their usual, many fans hiding out in the beer tents, eventually emerging for a Whitesnake set worthy of a listen.

Lynyrd Skynyrd returned for 2015, originally a part of the inaugural line-up just five years ago. Rain didn’t stop the “Sweet Home Alabama” outlaw jam band even if they were on the receiving end of the worst of the night. The middle aged crowd Rock USA gathers easily identified with their classics but needed a little push to get them in the same groove as the band. Waving a weathered American flag, vocalist Johnny Van Zant dedicated “Simple Man” to the four fallen United States Marines, victim to a deadly shooting in Chattanooga, TN earlier in the day.

Temperatures dropped and rain continued until Judas Priest’s long awaited set for the young rock festival. Near sideways rain was hell bent on threatening the continuance of the show, however the rain soon subsided and the set lived on after midnight.

Priest’s heavy metal allure was well at work alongside their staple classics and mended seamlessly with their 2014 album Redeemer of Souls. Rock USA more readily sang along to “Breakin’ the Law” and “Hell Bent for Leather”, especially enthusiastic as Rob Halford rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle to center stage.

Following Alice Cooper’s lead, Judas Priest closed the second night of Rock USA on a classic rock note – one the festival has heavily geared its liking to. Other years have featured newer rock artists such as Avenged Sevenfold, returning to headline day three of the festival with Breaking Benjamin and Papa Roach.

 Judas Priest

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Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Whitesnake

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