On the third and final day of Rock on the Range, rangers traded in their ponchos for T-shirts and bikinis. Already a step ahead of the first two days before it had even begun, a karaoke version of “Sweet Caroline” had everyone singing at the top of their lungs. The music faded out, replaced by the heavy guitar intro to “Pleasure and Pain”. Rather than waste time with small talk, they made the most of the short set, packing in as many songs as possible.
An opening slot on the main stage didn’t seem to do Trivium justice. Following the recent departure of drummer Nick Augusto, the band was still on point, getting everyone moving on their latest single “Strife” and setting the bar high for the bands that followed, with a contagious energy on closing song “In Waves”. Australia’s Twelve Foot Ninja brought the Jäger Stage a quirky and refreshing fusion of rock and reggae before it was time to return to the main stage for Adelitas Way. Lineup changes and some time off the road served the band well. Frontman Rick DeJesus never stood still, promising to join whichever side of the stadium gave him the most energy. The closing notes of “Invincible” came, and DeJesus made good on his promise, crowd surfing from the front of the pit to the back, and then back again. Asking Alexandria’s lead singer Danny Worsnop is working his way up again in new project We Are Harlot, featuring members of Silvertide and Sebastian Bach. The new group were obviously no stranger to big crowds, delivering an impressive and fast paced set. Wolfmother seemed to be an unusual choice with this years metal heavy lineup. Donning short shorts, guitarist and singer Andrew Stockdale hit every note without hesitation throughout a set that seemed to flow together like one long guitar solo.
Mastodon hit the main stage next, fueling the crowd with melodic metal. Each song had it’s own character with each member of the band singing a song or two to keep things fresh. Over at the Ernie Ball Stage, Of Mice and Men were playing to perhaps the most insane crowd of the weekend. A circle pit that looked more like a running track moved nonstop amidst an insane sea of bodies flying through the air.Impeccable skill from guitarist Mark Tremonti combined with the powerful vocals of Myles Kennedy made for an unforgettable set from Alter Bridge. The new single “Addicted to Pain” marked the first sighting of Spider-Man crowd surfing his way to the front, and the classically inspired guitar played against heavy riffs throughout the too short set.
The general consensus at past years of Rock on the Range appeared to be that Five Finger Death Punch brought a performance far bigger than their opening set times. This year the band was second to last on the main stage, and security had doubled in size in preparation. A traffic jam of crowd surfers rolled above the crowd the instant “Under and Over It” began. Each and every member did their part to entertain and interact with the crowd as they sped through a hit filled set list. Guitarist Jason Hook sat down with an acoustic guitar midway through the set, accompanying singer Ivan Moody on “Remember Everything”. The lighter ballad was the calm before the storm, which picked back up for the duration of the set.
Just a few short minutes after 9 pm, the lights on the Main Stage dimmed for the last time as headliner Kid Rock slowly made his way out onto the stage. Before he walked out, a clip of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin”” was played from the speakers and cut off appropriately during “born and raised in south Detroit” leaving the audience to scream the lyrics from the top of their lungs and officially introduce Kid Rock. He spoke a small prayer from behind the stage getting the crowd riled up in anticipation and finally emerged onto the stage accompanied by sparklers going off in the background. Kid Rock took into account that it was a rock show so he kept the energy high by jumping up and down across the stage and doing cool little mic tosses during “You Never Met a Motherf***er Quite Like Me.” Other songs included in the setlist were “American Badass,” “Cocky,” and of course, “All Summer Long.”