SKOGROJET Day 2: PRETTY MAIDS, KROKUS, THE DARKNESS, BLACK STAR RIDERS Soak The Stage!
January 2, 2018, 16 days ago
The first on our schedule (and off my bucket list) is Sweden’s own Imperial State Electric featuring Nicke Andersson of the Hellacopters. Would I ever get this chance back home? Probably not. I’ve always loved what I’ve heard and they did not disappoint. Great stuff for those uninitiated to check out.
A quick stroll to the Crystal Rock Stage (was that rain?) for Denmark’s Pretty Maids. A true classic in the vein of NWOBHM and another I never dreamt I’d see. Things are looking good!
Hey! Krokus is doing an autograph signing! What a nice surprise. I haven’t seen Fernado in the line-up since the Def Leppard / Gary Moore tour of 1983, and it was a thrill to finally say hello and get a hug! Unfortunately, the sky soon opened and completely rained out their set for us. (The locals seem well-equipped for such water-sports. Sigh...) We did, however, get a promise for 2018 US dates so there is always that to look forward to!
It’s time to get dried off and fed while we wait for the rain to subside. The wonderful organizers have a media tent with hot coffee, cookies and WiFi. But is that Backyard Babies I hear? The downpour did let up a little, and somebody lends me a poncho. They’re one of my favorites, and I haven’t seen them in ages. Not since they were making a big New York push in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s. I’m so glad they’re back together.
We sprint to the car to dry off and change some clothes, cutting through the backstage and saying hello to Dregen and Nicke Andersson before making our way back to the Bandit Rock Stage. At this point, the photo pit is a giant puddle, but the resourceful staff have shovels in hand, creating an impromptu drainage ditch. And that’s OK - The Darkness are here to welcome in the late nightfall (it is Sweden in the summer after all.) I try to never miss The Darkness, and Justin was as hysterical and commanding as usual. I’m already looking forward to the US dates this spring.
Onward and upward! Finally the rain just about stopped (although my shoes are soggy and feet are wet) and it’s time for Heavy Fire! Black Star Riders – the first time seeing them with no Thin Lizzy songs in the set (albeit “Whiskey In the Jar”) and I’m fine with that. Their originals are THAT good!
We’re running on fumes at this point, but we can’t leave before shooting Saxon. This performance makes what will become one of the 3 times I see them in 2017! I just can’t get enough. Who’s ready for the Saxon / Black Star Riders / Judas Priest tour 2018?
Time to say good night to what definitely is “the friendliest festival in Sweden”. The 2018 dates are booked August 3rd-4th and Mr. Big, Dokken, Dragonforce, Evergrey and the Quireboys have already signed on. Update your passport and check your calendars. The summer is coming sooner than you think!
Check out the Day 1 report here.