Not even the rain could put a damper on Day 2 of Rock USA with Judas Priest, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Whitesnake, Dokken, and Road Trip taking the stage.

Judas Priest was out with a vengeance, touring to support their latest album titled “Redeemer Of Souls,” bringing some heavy metal thunder to a rain soaked crowd.

With heavy favorites like “Painkiller,” “Hellion/Electric Eye,” Victim Of Changes,” “Hell Bent For Leather,” “Jawbreaker,” and the new “Redeemer Of Souls,” the stalwarts of metal had the crowd of metal maniacs going wild.

They also provided the audience with a dose of their hits with songs like “Turbo Lover,” “Living After Midnight,” etc.

A staple of every Priest show is vocalist Rob Halford riding his Harley on stage, and he did, as he does so often before the opening riffs to “Breaking The Law.”

The band was tight and Rob Halford, Glen Tipton, Richie Faulkner, Scott Travis, and Ian Hill, delivered the goods as they plodded through a solid set that pleased the faithful and left the crowd of young and old asking for more.

The Priest responded with an encore and ended the night with their classic “Living After Midnight.” A fitting end to Day 2 at Rock USA.

Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd took the stage next with former Blackfoot guitarist Rickey Medlocke on guitar. The heaven’s opened up but in spite of a rain soaked stage the band played on to a very receptive audience.

Medlocke’s guitar tech ran out on stage a few times to wipe down his guitar as the band churned through their hits like “Saturday Night Special,” “What’s Your Name,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Call Me The Breeze,” “Simple Man,” and more. Johnny Van Zant dedicated ”Simple Man” to the marines who fell victim to a deadly shooting in Chatanooga, TN earlier in the day.

Often called Southern rock’s “Stairway To Heaven,” no Skynyrd show would be complete without their blockbuster hit and crowd favorite “Freebird.” The crowd asked for “Freebird” and they obliged. Southern rock had been welcomed to Northeastern Wisconsin and was here to stay.

Whitesnake took the stage next and opened with the scorching “Burn” with a smiling Coverdale making an appearance in time to belt out the lyrics to the Purple classic.

The weather wasn’t cooperating and it started to rain but the band played on through a variety of Whitesnake rockers like “Still Of The Night,” “Give Me All Your Love,” “Here I go Again,” and also a few brilliantly redone Deep Purple classics like “You Fool No One” and “Mistreated.”

Some personal disappointments was the much loved track “The Gypsy,” from the Deep Purple album, “Stormbringer,” and now Whitesnake’s Purple album, not making the set list. Also missing was Michael Devin’s awesome harmonica intro being dropped from “You Fool No One,” all probably due to time constraints.

Coverdale has weathered time well and backed by the very talented musicianship of Joel Hoekstra, and Reb Beach on guitars, Michael Devin on bass, veteran Tommy Aldridge on drums, and keyboard player Michele Luppi, the band still puts on a stellar show.

It was time to start rockin’ with multi platinum selling recording artist Dokken. Surviving decades of recording and touring the band comprised of vocalist Don Dokken, guitarist Jon Levin, skinsman ‘Wild’ Mick Brown, and bassist/vocalist Mark Boals, hasn’t lost a step.

Playing a slew of their hits like “Kiss of Death,” “Into the Fire,” “Breaking the Chains,” “Alone Again,” “Too High to Fly,” “Tooth and Nail,” and more, they had the early afternoon crowd head banging and singing along.

Northeast Wisconsin’s very own favorites Road Trip kicked of the festivities on day 2 of Rock USA playing a set catered to the familiar crowd. They opened their set with an original track titled “Two Days, taken from their cd Please Disturb followed by crowd pleaser “BlackBetty,” by Ram Jam. Other songs in the set included “Best Day Of My Life,” by All American Authors, “Bring Me To Life,” by Evanescence, and two more originals which included “See Me,” also taken from their cd Please Disturb, and a new heavy sounding and well written track titled “(Falling) Into Pieces,” which is yet to be released. They ended the set with a rocking rendition of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

With a solid performance, lead vocalists Amy Joe Doty and Richie Plath, lead guitarist Jason Busse, rhythm guitarist DJ Doty, bass guitarist Flap Welschand, and drummer Andy Welsch helped set the tone for the rest of the bands on the bill that night.

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Judas Priest
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