Tampa, Florida (April 14, 2019) – For 11 years now, Tampa, Florida’s premier rock station 98 Rock has played host to one helluva single day music festival 98 Rockfest that takes place at Amalie Arena. While other festivals have all sorts of different things going on, 98 Rockfest is all about the music. While the festival takes place at an arena, they also have a stage setup outside that is free for everyone. With Blue Stone, Glorious Sons, Scratch & Sniff, and P.O.D. playing on the Plaza stage outside, the fans without tickets to the main event were still able to see a great show.
When it comes to the main event inside Amalie Arena, the folks at 98 Rock did an outstanding job this years with the lineup. With five top notch bands taking the stage inside, this looked like one of the best Rockfest’s that 98 Rock has put together. The first band to hit the stage was Motionless In White. Lead singer Chris Motionless came out on stage in a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey and cheered on the team. With Amalie Arena being the home of the Lightning, and this being the start of the NHL playoffs, this was a really classy touch. During their fierce set which included “Necessary Evil”, “Untouchable”, Voices”, and “Loud (F*ck It)”, they also announced that their next album would drop on June seventh. They also played “Disguise”, which is one of the tracks from their soon to be released album.
The next band up was Rival Sons. Based out of California, this bluesy rock band is also out in support of their sixth studio release Feral Roots. Their show started off with an amazing drum solo by Michael Miley then they launched into “Back In The Woods”. On “Electric Man” Guitarist Scott Holidays fuzz laden tone and singer Jay Buchanan’s voice play so well off of each other that it truly the definition of rock n’ roll. During their set Jay Buchanan said to the crowd that sound you hear is rock n’ roll, and boy was he right.
Now it was Underoath’s time to entertain everyone was next. This Grammy award nominated band is from Tampa, so this would be a big homecoming from them, and of course the packed house gave them lots of love. While they normally are a high energy band, you could tell that being in this particular arena gave them an extra spark. Guitarist Timothy McTague kicked off their show playing a drum setup on the side of the stage, then they launched right into “On My Teeth”. During their set, it was really nice to see that they had young family members sitting on the side of the stage watching all the action right up close. Of course, lead singer Spencer Chamberlin sounded great, and with the big stage they had to work with he could really toss his microphone sky high.
Next up it was time for Three days Grace to show the audience what they can do. This foursome from Canada has proven themselves to be nothing more than a complete hit machine. Their ten song setlist did nothing to dispute this. Kicking things off with their latest hit “The Mountain”. Lead singer Matt Walst sounded great. With guitarist Barry Strock ripping off one memorable riff after another and bassist Brad Walst, singer Matt’s brother, along side drummer Neil Sanderson providing a rock solid rhythm section, it’s no surprise they have achieved the success they have. Of course, they played hits like “The Good Life”, “Pain”, “Animal I Have Become”, “Never Too Late”, and to close out their performance “Riot”. Just their performance alone was worth coming out to this festival.
But there was one more act left on this night, the mighty Godsmack! These stalwarts of the hard rock scene have definitely earned their legendary status with a huge catalog of hits and an intense stage show that can only be appreciated live. Coming out to a mix of songs from The Beatles, Aerosmith, and Queen they immediately launched into one of their newest hits “When Legends Rise”. With lead singer Sully Erna playing rhythm guitar while belting out the lyrics with his powerful voice, he played the part of the rock god to perfection. While all eyes are on Sully, guitarist Tony Rombola quietly goes about his business and delivers killer riffs and dynamite solos. They ripped through a set containing hits like “1000HP”, “Cryin’ Like A Bitch”, “Keep Away”, and “Voodoo”. One of the highlights of a Godsmack show is when they play “Batalla de los tambores”. During this number a second drum kit is wheeled out onto stage and Sully and drummer Shannon Larkin have a highly entertaining drum duel. With cymbals crashing, drums being pounded unmercifully, and sticks flying these two highly talented musicians put on a show that is a feast for the eyes and ears. They finished out an incredible performance and night with “Bulletproof” and “I Stand Alone”.
Without a doubt the folks at iHeartMedia, 98 Rock, and Amalie Arena did an outstanding job putting on another 98 Rockfest. From the free show outside to get fans fired up, to the top notch acts that play the big stage inside the arena, every year this one day festival continues to deliver the goods. Now fans will have to wait another year to see who will be gracing the stage for the next 98 Rockfest.