I have done several festivals but I have never done Aftershock, that is until now! When I saw 2 of my top bands Tool & Guns N’ Roses, were going to be heading, I knew I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure if the VIP was going to offer spots in the front on the rail or if they were just going to have their VIP viewing area which is usually off to the side of the stage but not next to it. I thought if there is a chance VIP will be able to get front spots on the rail like we did for Sick New World then that was what I preferred. I honestly was hoping to get on the front rail for both of my bands and possibly get a Tool pick. Its the only one of my top 3 bands that I haven’t got a guitar pick from. Not knowing and not wanting to take the chance I bought a VIP package that included the hotel. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy them when they went on sale so when I bought my package they were only offering hotel stays starting the day of the festival. I prefer to get there the day before but I was just thankful I had my tickets and hotel and I was going to be there. About 2 weeks before the festival my daughter decided that she wanted to go with us. She wasn’t able to get a room so we ended up just letting her stay in our room which was a tight space but we made it work. The day of the festival we started our day at 3:15 am. We had a 2-hour drive to the airport for our 8am flight. We landed in Sacramento at 9:30. From there we got a car despite the mix up with the reservation and having to pay $240 instead of the $80 which is how much our first reservation was for. We left the airport and hit a dispensary, Walmart, then the hotel. We were able to get checked in early. I think it was just after noon when we got into our room. After getting ready and grabbing some food we headed to the festival.
By the time we got in Stone Temple Pilots were starting so we got to see their entire set. I will say it was hot while they were playing so we stayed back in the shade, which we still had a great view of the stage. After we watched their set we caught AFI and then The Cult. While Jess and Lexi went to see Senses Fail I went and got in line for merch and watched Incubus. Once they were done with Senses Fails they came and joined me in the merch line. I was actually just getting to the front of the line when they got back so it worked out good. After we got our merch we went and found a spot to watch Avenged Sevenfold. The spot we had was good we had a nice view and every once and a while we would move up a little. All the bands we saw that day were great! I thought it was a great way to start the festival. I know that I walked away feeling pumped to get back there the next day especially since Tool was headlining that night.
The following day we got in earlier while the Hu was playing. We caught part of their set then went to see Skillet. While we were there we met up with a guy who I met at Blue Ridge the year before. He and my daughter talked about catching some of the bands that Jess and I hadn’t planned on seeing. We all went to see Bad Omens but they went up into the pit and Jess and I went into the VIP area to check it out. Though the VIP area didn’t have any place on the rail for any of the stages it was a nice area. Lines were shorter to food and drinks and the bathrooms were not porta potties, they were trailers but nice ones. They also had some misting fans which were nice. All and all the VIP area was nice but not what I was hoping for. Anyway after Bad Omens we met back up with Lexi and that guy. We found a place to chill so we could hear the music and smoke a joint. After we were done Jess and I went back to the VIP area and watched Megadeth while Lexi and that guy left to go see another band. Afterwards we all met up again to watch Limp Bizkit. As we were walking our way through the crowd to find a good spot they came out with Break Stuff which was cool. The place went crazy and we found ourselves in the thick of the crowd and a few mosh pits. We ended up getting about 6 people deep from the rail. The crowd was nonstop through their entire set. What was interesting is that they ended up playing Break Stuff again at the end of their set. Fred Durst the singer said they have never done that and to be honest I have never seen a band do that before either. Not complaining at all as it was cool as shit and though we all got a few bumps and bruises from that crowd it was a blast. After their set we went and grabbed some drinks and sat down to hear Godsmack while we smoked another joint. Then Jess and I went to see Tool from the VIP area and Lexi and that guy went to see someone else. When we got to the VIP area it was pretty packed but Jess and I started working through the crowd to try and get closer. I was asking people if they would let us through to get to the pit and most people did but then we hit a wall when people realized there was no pit. We still had a good view from where we were. Tool did a great job! After seeing their earlier set lists I was originally a little bummed they were going to play more of their new stuff as I would have preferred more of their older stuff. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when they changed it up and not only played older songs they played The Swamp Song. This was the song that got me into Tool and from what I remember I don’t think I have ever seen them play it live until that night. Tool was amazing as were all the bands that we watched that day.
After the show we met back up with Lexi, that guy and his friends we met the other night. We ended up hanging out near one of the exits as they were still waiting on one of the girls in their group. We ended up standing there for probably an hour. It was cool because we were just chilling and people watching. We met some very interesting people while we stood there waiting. Then the 4 of us ended up walking to Denny’s thinking we would meet up with his friends once they found the other person in their group. Well I guess as we were walking to Denny’s they not only found her but drove by us and then decided not to meet up with us leaving that guy stranded with us. I knew at this point he was going to end up back at our place and we were all getting tired. That is exactly what happened. He came back with us. After we got some food delivered he ended up taking an Uber back to his friends place. I was thankful as I knew there was no room for him to stay at our place, we were already cramped.
The following day we split up. Lexi went to get a spot for sleep token while Jess and I went to check out Avatar, and Baby Metal. I heard of Baby Metal a few weeks ago from another friend so I was curious to check out their set. They were certainly different, very heavy sounds, they were entertaining but probably not a band I would go see again unless they were at another festival and I happen to catch them. We also saw Fever 333, they were ok but not as good as they used to be when they had the original band members. We also saw Parkway Drive and Amenity Affliction and part of 311’s set and Turnstile. The nights headliner was Korn. As I have said before I think I have seen Korn more times than any other band and they never disappoint. To start their sets it was me, Jess and Lexi we had met back up by this point. Anyway to start the set the 3 of us were in the back and throughout Korn’s set we started moving our way closer to the front. There were a lot of mosh pits going so we were able to move around them. I really wanted to get into one but Jess and Lexi didn’t let me. They know my Dr’s don’t want me doing them but I was so pumped and feeling the music I almost went anyway. By the end of their set we did make it about 8 people deep from the rail. At the end of their set I managed to catch one of their drum sticks. I had to hand fight someone for it but I won it in the end. Like I said not only did Korn kill it but so did all the bands we saw. By the time we left I was super excited for the following night with Guns N’ Roses.
After the show we ended up walking to this Pizza place, ordered a pizza got a couple of beers and hung out there while we waited for the surging prices to go down. Funny story about this parking lot we hung out in while we ate and waited. That first night when we met up with that guy and his friends we were going to eat there but when they got out of the car his friends said the neighborhood looked too sketch and they didn’t want to hang out anywhere near there. The night we hung out there we were there for at least an hour and it seemed fine to all of us. We had been told by people that the area wasn’t that great but nothing worse than we have all been in before. Plus there were lot of other people hanging out from the concert so never at any point did any of us feel scared.
The final day. We were feeling tired a little beaten up but we were ready and I was super excited to see Guns N’ Roses. When we got to the venue Jess and Lexi went to go see Badflower and I left to see Tigercub. I actually saw most of Tigercub’s set which included the song I wanted to see and as I was walking back I saw the end of Badflowers set. Then we all met back up because Lexi wanted another band shirt from the merch and Jess ended up buying me the Guns N’ Roses poster, because she knew I wanted it and she is amazing like that. Then we went to check out I Prevails sets which again we stood in the back so we could stay in the shade. After that we hung out for a few then split again. Jess and Lexi went to see Movements and I went to see Rancid from the VIP area. After their set I grabbed us some lobster rolls and mac n cheese which by the way both were amazing! I met up with Jess and Lexi so we could all eat while Queens of the Stone Age played. Just before their set was over we headed over to the main stage where Guns N’ Roses was going to play. We started making our way through the crowd to get a good spot and we were maybe 20 people deep from the rail. The plan was after 3 songs they were going to crowd surf out hit the restroom and get drinks and a few songs after that I was going to crowd surf out and meet them. Guns N’ Roses was supposed to start at 7:25. They didn’t come out until almost 8. People were booing yelling fuck you Axl! I was starting to worry they might be a no show. But they did come out, late but they came out and when they hit the stage all the booing stopped and people were into the music. By this point Jess and Lexi had already bailed because they couldn’t wait any longer to go to the bathroom. Not sure how many songs passed but I finally decided it was time to surf out and go find them. By this point I was only about 9 people deep from the rail. I asked these guys in front of me to lift me out and he said he couldn’t he had a bad back. So I asked the guys in front of him. At first the guy directly in front of him didn’t want to let me pass to get to those guys but they sorta pulled me up then lifted me out. I went and found the girls and then Lexi decided she wanted to hang back while Jess and I made our way back through the crowd. I ended up making it back to the spot I left. So we had a great view the entire night. Guns N’ Roses put on a killer set. Though I was bummed that because they started late they cut their set short. Of all the bands to cut short I was bummed it had to be GNR. There was some speculation as to why they were late but at the end of the day it sucked we should have had another half hour of music. I’m still not bummed overall as I got pretty close and I will get to see them again later this month in Denver.
When we left we managed to get an Uber quickly and prices weren’t surging so we got back to the hotel before midnight. We ended up ordering food from the hotel and had a couple more shots while I smoked a joint. All and all I think we all had a great time despite a few issues we had to deal with over the weekend. I will never forget this trip as it was a great bonding experience for all 3 of us and I think it just made our family that much stronger!
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