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Grand Casino Amphitheater, Hinckley, Minnesota, USA, June 2016

Jeff Kunze: Photos by Emilee Franklin

jeff kunze

bad company
Hey Mr Tambourine Man...

Fans poured into the Grand Casino Amphitheater after a storm delayed the event for around 45 minutes and despite this, there was a big anticipation and excitement in the air.

From the opening notes of 'Oblivion', The Winery Dogs commanded your attention. Billy Sheehan, Mike Portnoy, and Richie Kotzen comprise the all-star band and they cruised through 'Captain Love', 'Hot Streak' and 'How Long' with polished precision.

Kotzen and Sheehan were trading off amazing licks that lace their songs while Portnoy is a monster behind the kit and delivers some entertaining antics while he drums. Along with pulling off the instrumentation, vocally those three nailed the harmonies to perfection. The set ended on the rousing 'Elevate' and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

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Bad Company hit the stage with 'Live For The Music', 'Gone, Gone, Gone' and fan favourite 'Feel Like Makin' Love'. The ringleader, vocalist Paul Rodgers, was spot on, as was the whole band.

Filling out the sound were Simon Kirke (drums), Howard Leese (guitar), Todd Ronning (bass) and guest guitarist Rich Robinson from The Black Crowes. The energy revved up on 'Ready For Love' and perhaps the highlight of the evening, 'Shooting Star'.

bad company
Ronning with the pack...

Rodgers worked the crowd hard while orchestrating a giant sing-along of the chorus and the band closed the set with the classic cuts 'Can't Get Enough' and 'Rock N' Roll Fantasy'. The lights dimmed until the iconic piano intro of 'Bad Company' spilled over the crowd to start the encore. This song still packs an emotional punch and sounded as fresh as ever. Closing the show with 'Rock Steady' gave the fans one last chance to roar with approval.

Overall it was a great night of music and I want to thank Grand Casino Hinckley for the hospitality they gave MetalTalk in their excellent amphitheater. This venue has become one of my favourite locations for concerts as the sound is simply incredible, the stage is large and the seating layout allows for great sightlines no matter where you are seated.

bad company
PR looks younger than he did ten years ago...

Anybody that loves that 80s hair Metal vibe should look at the big two-day event called The Grand RockTember Festival IV that is held by the Grand Casino Amphitheater. The line-up features Vince Neil, Tom Keifer, Queensryche, Stryper, and Night Ranger along with many others. Definitely two days of great music.

The Winery Dogs Setlist:
1. Oblivion
2. Captain Love
3. Hot Streak
4. How Long
5. Time Machine
6. I'm No Angel
7. Desire
8. Elevate

bad company
Sheer (han) class...

Bad Company Setlist:
1. Live For The Music
2. Gone, Gone, Gone
3. Feel Like Makin' Love
4. Electricland
5. Ready For Love
6. Man Needs A Woman
7. Burnin' Sky
8. Running With The Pack
9. Moving On
10. Shooting Star
11. Can't Get Enough
12. Rock N' Roll Fantasy
13. Bad Company
14. Rock Steady

bad company
Any Port (noy) in a storm...

bad company
It's a Dog's life for Richie Kotzen...

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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