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At the State Fair, years later

I hadn’t been to the State Fair since probably middle school or earlier. When I was little I remember not really thinking much of it, it was kind of boring. I wasn’t really into all the farm animals or walk-through buildings. I liked the model trains. I think I liked the rides too, but that was when I was really young, memories of which I don’t have any more. I do remembering wanting to ride the sky ride that took you from one end of the park to the other – I considered it a ride in itself. And there were lumberjacks too, and how can you not like lumberjacks?

After at least 15 years away from the fair we decided to go back. However, we had a purpose besides just going to the fair – we went to rock. Our (now) 3-year Over-the-Hill metal tour continued on with Slaughter and Quiet Riot. Admission to the fair was included with the concert tickets so we decided to make a day out of it.

Frankly, nothing has changed at the Fair all that much. Naturally it seemed a little smaller than what I remember, but all the essentials were there. But this time I enjoyed the animals a little more. When I was little I didn’t like the smell and I think I was afraid of them, but chilling with the sheep and horses this time was pretty enjoyable. Too my dismay, however, the model train feature has been reduced to a mere tent with one train setup. Having grown up with model trains the Train Building was always a highlight. It was HUGE with a ton of train layouts. A shame to think that the model trains were bullied out of there building by old ladies showing off hook-pull rugs and log cabin quilts.

Perhaps the nicest corner of the fair has always been the Natural Resources section where you’d find the lumberjacks and Smokey Bear. This part of the Fair was all-natural as it was there to educate everyone about water safety, endangered animals, and not playing with matches. And ODNR section is still the nicest part of the fair. It’s relaxing and has lots of space where you can sit and watch people. Watching Smokey Bear talk to children is very entertaining.

But after all that fun we did come for one purpose – metal. We had come to see Slaughter, despite their status as opening act. I have never really been a Quiet Riot fan, but Slaughter was right up my alley of early-90s last-chance hair metal.

Slaughter played a very good show, far better than I had expected. I knew th show would either be really good or really bad, thankfully Mark Slaughter has taken care of himself and his voice. Some of the renditions of their songs were a little different, but all-in-all sounded great. Slaughter even took off into the audience at one point – still singing – something you won’t see from many other bands. I would have to guess that Slaughter  realizes they are at a state fair and are just happy to be playing. I can respect that. And by the end of their set the drummer had totally trashed his drum kit – first accidentally but he quickly finished it off in true metal fashion.

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A quick reset brought out Quiet Riot. The lead singer looked like a Rod Stewart gone bad and danced like he was Mick Jagger. To his credit, his voice was intact just as good as it was 25 years ago. The original drummer was also there to keep the beat, but the guitars were new guys, although each doing their part well. Both bands played a little under an hour of music – perfect considering their age. Of course, both bands have new albums out if you believe that.

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Now this being a state-sponsored event, the Fair that is, every performance must have a sign language translator for the deaf. Let me tell you there is nothing more entertaining than watching some middle-aged women try to hand signal out Slaughter and Quiet Riot songs. They had to translate live and their signals were hilarious. I’m not knocking signalers, I feel for them in this type of situation, and they’re doing the best they can. Can you imagine having to sign, “I want to kiss your lips and not the ones on your face”? Check the clip below for a little taste of the signing that was included with the video screens.

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There are more photos from the entire concert in the Photo Gallery. The video audio sucks because the acoustics in the venue sucked and the video camera sucks. Suck+suck=suck.

And just keep track of the rock we’ve digested over the past few years: Poison (B+), Motley Cure (F-), Journey (A), Cinderalla (B+), Quiet Riot (A), Slaughter (A), Aerosmith (A+), Guns N Roses (B+), Def Leppard (B). We’ve been lucky that most of these guys still sound pretty alright.

10 Comments

  1. becky becky August 12, 2007

    hey, i was just thinking that if i had the money, i would love to go with you guys sometime to one of these shows.. I heard that they were coming via the brew but would have gone if i had known ya’ll were going and that I had money saved up.

  2. Brian Brian August 12, 2007

    You should have gone then! It was $8 for a ticket…the other shows we’ve gone to were much more (although some were free). There’s always next year for the fair.

  3. Jen Jen August 13, 2007

    Pretty much all of those 80s shows were free thanks to Brian’s employer.

  4. Chris Chris August 14, 2007

    The state fair was fun when I was a kid. I remember going to the ODNR fishing pond that was stocked FULL of catfish, and when you caught one, they would wrap it up for you. I also loved the midway games. The last time I went was the summer after my senior year at Grandview, and it SUCKED! First of all, it August and about 112 degrees. Second, the place is white trash heaven, and third there is nothing really to do if you aren’t a kid. I have had to talk Allison out of wanting to go a few times. She has this idea that it is some fun festival, which it ain’t. A concert is about the only adult thing to do. I’m with you on wanting to see Slaughter over the Riot, and the signing thing is pretty funny.

  5. Brian Brian August 14, 2007

    Yeah, the state fair is the state fair. If she’s never been then she needs to experience once, if for nothing else so you can say, “I told you so”

    At one point we felt VERY midwest as we stood watching a half-ass parade and band plow down the midway.

    And despite the fair clientelle being what it is, you can have the most fun at the fair just finding a spot in the shade and watching people — of course pointing out their fashion flaws and comment on their tattoos.

    People watching and concerts are the only reason to go the fair. Oh yeah…and elephant ears, those too.

  6. becky becky August 15, 2007

    Ah, I used to love the rides.. the danger involved was half the fun too! I found something quite nostalgic thinking about people from past generations experiencing the same carnival fun that I was having on that ferris wheel. As a preteen, with the church youth group, it was fun gossiping and hoping the cute boy from sunday school liked you too!

  7. King Tom King Tom August 22, 2007

    I’ve had to work at least one day at the fair for each of the past four years. Did I ever tell you the Grand Funk story?

  8. Jen Jen August 24, 2007

    I want to hear about the Grand Funk story! Are they old and bitter so they decided to get drunk and throw up on your booth?

  9. King Tom King Tom August 25, 2007

    >Are they old and bitter so they decided to >get drunk and throw up on your booth?

    Close….
    (I apologize if you’ve heard this already.)

    So one Saturday morning (2005, I think), I’m working at the booth (which is right in the front of the building and always gets mistaken for an information booth) and remark to a co-worker about how there are a lot of people wearing Grand Funk t-shirts.

    Turns out that Grand Funk was playing a free concert that night.

    Eventually, this old woman rides up on one of those rent a scooters, leans in, looks me in the eyes, and says to me, in a voice I and my co-worker can hear:

    “The doctors say my husband has two weeks to go. His last wish is to see Grand Funk Railroad tonight. Can you make it happen?”

  10. Jen Jen August 30, 2007

    LOL! How sad that that was his dying wish. Easy wish to grant since it was a free show though.

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