I woke up early, and left my home in Portland for what was set to be an exhausting, but fun, trip. I was set to be in Vegas the next day to see RAMMSTEIN, but decided to leave a day early to catch Mesa, AZ 98KUPD’S Mesa Meltdown featuring DED, POWERMAN 5000, and STONE SOUR! How could I not go? After pulling a few strings from previous tours with PM5K, I was set to go with my camera (all 20 lbs of it!). I left Portland at 58 degrees and landed in Phoenix at over 100, then got to the Mesa Amphitheatre, which is a beautiful setting of tiered grass sitting areas.
The amphitheater started to fill up for the first band to take the stage, DED. I was stoked to watch these guys perform, as I had not seen them live yet. Being from Arizona, they were perfect for this event. I had the pleasure of photographing and watching them tear up the stage, I could see the excitement in many of the people’s eyes, getting to watch their local boys play a well-deserved show. Their set was full of energy, and I look forward to seeing DED play again in the future. They have a new album coming out July 21 that I highly suggest you check out, Mis·An·Thrope.
Next up was Powerman 5000, a band I have been listening to for almost 20 years. I had the pleasure of touring with them during the Set To Stun Tour with ORGY. By the time PM5K was up, the temperature was near 110 degrees. I was exhausted from the heat, and so were many others. PM5K came out though and heated things up even more, getting the crowd dancing and singing along to “Bombshell” and When Worlds Collide.” I would peek up from my camera’s view finder here and there to see the crowd endlessly smiling and having fun, which is what PM5K aims for. The band stuck out the heat in their stage gear that is made of leather, Spider noting at one point that his leather vest was lined with fur. The band didn’t let it get to them though while on stage, and played a full set of already released tracks that everyone knows, and a few new songs from the upcoming album, New Wave, set for release this Fall.
The headliner STONE SOUR was up as the sun was setting. The amphitheater was filled with fans, pumped up from the previous two acts, and ready for Corey Taylor and Co. to take the stage! This was my second out of the three times I would see the band, but I had not one complaint about this, as they put on an amazing show. They know what their fans want, and this show was special. June 30 was the release date for their new album Hydrograd. I am partial to the new tracks “Somebody Stole My Eyes” and “Song #3”. Between STONE SOUR’S burning up the stage, getting the crowd involved with wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men and confetti guns, this set was a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.
Mesa Meltdown lived up to its name with 110 degree temps, and three amazing bands burning up onstage! I talked to several patrons in the days after the show, who still seemed to have adrenaline going from it, ranting and raving about their awesome time. So there you have it, another awesome night in the books, three new albums that are a must have, and more shows from all of these bands coming up very soon! Thank you to the fans that came out and endured the heat. Thank you to the bands for tearing up the stage, and ensuring everyone had a great time. Thank you to the staff that kept everyone hydrated and safe. Thank you to 98KUPD for putting on such an amazing event!!!
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ERICA VINCENT PHOTOS