Riders On The Storm rode in on a storm and took Lockport by storm.

While rainy weather threatened to dampen the concert, rain up until nearly the start of the show didn’t stop it from going on. The weather Gods relented and the rain blew by leaving the Ulrich City Center cool and clean as the sun poked through the clouds. Only a short delay of about a half hour as tarps were removed from the stage and the sixth Canal Concert of 2008 was off.

Mo Porter
The number of concert goers was up from all previous weeks, at least judging by the early turn-out. When Mo Porter Band took the stage, they had a sizeable crowd ready for their show. And the crowd was ready for the Buffalo band’s bluesy rock sound. They played a number of original, well written songs. I hadn’t seen them play before, but I was impressed and hope to see thm play again. They have a CD which was available at the show, but I didn’t see any ordering information on their website, so you’ll have to get to a show if you want one.

ChyldeThe attendees continued to arrive and by the time the second band, Chylde, played, it was as big as some of the headliners previously enjoyed. Their younger, more aggressive music was a good opener for the Doors/ROTS. I enjoyed most of it as background to conversation with friends, as I kept running into people I knew. It’s bound to happen with so many there… They’re playing a couple times this month at Mohawk Place and at a Music Is Art benefit at HSBC Arena later. They’re worth another listen, so there’s your chances.

Someone told me that the Riders On The Storm had attracted a lot of out of town people to see their show, to the point of nearby hotel rooms being scarce. Wow, if true, that’s great for the area. Fresh back from a tour of Spain and England, the Riders are making only a small number of appearances in the US this summer. We were lucky to be one stop.

This is what I had to contend with taking these pixPhotos are posted.
I’m afraid they are limited, especially those of ROTS, because of the size and enthusiasm of the crowd. I just couldn’t get as close to the stage as I usually do.

But the crowd size continued to grow and had to have set yet another record. Someone was taking pictures from the roof of the nearby Farmers and Mechanics building. I’d really like to see them, they’d be a real indicator of the show size. Hopefully, they’ll be used somewhere in the event’s publicity.

Robby KreigerRiders On The Storm took the stage and the crowd pressed forward even more. I stayed back about 50 feet from the stage, but people still were coming through squeezing into where there was no more room. I was happy to stay where I was as I knew up closer to the stage it must have been tight. I took some pictures but, between the waving hands and the distance, I don’t know how many will be keepers.

Finally, I just put the camera down and enjoyed the music. Even then, people continued to shove by and finally, I had enough and began to think about moving back to more open spaces. I followed someone who was going back (it’s always easier to follow in someone’s wake than to break through on your own.) and eventually it became a whole group of people slowly working our way towards the back of the square. We did okay, going slowly and avoiding tripping on the curbs in the middle. I had left my camera’s monopod out and shortened it to about cane-length and it came in handy for discovering hazards before I tripped on them.We did good until we came head on up to a guy in a wheelchair going towards the stage. The people in front of me stopped to try to let him pass, but the people behind us, not seeing the wheelchair, decided to break ranks and go around. For a minute, we were pinned between the wheelchair guy and the stream of people who had been behind us.

After we got out of that traffic jam, we had reached the snow fence by the first ticket table/beverage sales area. The crowd finally show some gaps here and there and just as I got to one, I met a friend and stopped to talk a bit. This all seems trivial and over-explained, but I swear, it seemed like it took fifteen minutes to get out of there.

So I spent the rest of the show farther back, where there still was a lot of people, but you could at least stand without someone bumping into you every 5 seconds. Yeah, that’s outdoor concert life, and I am used to it, but it gets old sometimes.

What I don’t get is some of the things people do that go against all common sense. Like bringing kids who are too small to the show. I saw so many toddlers and younger, who weren’t enjoying themselves, or just sleeping on an adults shoulder. And wheelchairs. I have nothing against the handicapped, and don’t want to exclude them, but don’t expect to be able to move around in one during the peak of the show. I see several people in wheelchairs or “mobility devices” each week. The smart ones arrive early, get a good spot and stay there and enjoy the show. I welcome them to do that and join the fun. But don’t expect to cruise through the crowd while it’s packed.

I saw one woman on one of those scooter things all over the place and everywhere she went she was scowling at people and forcing them out of her way. Look, everyone wants to move and let you by, but there is nowhere to go! Park it or stay home if that’s the way you want to be. You’re giving the handicapped a bad name.

Back to the Riders. When I heard they had added Brett Scallions as their lead singer, I said to myself, “Yeah, that might just work.” He’s a talent and a name in his own right and the personality might just work as the front man for the Doors legacy. He’s not Jim Morrison, but he doesn’t have to be, he’s a strong enough personality on his own to work there. It was a good choice.

More ROTS info at Ray Manzarek’s web page.

So that wasn’t any let down. They came out and played a good set, no complaints. It was good, long enough and I enjoyed it. I was a bit dissappointed though, that it covered no new ground. Nothing since the Doors. None of Ray Manzarek’s solo stuff or anyone else’s for that matter. It was all familiar Doors tunes and safe and sure to please the masses. They held out with Light My Fire for the encore.

Havin' fun at the concertDespite the large crowd, it seemed to be trouble-free again. I had seen a couple fights the week before that were quickly and efficiently dealt with by the security and police. This week I only witnessed one small disagreement over some shoving. I’m sure there were more I didn’t see, but if my experience is typical of most peoples’ there was nothing to spoil anyone’s evening.

I did wonder at one point what the Sheriff’s Department helicopter was doing. It’s been common to see it do a flyover during the concerts, but this was the first time I had actually witnessed it doing more than that. Towards the end of the night they seemed to be circling around with their spotlight on looking for someone or something a few blocks away from the concert. It’s nice to know they are not just burning fuel to show it off and that it’s actually being used to assist the Lockport Police.

I have noticed that the number of grass-roots entepreneurs (for lack of a PC term) has subsided. Obviously, people aren’t paying $7 to park in a lot that’s further away than the free lots, and the vendors of pop, water, and food have dwindled to only a few. The prices of food and drink inside the concert aren’t that out of line (unless you buy bottled water.) and the people who stay outside to watch is limited. I noticed, that at the corner of Walnut and Locust, only a couple, including the popular Ice Cream truck, were left this week.

I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. There is no doubt that the concerts are bringing people and their money to Lockport, but the oportunistic and greedy gouging has been met with the appropriate response – staying away in droves!

This week there were several large trucks pulled in, end-to-end, at the back of the VIP area along the fence at Walnut Street that blocked the view of the stage that many people enjoyed from lawn chairs in past weeks. I wonder if that was intentional, or inadvertent. If it was intentional, it was a cheap shot to those few people who needed the use of a chair.