Scott Stapp, Pop Evil and others entertain 98.9 The Bear’s Birthday Bash crowd with a ton of high energy!!


Like anything in life, there was good and bad experiences at the 98.9 The Bear Birthday Bash which was held last Saturday at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  But all-in-all the good definitely outweighed the bad.

I’ll start by getting the bad out of the way. For a two person crew (Jennifer Colleen and myself) there was a lot of running back and forth in order to catch up with our two performer interviews Sick Puppies and Bobby Amaru of Saliva. Thanks toall for giving us the time and agreeing to do the interviews which will appear on Rock Lines YorTube Channel.

Sick Puppies, Emma Anzai, Mark Goodwin and Bryan Scott

Running around is to be expected but it also cost me time in getting photos of all the bands. I had no chance in getting any of Hell Came Home, Trapt and Saliva due to time constraints. However from a fan aspect we were still able to hear all three perform. And like the entire lineup they were spot on with electrifying sets.

Unfortunately the biggest issue of the night occurred during Scott Stapp’s performance and it had nothing to do with him or his band, at least directly. Three times as the set was winding down the power went out. In fact the former Creed lead vocalist was attempting to finish a rendition of “Higher”.

That never came to fruition when following the third power loss Stapp and his fellow bandmates called it an evening. I for one couldn’t blame them. Up to that point the set was phenomenal. Stapp was clearly stoked for the show and to have an interruption is bad enough but for it to occur three times would have to be extremely frustrating and that was definitely evident by the look on Stapp’s face.

However the consummate professional that he is, Stapp accepted the plight and graciously thanked the crowd and moved on.

That was about it for the bad as for the good, the venue itself was clean and an outstanding place in which to watch a concert. Surrounded by the bustling of local businesses and apartment buildings which were attached to the ball park, Parkview Field gets two big thumbs up from this guy. Aside from the misfortunate turn of events during Stapp’s set, the sound system was top notch.

As for the performers, things got started with a heavy dose of local heroes, Hell Came Home. This five-piece ensemble bring it from the opening note right through to the last chord. They’ve been melting faces since 2013 and Saturday afternoon was no different. They polarized the fans, setting them up for an outstanding evening of rock! When you see the name on a bill it would behoove you to get out for the evening and take in their performance.

Trapt followed with a mix of old with the new. There were the trusted old favorites “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight?” and “Contagious” and their latest single “It’s Over” from the ‘DNA’ release.

Whether you’re a Trapt fan of yore or were just turned onto them you can’t go wrong. Chris Taylor Brown and company have always brought their ‘A’ game anytime I have seen them.

Speaking of bringing it, Saliva, has been doing their thing since 1996. Sure the lineup has changed with the biggest coming in 2012 with Bobby Amaru taking over for long time front man, Josey Scott. Amaru injected a little gumption to the band and they continue to be high-energy.

Saliva, Sick Puppies and miscellaneous at 98.9 Birthday Bash 2017. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

Wayne Swinny has been the one constant since their inception and he may be the most underrated lead guitarist in the business today. His silky slick presentation is something to behold. Add to that mix 17-year member, drummer Paul Crosby, and Brad Stewart, bassist since 2012 and you have a solid core for a rock band.

Saliva is your typical band from the nineties in that they work their tails off and are constantly on the road. If you’re into rock and have never seen the guys from Memphis, what the hell are you waiting for?

Whatever can be said of Saliva can also be associated with Drowning Pool. DP got started in Dallas the same year that Saliva was formed.  Three of the four members of the band that brought you “Bodies” are still around and just as electrifying as always.

Drowning Pool performing at 98.9 Birthday Bash 2017. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

C.J. Pierce (guitar), Stevie Benton (bass) and Mike Luce (drummer) have consistently been the core of DP and have had a hard time of filling the front man spot since original singer Dave Williams was deceased in 2002 from heart disease. The list has included Jason Jones, Ryan McCombs and current lead vocalist Jasen Moreno who has been in the spot since 2012.

I have seen the boys from Dallas on multiple occasions and have never walked away disappointed. Make America Rock Again was a premiere tour for Drowning Pool to be a part of. This was an excellent performance once again.

Another one of those acts I never get tired of seeing is Sick Puppies. My love affair with this Australian band started in the early 2000’s and it continues today. “You’re Going Down” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Original bassist, Emma Anzai, is a musician who is has as much talent than any four string thumper that I have seen. Her vocal work is truly amazing as well.

Mark Goodwin has been around since 2003 and works extremely well with Anzai to create a great rhythm section.

Bryan Scott filled the lead vocal slot after original Shimon Moore departed. The young Mr. Scott gave the band an instant jolt of energy and has given the band a new vigor which was definitely on full display in Fort Wayne.   

Scott Stapp was on top of the world as the lead singer for Creed throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Unfortunately things fell apart for the band and Stapp went through some personal issues that needed to be addressed.

As a huge Creed fan I was never more excited about the journey that Stapp was forced to take and eventually come out on the positive side. Seeing him perform with Art of Anarchy was a true pleasure but seeing him as the front man of his own band, singing the tunes like “Higher” and “My Sacrifice”.

Scott Stapp and his band performing at 98.9 Birthday Bash in Fort Wayne, Indiana. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

As previously mentioned the final song never came to be and “Higher” was subsequently interrupted by the loss of power. Sure those problems may have caused a damper on the evening but it was still a memorable evening to just to be able to photograph the living legend.

With that said I will note a personal disappointment in the fact that the power outage did cause a personal thrill to be taken away from me, as I was invited to take the fan shot from the drum risers following what would have been “My Sacrifice”. Yes it would have been a highlight for me but like Stapp’s professionalism, I took the bad and moved on.

Closing the evening’s festivities was Pop Evil. Like all of the bands (with the exception of Hell Came Home), I have seen the Michigan rockers on several occasions including small clubs, Ohio Bike Week and Shiprocked just to name a few.

Pop Evil performing at 98.9 Birthday Bash in Fort Wayne, Indiana. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

Pop Evil is always a great show and they proved to be that on this Saturday night as well. Leigh Kakaty is effervescent as the lead man while Dave Grahs (rhythm guitar) and Nick Fuelling (lead guitar) are tremendous with the six strings. Mike DiRito (bass) and newest member Hayley Cramer are a sheer pleasure to watch. They have an incredible amount of power as they combine to unload a pulsating, jackhammer sound.

All-in-all, 98.9 The Bear’s birthday bash was a total success from all aspects and we at The Rust Belt Chronicles look forward to continue to forge our way westward into the Hoosier state. We would also like to send a big thank you out to Shauna O’Donnell of O’Donnell Media Group for all of her help in setting up getting our photo pass for the Make America Rock Again Tour as well as Bill Meis from eOne Entertainment for hooking us up for Pop Evil.



Products, advertisements and links on this website contain affiliate marketing agreements based on commision or sales between The Rust Belt Chronicles and third party companies or businesses. We only recommend products, brands and businesses that we strongly support. Photos used on this site are used courtesy of the original authors and in no way endorse The Rust Belt Chronicles or our opinions. Thank you.
Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

Speak Your Mind

Advertise With Us!

Advertise With Us!

[Read More...]