98 Rockfest 2022 in Tampa: flames, metalcore, and bliss

Festival Review

Godsmack. Photo by Chyrisse.

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Live Review: 98 Rockfest–Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida – April 22, 2022

Jelly Roll at 98 Rockfest. Photo by Chyrisse.

Tampa Bay’s 98 Rockfest is back on its Spring schedule after held in October 2021 due to a COVID postponement. The 2022 event was held at the Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Earth Day April 22nd. The lineup this year included Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Black Veil Brides, Motionless in White, Wage War, Ice Nine Kills, Jelly Roll, and Lilith Czar.

The festivities started in the afternoon outside the arena as bands played free concerts in the sweltering heat.  Rock At Night just missed seeing Lilith Czar but was able to catch Jelly Roll singing originals plus pretty cool versions of songs like the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”.  Highlights included the hip-hop flavored “Same Asshole” and the emotionally-charged ballad “Save Me.” After Jelly Roll’s set, he spent considerable time under a canopy posing with fans for selfies and signing autographs. He appeared to be very approachable and the fans were lapping it up.

Wage War. Photo by Chyrisse.

Although photographers are limited to the first three songs of each band, I could tell it was one hell of an evening.  We could watch the show on a TV in the “green room” and enjoyed every minute of it. Here is a quick synopsis for Rock At Night readers:

The festival moved from the patio to inside the arena at 5:30 p.m. Fans that arrived early were treated to a show opening with Wage War.  Performing in near darkness and plenty of smoke, Wage War stomped around the stage singing “Relapse”, “Low”, and “Teeth” to kick off the evening.

Ice Nine Kills. Photo by Chyrisse.

Ice Nine Kills came out on stage wearing suits, ties, and wearing masks as they broke into “Welcome to Horrorwood”.  Likely influenced by Alice Cooper, there was plenty of ghoulish fun as lead singer Spencer Charnas swung an ax and attempted to decapitate one of the band members. Lots of smoke filled the air as this metalcore band performed their hearts out.

Motionless in White. Photo by Chyrisse.

Chris “Motionless” Cerulli of Motionless in White was wearing a Lightning jersey as he made his way through the thick smoke singing “Reincarnate”, “Necessary Evil”, and “Voice”.  Like the bands before, the thick smoke and dim lighting were a photographer’s nightmare. But it appeared the concert goers were having a blast, singing along with the lyrics, and fist pumping their hands in the air.  The festival was totally in high gear by this point.


Black Veil Brides. Photo by Chyrisse.

Black Veil Brides performed in near darkness as Andy Biersack sang his heart to “The Phantom Tomorrow”.  Gone were the days of the Warped Tour when the media was able to photograph up close and personal. This night, the band opted to have us at the soundboard which meant stepstools and a distance of 100 feet. Why, Andy?


Three Days Grace. Photo by Chyrisse.

Now, the band Three Days Grace came next—and they totally killed it. Matt Walst is one hell of a lead singer and the band totally blasted the festival to a whole new level as they tore into “So Called Life” and “Animal”.  This Canadian band is a must-see on the festival circuit and they never cease to amaze.  Special thanks goes out to the band’s management  for using a white spotlight so the photos are crisp and clear—and the audience can see the band from every seat in the house. Kudos, man!

Godsmack. Photo by Chyrisse.

The final show for the evening was Godsmack.  Before the show began, videos were shone on a white curtain that masked the stage. Then, the curtain dropped to reveal the band hitting the ground with megaforce singing “I Stand Alone”.  During “When Legends Rise”, we were treated to full pyrotechnics as flames shot up behind the band members. We could feel the warmth of the flames in the pit, which actually felt nice since we had been literally standing on ice. Godsmack was killing it as they continued belting out songs, working the crowd up into heavy metal frenzy.  They continued their set which included an encore of “Come Together”—and a perfect way to end another awesome 98 Rockfest.



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Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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