Music, lights and the screams of fans filled the night sky over Joint Base Lewis-McChord as the Dallas rock band Drowning Pool unleashed a furious torrent of tunes Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010.
DP front man Ryan McCombs roared into his microphone to the crowd's delight while bass player Stevie Benton furiously slapped his bass, offering little sympathy to unprotected ears. C.J. Pierce, the band's guitarist, offered his own version of auditory assault slashing away at his guitar. In the back, Mike Luce pounded away on his signature DW drum kit, filling the air with crashing cymbals and thumping bass.
"The show was amazing," said Spc. Amanda Scott, from Oxford, Mich. and a nurse at the Madigan Army Medical Center. "Being right in front of the band is always awesome, especially with the military shows because they (the performers) always interact with the service members, like reaching down and tagging your hand or whatever."
For some, this is the first time they've seen Drowning Pool up close and personal in concert. For others, it was their first concert period.
For 7-year-old Eli Cetta, the show was his first live concert.
"My favorite part was when he (McCombs) shook my hand and gave me this drumstick," Cetta beamed.
He was front row center with his mother, father and two sisters. A drumstick, guitar pick, and handshake from the lead singer? Not bad for his first show.
Drowning Pool has a long history of supporting the military services having played bases all over the world, including Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"Ryan says it on stage just about every night when we play soldiers," Benton said. "He's like ‘There are people over there fighting to allow all of us and all of you to be here at this show right now so give it up for those people.'"
"We have nothing but huge amount of respect for the military and we're just glad that we can play this show as a welcome home." Luce said.
"I think it's important for MWR to put on shows like this because it makes the soldier's feel like they're appreciated," said Lafayette, La. native Spc. Atley Morvant with the 140th Transportation Detachment. "I love these guys for doing that. I love when the bands come and support the military and I know Drowning Pool supports the military at every opportunity."
The band gets back as much from the military community as it gives. Fresh from a tour to Iraq in 2006, the band wrote the song "Soldiers" for their 2007 album Full Circle, as a tribute to those they'd visited overseas.
In addition to playing a show, the band took time to do a meet and greet put on by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation at the newly renovated Bistro at Russell Landing on American Lake. The band enjoyed the gourmet pizzas at The Bistro and then signed autographs and took photos with a few service and family members.
"It's a great thing that they take time from their tour to come support the soldiers," said Pfc. Aaron Hodges, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, after getting his picture taken with the band.
The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program also played a part in making the show a success.
"This event was so exciting for everyone," said Spc. Monique Miranda, JBLM BOSS garrison team vice president. "BOSS, MWR and AAFES have been trying to throw several different events for the post and to have such a great turnout was so great."