Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Children were hoisted onto their parents shoulders, overlooking the large crowd. As Hinder walked on stage, the field went dark and the crowd went wild.
Theory of a Deadman and Hinder played at the Sounds of Freedom 2012 concert for Combat Center fans.
The event provided service members and their families with a fun Saturday night out and a break from the regular routine in the high desert area.
“On weekends I usually just go to my buddy’s house; the concert was something different to do,” said Lance Cpl. Robert McElheny, student, Marine Corps Communication Electronics School. “It was awesome; I loved it.”
The show opened up with Hinder, who performed some of their most popular songs and crowd favorites. Fans screamed and sang along with them. However, the members of Hinder emphasized it was their honor to be there.
“Coming here and playing for Marines means a lot to us, we get to give back,” said Austin Winkler, Hinder’s lead vocalist.
In their 11-year history together, Hinder has performed in front many military audiences across the world, including in Europe, Africa and aboard naval vessels. Visiting the Combat Center however, was a first for the group.
“We always want to say thanks to all the troops,” said Mike Rodden, Hinder’s bass guitarist.
Theory of a Deadman was the final performance of the concert, and much like with Hinder, the crowd was already well versed in their lyrics. However, unlike Hinder, this was the band’s first time in front of a military audience.
“We found out we were playing here not too long ago,” said Tyler Connolly, Theory of a Deadman’s lead vocalist. “The first thing I thought was, ‘Do we get to shoot guns? Can I drive a tank?’”
Throughout their performance, the crowd never lost their momentum. The band, field full of Marines and their families, fed off each other’s energy until the final note of the concert.
In addition to playing on stage, the bands met some fans in Combat Center’s Hashmarks Staff Noncommisioned Officers’ Club before the concert. Marines were able to take pictures and get posters autographed by the musicians.
Meeting the Marines and sailors left a lasting impression on the band.
“We got to meet a bunch last night,” said Mike Rodden, Hinder’s bass guitarist. “We went to a bar down the street, hung out with them, played pool and chatted.” “It’s an honor,” Connolly said. “There’s a ton of bands that they can choose from, and the fact that they chose us is amazing. It’s awesome.”