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Moondance Jam 21
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July 19-21, 2012 - Pre Jam July 18 - Walker, MN

Moondance Jam
Walker, Minnesota
July 16-18, 2009

By Dan Wall and Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited

Review originally posted at classicrockrevisited.com
August 2009

Note from Dan Wall:
If I hadn't started writing for Classic Rock Revisited, I would have never had the pleasure of meeting Jeb Wright. And if I had never met Jeb, I would not have found out about the glorious treasure known as the Moondance Jam. For the third time in four years, my buddy Brad (Phil Collins to most of you) and I traveled to the tiny northern Minnesota outpost of Walker for the three-day festival, held on a former farm site in the backwoods near a lake (how surprising for Minnesota). And for the third time in three years, I had a great time.

Note from Jeb Wright:
Out of the many trips I make for Classic Rock Revisited, none are a special as the Moondance Jam. After all these years, it is just as special to see the friends I have made as it is to see the bands play or to interview the artists for the jumbo-tron right before they take the stage. Many jaded rock critics claim that rock n' roll is dead. They obviously have never been to Walker, Minnesota for the, as Dan Wall says, "glorious treasure" called The Moondance Jam.

GETTING TO WALKER AIN'T ALWAYS EASY

By Jeb Wright

I calculated that I would have to leave at 5:00 am in order to catch my flight from Wichita to Minneapolis, which departed at 7:55. The nice thing about flying out of Wichita is that there are never any big lines or crowds. Arrive an hour early and you are good to go. The alarm went off, I got up and threw my bag in the car and headed out to the highway. I arrived on schedule, parked in long-term parking and headed to the terminal. Once inside, I noticed quite a line of people at my airline. There were two employees behind the counter and I wondered what the holdup could be. Turns out the main reason for the wait was that one of the two people, an overweight puffy guy, was new and really didn't know what he was doing. The seasoned vet working next to him spent most of her time showing him how to weigh the bags, print the tickets and check people in. The line was still moving, however slowly. Suddenly, the unthinkable happened
Puff daddy's printer ran out of paper. This was the kind with the holes in it that have to be lined up just right. It took him twenty minutes to change the damn thing. To make matters worse, we had Mr. Idiot at the counter talking to the good employee. He was changing his seat, buying tickets for another flight, trying to get the weight of his bag down and he didn't even have correct money for the bag charge and had to rumble around in his wallet for a credit card. He was there for a half an hour. Ms. Good Sense finally announced to us, "Anyone here for Minneapolis needs to check in using the machine or you may miss your flight." Many of us scurried to the machines and swiped away but found that the machines didn't work. Just as all of the passengers with Minneapolis tickets were thinking about rerouting our trip, Jake-ette and the Fat Man sprung into action. Mr. Idiot finally left and the computer paper whizzed through the machine. Two at a time, we checked our bags, got our tickets and ran to the security check.

I got through security and didn't even take time to tie my shoes. I began running through the airport. I got to my gate as the line was entering the stairway to take us to the tarmac, where the peashooter of a plane would take us up into the friendly skies. I made it--by five minutes. I was on my way to Moondance. For the rest of the flight, I sat back, closed my eyes and cranked up Judas Priest on my iPod in anticipation of the event.

I met Classic Rock Revisited rock god Sean Turner in Minneapolis and we rented a car and began our four-hour drive to Walker. We cranked up the tunes and told tales of misadventure the entire way. We were pumped to be going to the Moondance Jam. This is the best trip of the year as far as I am concerned. This year, the Jam has been scaled back from four days to three. A day taken out of the event is a sad occasion, but we were still here a day early, and there was a great party on the grounds with Moondance favorites Mountain Ash and Eighties tribute band Hairball cranking it up all night long. Plus, a three-day lineup consisting of Kansas, Foghat, Shooting Star, Journey, Sheryl Crow, The Spin Doctors, Whitesnake, Lita Ford, Judas Priest, Grand Funk Railroad, Asia and Yes had drool dripping out of the corner of my mouth. Add to that the fact that five of my favorite rockers, the all female AC/DC tribute band, ThundHerStruck, were going to be on site and this long weekend was already living up to its potential.

Sean and I checked in with Backstage Manager, and Mountain Ash lead guitarist, Mark Kirchoff, and got our credentials for the weekend. We had a few hours to kill, so it was off to the hotel to check in and to The Lucky Moose for dinner. During dinner, I called Roger Earl of Foghat, as they were in town a day early as well. Roger told me to get over to his hotel where he and the boys would be meeting for dinner at 7:00 PM. We stopped by Roger's room, where he was kind enough to sign some copies of my book, Stadium Rock. Sean and Roger sampled some fine wine. When Roger offered me a glass, I reminded him I have been on the wagon for decades. He said, in his British accent, "That's right. You don't drink. Well, I am sorry for you. Tell me, Jeb, do you not drink because you don't like to drink, or did you drink so much that it is just a good idea for you not to drink anymore?" When I replied the latter, Roger stated, "Well then, I am okay with that. I have a lot of friends that are that way. If you had said you didn't like drinking then we were going to have a problem."

We sat down and ordered a drink, mine non-alcoholic, and were joined in the dining room by Roger, bass player Craig Macgregor and guitarist Bryan Basset. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Charlie Huhn had missed his flight and was not going to arrive till the next day. We talked all things Foghat, politics, Moondance Jam, Walker, Minnesota, Craig's son's band, Comic Book Heroes, and Van Halen being back with David Lee Roth until the boy's food arrived. Not wanting to watch them eat, we excused ourselves and headed back to the campground to watch the bands.

When we arrived, Mountain Ash was already into their set. They are a great band and were on fire this particular night. The BOC cover "ETI" sounded as good as the original, as did UFO's "Doctor Doctor." The boys also trotted out a great cover of "Run Like Hell" by Pink Floyd. At the end of their set, they received a large ovation. Next up were a true trip of a band. Hairball, hailing from Minneapolis, is a tribute to the music of the 1980's big hair movement. They have two singers. While one is dressed up and performing onstage as Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, the other is hidden away putting on his Paul Stanley makeup and getting ready to take the stage and sing Kiss songs. This goes on all night with every hair band worth their weight in hair spray being part of the act. The backing band is tight and plays their ass off. They involved the crowd in the onstage shenanigans and I think I even saw a boob or two being flashed. Hairball needs to be working as the house band for the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas. If ever the was a Vegas act waiting to happen, its Hairball.

I left the Saloon to take in all of Moondance's majesty. After missing last years concert due to being in Los Angeles to cover the VH1 Rock Honors, I have to admit, it felt good to be home. Everything was just as I remembered. I walked around the empty arena, went up and stood on the empty stage and looked out into the night. I walked through the darkness of Billy's Backstage Bar and gazed over to the barren VIP area. Soon, and soon indeed, the emptiness would be gone. The masses would ascend upon the grounds and bring the Moondance Jam back to life. Stepping onto the grass at the Moondance Jam is like stepping onto hollowed ground. This truly is where the magic happens. I looked around knowing that for the next three nights I would be interviewing bands, watching them perform and hanging out with people just like me. Who would have thought that four hours from Minneapolis, in the middle of nowhere, a rock n' roll heaven could exist? The odds are staggering that this thing should never have happened; yet here we are getting ready to celebrate the Jam's eighteenth birthday. Long live rock n' roll.

DAY I

Notes from Day I by Jeb Wright

Being friends with the guys in Shooting Star, Kansas and Foghat made the first day a real thrill for me. I was able to interview members from each band for the big screen out front and each of the bands performed at the top of their game. A real surprise was finding Country music superstar Jo Dee Messina hanging out backstage. It seems she was going through the area and wanted to stop and chat with Sheryl Crow. I even got a hug and a cuddle from her as it was damn cold and I am a big guy who was wearing a very warm pull over. I didn't mind and even told her that I would keep her warm anytime. When I told her that if she had come by tomorrow night then I could have introduced her to Judas Priest, she said, "Isn't that who Ozzy used to play with?" I told her, "Close enough" and laughed. She did a classy thing and got her band and played a short acoustic set in the backstage bar and grill proving you never know what is going to happen at the Moondance Jam. On the main stage, Sheryl Crow jammed away, followed by Journey. Sheryl was much better than I had anticipated but Journey seemed to be having technical problems. They have recently parted ways with long time producer and soundman, Kevin Elson, and on this night the bass was way too loud. The band still performed well though the sound was off kilter. It could have been the cold temperatures, the wind or the rain that muddled things up on them. Too bad, though as Journey is a powerhouse of a live band. All in all, however, day one was awesome. The Jam was underway.

DAY I PERFORMANCE REVIEW BY DAN WALL

Journey is back and headlining the Jam with new lead singer Arnel Pineda. Pineda is quite arevelation, singing all of the Journey classics presented in a clear and strong voice. The great thing about him is he doesn't try to be Steve Perry (or Steve Augeri); he has his own style, his own stage presence and never struggles to hit notes like Augeri did. The rest of the band is still solid, save for bassist Ross Valory, who at times sounded like he was playing a different song than the rest of the guys (could it have been the bass volume, which for most of the set overpowered the rest of the mix?) Neal Schon is a true superstar on guitar, his piercing solos grabbing a prominent spot in virtually every song played. Jonathan Cain's versatility and Dean Castronovo's power help make Journey one of classic rock's best live acts. Those 19 songs in the set, which featured no less than 10 melodic rock masterpieces, don't hurt the band's cause any.

Sheryl Crow might not be the first artist who springs to mind when filing out your classic rock festival wish list, but Ms. Crow did an admirable job winning over the crowd. Everyone rocks a little harder live, and so does Sheryl-she adds Ram Jam's "Black Betty" and Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" to the set to emphasize a tougher side, while not forgetting to play all of the hits that made her this decade's prominent female rock star. The singer's band is versatile and well drilled, and the 80-minute set goes down quite smoothly.

Kansas is sounding better these days, as keyboardist/vocalist Steve Walsh looks like he's having a bit more fun onstage than during the band's previous appearance here. His voice sounded better as well. The rest of the boys can still bring it onstage like no other progressive rock band from the 70's-Phil Ehart is simply one of the greatest live drummers on the planet, bassist Billy Greer is powerhouse who also sings very well, Rich Williams does his best to play the guitar parts of two (remember, Kerry Livgren no longer tours), and David Ragsdale fills in on guitar and violin all of the parts that Livgren and Robby Steinhardt used to specialize in. "Point of Know Return," "Dust in the Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son" still figure prominently in the 65-minute set.

Foghat is a tough band to follow at a festival like this. Despite the fact that Lonesome Dave and Rod Price are no longer with us, the band could not have found any better replacements than they have in Charlie Huhn and Bryan Bassett. Huhn, who has done time with Ted Nugent, Victory, Humble Pie and Gary Moore, is a powerhouse singer who can also play lead guitar. Bassett, who toured for years with Molly Hatchet and and Wild Cherry (yes, the "Play That Funky Music" band) is a great guitarist who can actually play all of Price's famous slide parts. Bassist Craig Macgregor and drummer Roger Earl are the holdovers from the band's classic line-up, and "Fool For the City," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" and "Slow Ride" still sound great, no matter who's around to play them.

The surprise on Thursday was Shooting Star, the veteran rockers from the Kansas City area who opened the show. Most of the fans I talked thought the band sounded better than just about anyone who played on Thursday, and that's quite a feat, since the temperatures fell into the 40's during the day (this is northern Minnesota, after all). Leader Van McLain still leads the band, alongside original drummer Steve Thomas, violinist Janet Jameson, keyboardist Dennis Laffoon and powerhouse vocalist Ronnie Platt. The real star of any Shooting Star show is the songs-I always thought this band had enough to become huge, but alas, it didn't happen-as ""Touch Me Tonight," "Hollywood," "Hang On For Your Life" and "Last Chance" all sounded great on a chilly, misty day.

DAY II

NOTES FROM DAY II BY JEB WRIGHT

Judas Priest and Whitesnake didn't do interviews with me, which was a disappointment. They both neglected to do meet and greets with the fans as well. The backstage area was pretty barren during the evening but during the day, it was bustling. The Spin Doctors actually did a good job. They were fun to chat with and they were a much better live band than I would have expected. Dan Wall does not agree with me, but I quite enjoyed their music. It was, however, very out of place for a day filled with heavy metal.

Whitesnake's Doug Aldrich is a cool dude and a great guitar player. He was going to do the interview with me but the band's tour manager would not allow it. Hats of to Doug for being a team player and a class act. Doug was awesome to everyone backstage. He took photos, signed autographs and hung out and watched the bands. He even showed up the day before to rock out to the opening nights acts. Lita Ford was awesome as well. We did a great interview. She has her kids and husband out on the road and they were a ton of fun to interview. I even got a hug from the Queen of Metal. Judas Priest were simply amazing. The Moondance Jam does not book a lot of metal acts but Judas Priest turned in the best performance of the entire weekend, though both the Snake and the Priest were too loud for some. What ever happened to the old adage, "If its too loud then you're too old?"

Oh, I almost forgot the funniest moment of the day. I was backstage eating when I noticed Whitesnake's Reb Beach in the woman's restroom. He was standing in front of the mirror putting mascara on his face. He saw me and said, "I am just putting a little on the beard to make it standout
not on my eyes" to which I replied, "I ain't judging, man. I ain't judging." On the way to watch Priest, I also noticed Geoff Downes of Asia and his tour manager backstage. They were walking and appeared to be trying to figure out where to go in order to watch the band play. They almost walked out into the general arena when I stopped them. I introduced myself and asked if they were looking for stage side. They said 'yes' so I escorted them to where they needed to be. Geoff said, "Haven't we got an interview for the jumbo-tron with you tomorrow?" I said, "Yes and that I was looking forward to it."

Backstage, the place to be was the toilet. I went in to take a leak and was met by Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest. Once inside, a giant of a man entered and walked into the shower, thinking it was a stall. He said, "I guess I shouldn't pee in there" to which I replied, "Go ahead, a lot of people pee in the shower." Once done, I gave it a shake and went outside. Moments later, the big man came outside and I realized it was Chris Squire of Yes, who like Downes had showed up early to scope out the bands. There was a musical reunion of sorts when members of Yes, Asia and Whitesnake all gathered on the cement ramp outside of the dressing rooms. Sir Coverdale even gave Chris Squire a kiss on the cheek on his way to his tour bus.

The final triumph of Day II was the arrival of the girls. ThundHerStruck was in the house and I was hanging with my buds. Andrea, Stephanie, Carin, Dyna and Tina all smiled and gave me hugs. Later on, after the main stage acts were done, they blew the roof off the saloon with their high-energy set. They were just warming up for their opening slot on the main stage the next night. We ended up hanging with Stephanie and Carin, taking them back to their hotel room and staying up until five in the morning talking rock n' roll and laughing. Stephanie proved she can do amazing things with an apple but that is another story. I also won a bet with Stephanie that Motley Crue played at the US Festival '83. She was there and she lost the bet
One that I still have not collected, I might add.

DAY II PERFORMANCE REVIEW BY DAN WALL

It's something everyone needs to experience once in their life-watching Judas Priest from the photo pit in front of the stage. The sound, the fury, the blinding reflection from all of the rivets on Rob Halford's leather jacket-well, I'm sure you get the picture. And if don't, then you probably never wanted to. The band is playing British Steel top to bottom on this tour, and it sounded great. Amazingly, Halford can still hit most of the notes that very few humans can hit. Guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing haven't aged since the bands hey day, and the rhythm section of bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis is rock solid. Not exactly everyone's cup of tea at a festival, but if you love heavy metal, then you would have loved this show. (Note-I saw the Priest again on July 31 in Concord, California. A better show for two reasons-the band had its own lighting rig, which was more extravagant than the one used at MJ, and the crowd was totally into the set from the first note of "Rapid Fire." Same songs, just a bit louder).

Whitesnake is back on the road, and David Coverdale's bunch can still knock out the melodic rock with aplomb. If there is problem with his set, it's that he still wastes 20 minutes or so allowing guitarist Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach and drummer Chris Frazier time to solo-why bands (or singers-maybe there's a clue) waste 20 minutes of a 70-minute set on solos and not the four songs the band could be playing is beyond me. When knocking out the biggies from the 1987 album or staples such as "Love Ain't No Stranger" of "Slow and Easy," everything is fine. There have been reports on this tour that Coverdale's voice is faltering, but on this night it was strong and clear.

Ever since Lita Ford came back on scene last year, rock fans everywhere have been rooting for her to reclaim her spot as the queen of rock. Not sure she's quite there yet, but I will admit she is making progress. I last saw her at Rocklahoma in 2008, right after the downpour. Nothing was particularly wrong, but nothing was mind-blowing, either. At MJ, with a new band in tow and a couple of songs from a new album, she certainly put on a better show than last year's. I liked her band better; some people didn't. I liked the set better; others didn't agree. She played guitar a bit more this time, and with guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal adding a bit more of a sleaze factor and rock riffing to the band's sound, it seemed more like a rock show than a greatest hits review. The huge hits, "Close My Eyes Forever" and "Kiss Me Deadly" ended the set with a bang, and the blonde guitarist ended up winning over the crowd in the end.

It's hard for me to comment on the Spin Doctors because I don't like them. You know the old saying about not saying anything about someone unless it's nice; I'll evoke that here today. Local cover band Zed Leppelin opened the show with a fun set of classic; these guys do Zeppelin as well as anyone.

DAY III

NOTES FROM DAY III BY JEB WRIGHT

Sean and I made friends with a couple of beautiful ladies who were at the show with Asia's Geoff Downes. We ran into them again and even got our picture taken with them. What was most impressive is that they remembered our names. I must admit, I do not remember theirs! The interviews were fun on this day. Every band participated, with Geoff Downs of Asia and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad being the most talkative. Odd news came down to the backstage area concerning the Meet & Greets with Asia and Yes. Everyone was informed that both bands would not sign autographs and did not want to be touched. They would take pictures and chat with the VIPs, momentarily, though. I shook Downes hand three times during the day and wondered if I was breaking the rules each time! Kidding aside, I really liked Asia. Dan says they "laid an egg" and I even list them as the worst performance on the main stage but that is only because Grand Funk and Yes were both on top of their game. Asia did great and played a good set list. I can only admit that a festival crowd may not have been the place they were most comfortable. Asia are a very cerebral band and, unlike Yes, do not have nearly as large a catalog to tailor a set list to a specific event. John Wetton sounded amazing but he needs to get a PR person to help him dress. The baby blue pullover with the dark blue slacks just wasn't sexy at all.

I did a wonderful interview for www.classicrockrevisited.com with former Kiss, and current GFR, guitar player Bruce Kulick. Bruce is not just a killer guitarist; he is also a big fan of rock n' roll. He was hoping to get his picture taken with Steve Howe but the reclusive guitarist was able to stay hidden until show time. Kulick also attempted to speak to former ELP and current Asia drummer Carl Palmer. When he introduced himself Palmer said, rather abruptly, "Please do not bother me. I am trying to get into a zone." Palmer also provided a good backstage moment when he arrived with the band. Now remember, everyone had been told not to touch or ask for autographs from the band. As soon as he got out of the van, the vultures descended. When a pair of drumsticks was thrust in his face he said, "I'm not going to sign those." The über fan asked, "Why not?" Palmer sternly shot back, "Because I said so" and walked away. I am not damning Carl because backstage should be a sacred place where an artist can prepare for a show and not be asked to sign photo after photo, album after album and stick after stick from the same guy. It is not very classy. One piece maybe, if they are cool with it, but not a ton of stuff that is just going to end up on eBay. Note to those who will find themselves backstage: Don't be a goober and ruin it for everyone. Remember you are in their pre-show area. Respect them and they will respect you.

ThundHerStruck brought a huge crowd for their set. Honestly, there were more people watching them than there were watching some of the national bands. I have seen them several times but never before had I seen them put on such a powerful set. If you love AC/DC then you will love ThundHerStruck. Dyna is a dynamite vocalist with a dynamic personality. Tina is Angus Young's younger sister. Andrea is way hotter than Cliff Williams. Carin, while the same size as Malcolm Young, is much easier on the eyes and Stephanie bashes the skins like she is filling in for Phil Rudd on AC/DC's current tour. From Bon Scott era album cuts to the Brian Johnson era classics, ThundHerStruck rock.

The worst thing about Day III was that it had to end. We left our friends in the saloon, as we had to get up in only a few hours to drive to the airport and return home. Leaving Walker, Minnesota is always tough but this year seemed even tougher. Each year that goes by I feel more like a member of the Moondance Family and I leave a bigger part of myself behind. Despite cold weather for two of the three days, # 18 came off without a hitch. The music and people merged together and the magic happened.

DAY III PERFORMANCE REVIEW BY DAN WALL

Despite that fact that no one thought Yes would fit in as the headliner here, the band did a decent job of finishing things up on the main stage. I still don't know if you want to book Yes and Asia to close your festival, but at least this set wasn't a complete wash out (see Asia for that). With vocalist Jon Anderson at home with a medical problem, Benoit David has been brought in to tour with the band. David was singing in a Yes tribute band in Montreal (how many times have we heard that before), but his voice is dead ringer for Anderson's, and he did a great job in a difficult spot. Steve Howe still looks 100 years old but plays like a man that looks at least half his age. Bassist Chris Squire is the muscle, drummer Alan White the backbone, and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman the son who can play all of his dad's part (he is Rick Wakeman's son). The set featured most of the band's classics ("All Good People/Your Move," "Roundabout," "And You and I"); thankfully, there were no long solos, boring parts or 45-minute songs during this performance.

Asia really laid an egg. The band just didn't do anything to light a fire under this crowd, despite the overall brilliance of its songs. No matter what the band tried-playing King Crimson and ELP songs, acoustic arrangements-nothing really worked. Except for the set closing "Heat of the Moment," this was about as bad a show as you can get at a big festival on a Saturday night. Was it Howe doing double duty? Is that too much to ask a man his age? The set list? Whatever it was, Asia didn't win over any new fans on this day.

Grand Funk Railroad did, though. This was one of the best performances of the weekend, and the best I've seen GFR since the band reconvened with Max Carl and Bruce Kulick brought in to replace Mark Farner. The band's does its best to mix it up the party songs ("Rock and Roll Soul," "Footstompin' Music") the epics ("Closer to Home") and the biggies, such as "We're an American Band." Original members Mel Schacher (thumping bass) and Don Brewer (solid drums) are still around to add a bit of authenticity to the proceedings, but it's the mix of professionalism, showmanship and those great songs that make the package so special.

Ah, Thunderstruck. The mascots of Moondance. The wild women from Los Angeles have become a must-see act here in Walker, and the crowd loves them. The all-female AC/DC tribute act plays both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson-era songs, and the crowd here laps it up like a cold beer (which they do very well here also). If you ever have 20 minutes, I'll tell you the story about trying to get the tour manager and drummer back to their hotel. And Ozzmosis, an Ozzy tribute band that does both Black Sabbath and solo material, was a fine opener; brought in at the last minute to replace Thin Lizzy, the guys made a 21-hour, overnight drive to Walker to play for a small yet appreciative crowd.

FINAL THOUGHTS BY JEB WRIGHT

As I write these words, Moodance Jam # 18 already seems like an ancient memory. It went by way too fast. I enjoyed being involved in the event. I loved seeing my old friends and making new friends. I laugh when I think back to being in the crowd preparing to watch Kansas and having a conversation with a drunk Canadian and his wife. Seeing his reaction when he looked up to the jumbo-tron and saw me was priceless. He looked at me and then to the screen and then from the screen back to me. He pointed and leaned in and asked, "Is that you?" I told him it was my twin brother and he believed it. His wife laughed and hit him and said, "Of course it is him. Do you think twins his age dress the same way?" The Moondance Jam, for the most part, consists of like-minded people, coming together to celebrate music and life. This is much, much more than a rock concert. It is a yearly retreat that allows us to relive the glory of youth, no matter what our age in the present day. The physically young get a glimpse into why our generation loved rock concerts so much, while the young at heart get three days to shed the pressures of adulthood and be themselves for a change.

If I found a magic lamp, rubbed it and a genie came out, granting me three wishes, I would tell him that I needed only one: To make everyday The Moondance Jam. There are several music festivals around the country, and there are concerts every night across the United States; there is no shortage of live music. There is, however, a shortage of places like the Moondance Jam. I remember being sixteen years old and drinking beer in the parking lot outside of an arena at least five hours before the concert started. I remember talking with anyone who happened to wander by. I remember everyone cranking up their car stereos to eleven and jamming out on cassette tapes of the bands we were waiting to see. We got wasted, laughed a lot and felt free. We are now older, wiser and in many cases have responsibilities in our day-to-day lives that require us to forget how we once felt. The Moondance Jam, however, remembers what the magic of the melody feels like. They remember the feeling of freedom that came from drinking a beer in that parking lot. They remember the feeling of awe that came from purchasing a ticket to that show six months in advance and looking at that ticket every day, which was stuck in that little space between the wood frame and the glass of your dresser mirror. Isn't that what rock n' roll is really about? Sure, there are the parties, the whole 'sex, drugs & rock n' roll' attitude. But when you get down to brass tacks, isn't it about much more than that? In fact, isn't it really about celebrating and enjoying being alive on this spinning ball of dirt? The music is the excuse to bring us together and the catalyst to making the magic happen. Yet it is the togetherness that makes it special. We are a year away from Jam # 19, yet I am already looking forward to getting up at 5:00 AM and running through an airport to catch an early morning flight to Minneapolis. That is the magic of Moondance.

The next time you hear someone say, "Rock n' roll is dead," look them square in the eye and tell them with confidence, "Rock n' roll is not dead. Its alive and well in Walker, Minnesota for three glorious days each July."

MOONDANCE JAM 18 THANK YOU'S

Bill & Kathy Bieloh -- The Grand Poobah's of the Greatest Show on Earth. Thank you for being you!

Jack Jordon – The man behind the scenes.

Mark Kirchoff – You Rock. Your heart and soul are into the music and you bleed guitar solos.

Kevin Abernathy – Thanks for the Jumbo-Tron schedules. I hope I did ya proud.

Bernie – Wish I knew your last name but you were my boss at the Jam and I loved working with ya.

Mountain Ash Boys – I didn't get to hang with you long enough. YOU ROCK. Next year I am coming up early.

The Cooks – GREAT stuff baby. You work hard and you do a wonderful job.

All of Security – You keep the Jam safe and you are worth your weight in cheese curds!

The Moondance Icon – Never forget that you ARE a living legend.

Steve – thanks for taking the Priest Pics

Camera Guy – You left your post a few times but we got er done. 

Dave (I think that was his name) and all the guys working the jumbo-tron. You did a great job. 

Paul and Daughter Melanie – Thank you for the help with the Shooting Star and Foghat interviews. One day I will be asking your daughter for a job. Please have her hire me and pay me well.

All the publicists, management companies and artists who allowed agreed to the Jumbo-Tron interviews.

Jim Gillette – Thanks for letting me hug your wife and not kicking my ass. Lita is a special lady.

Phil Ehart and Roger Earl for signing my books. It is cool to know REAL rock stars.

Dan Wall – Thanks for the Grand Funk Tips and for all the writing you do for me.

Brad (aka Phil Collins) – Thanks for the pictures and the worried looks when I shared my innermost thoughts with you.

THUNDHERSTRUCK – Thank you for being you. And your music. And your friendship.

Stephanie – Thanks for the hair.

Sean – Thanks for being there all weekend to do my dirty work.

The Jam Web Guy and the Jam Message Board Guy – Thanks for your support all year round.

IAN BABY! We didn't get to talk enough but you rock.

The hot girls with Geoff Downes – Thanks for making us feel cool.