For Moondance 19 I suffered through flight delays, tornados and treacherous rains pounding down like tiny little hammers on the roof of my rental car as I zipped along I-35 to pick up my fellow rock nerds at the airport. I collected friends from both Kansas and California, put up with a leaking cooler in the trunk of the car and participated in disgusting banter during the four-hour trip from the airport. Considering that the average age between the four men caravanning down the highway was forty-seven, it does not say much for our maturity. I hesitate to even mention the band Dan Wall, Brad "Phil Collins" Neville, Kevin Clark, Alan Marrow and myself created. Lets just say keep your eyes out for Stunt Cock at next years Jam.
It is difficult, year after year, to describe the power of the Moondance Jam. I don't want to repeat myself and I certainly don't want to become cliché. The truth is, however, that the Moondance Jam simply contains a magical element that makes it the most beloved festival in the United States. People who come to Moondance once, come back time and time again. In fact, during Day II, I spoke with a couple that said it was their first Jam. They both smiled and said in unison, "We're addicted." I smiled and gave them a look back as if to say, "I, too, am under the Moondance spell." One wonders if scientists took soil samples at Moondance what they would find. The place is like a homing device for true music fans. The Moondance Jam calls people to it. Once your MD virginity is gone you don't simply attend Moondance, you are called back to it, day after day, year after year. You dream about Moondance and you obsessively wait for the website to announce the bands for the next year. This is no ordinary concert.
The immaturity described in the opening paragraph could be written off as boys simply being boys, however, I believe there is more to it than that. Grown men, with responsibilities, families, mortgages, bills and children who, for the most part, live the entire year as grown ups – at least on the outside, suddenly gather together, make sophomoric jokes, crank up the radio in the campground, fight for the front row at rock concerts and spend the week laughing, partying and staying up all night. Why do their wives allow this? What could possibly be so important that they chuck all semblance of the adult world and become content to burp, fart, stare at scantily clad women and rock out for four days in Walker, Minnesota?
As with most things concerning the weaker sex, the answer is simple. Men are really just teenage boys in older and fatter bodies. You see, the Moondance Jam reminds them there is more to life than work. It brings back a time when they could have fun and enjoy just being themselves without concern of what the wife will think, what the boss will think or if one is being a bad influence on their children. Lets face it; maturity is overrated. Its much more fun to jam out at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and laugh with friends – even if your friends cheap ass $2.99 cooler leaks water all over your suitcase in the trunk of your rental car. The real mystery is why women come to the jam. It must be the partying, comradely and the music because it certainly can't be to hang around with the motley crew I surrounded myself with the entire weekend.
Naughty Nineteen was another record breaker for Bill and Kathy Bieloh. Record ticket sales were higher than ever and VIP was sold out. Direct TV was on site to record several of the bands. Soon the entire world will see what The Moondance Jam is about, as the concerts will be broadcast across the airwaves. So, get ready because the secret is about to get out about The Moondance Jam. Soon people all across America will be watching TV and see the magic before their eyes. Hopefully, Direct TV will capture more than just the music. Hopefully they will capture the magic.
The Moondance Jam is made special by the bands, the management, the staff, the jammers, the security and everyone else involved in the event. It never fails to amaze me when watching a band like REO Speedwagon at the Jam. They seem to push things a little harder, play things a little better and react to the massive energy force that is a Moondance crowd. Beyond the antics, behind the laughter and beyond the music, the jammers are what make Moondance special. Bill and Kathy provide the bands, the backdrop, the security and the beer. The rest is the magic.
(JW)- Hairball is an 80's tribute band with a twist. They have two singers who rotate the stage. While one is performing, the other is changing into the next 80's personality that will take the stage. The band stays on stage and is, in essence, the 80's house band. In one two and a half hour performance the band will pay homage, with singer in full costume, to Bret Michaels, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Prince, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister and many more. Vocally, the guys do a good job as each singer plays the part that best suites them. Musically, these guys are fucking good. The guitarist is the emcee and he prods the audience and then preens around stage, contorting himself into all kinds of rock poses, all the while jamming out impressive leads. The rest of the band is professional as well.
This was the first year that the Moondance Jam has allowed the main stage to be opened for a performance and it proved to be a great idea. There were more people at this performance than for several of the national bands and the most amazing things was that no one left. They stayed from beginning to end and celebrated 80's rock the only true way
by screaming, shouting, drinking beer, dancing and singing along to the band on stage. Hairball should be the house band at The Hard Rock in Vegas. They should be millionaires. They have cock rock down and, even though they are imitators, they themselves are also rock stars.
The kickoff night also featured several bands on the saloon stage. The Minnesota Whisky Pigzz, a local favorite kicked off Moondance and people immediately fell under the Moondance spell. Next up was Free Falling, which is a tribute to Tom Petty. I would have to venture to guess how much time this band spent learning these songs note perfect, as well as learning how the band sounds, moves and acts on stage. This was a most impressive tribute to Petty and the band should be back next year.
Moondance stalwarts Mountain Ash closed the saloon down and warmed the crowd up for Hairball on the main stage. They played the coolest set, featuring songs other cover bands just don't play, including tunes by Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Judas Priest, The James Gang and many others. The band made the entire crowd of party maniacs stop and smile when guitarist Mark Kirchoff brought his young kids on stage, one to sing and one with a guitar. The junior K may not have known the chords but he melted everyone's hearts with his giant eyes and his spot on guitar moves to end the song.
There's Only One Way to Rock| I Can't Drive 55| Why Can't This Be Love| Space Station #5| Rock Candy| Bad Motor Scooter| Best of Both Worlds| I've Done Everything For You| Three Lock Box| Whole Lotta Zep| The Girl Gets Around| I'll Fall in Love Again| Your Love is Driving Me Crazy| Heavy Metal| Mas Tequila
Encore: Finish What You Started| Right Now
(JW)- Following upstarts Buckcherry wasn't going to be easy but if anyone could hold their own it would be Sammy Hagar. Sam the Man was in full festival mood and he let it all hang out (or at least one of his background dancers did thanks to a wardrobe malfunction).
Hagar, while not present during Buckcherry's set, was informed that they were on fire as he came out with a ballad-less set. It was an hour and a half of pure rock n' roll bliss, starting out with "One Way to Rock" followed by "I Can't Drive 55." Sammy was out for blood as his bodacious and bouncy bar girls served him up shot after shot of Cabo Wabo tequila. The lubed up sixty-some year old blasted out Montrose classics "Bad Motor Scooter," "Rock Candy" and Space Station #5."
Sam surprised the crowd with the Rick Springfield classic that few realized he composed, "I've Done Everything For You," and his tribute to Zep simply titled "Whole Lotta Zep," which is "Whole Lotta Love" and "Black Dog" mixed together, funked up and Sam-ified.
Throw in a couple of classic movie soundtracks, "The Girl Gets Around" and "Heavy Metal," and some Van Halen, "Best of Both Worlds" and "Right Now," and you have yourself an hellacios outdoor party. Of course, Hagar didn't forget his solo career either as he trotted out "Three Lock Box," "Your Love is Driving Me Crazy" and "I'll Fall In Love Again."
Sammy didn't have a hundred and fifty fans surrounding the stage as he was sans his Cabo Wabo set up around the venue. This made him totally concentrate on the 20,000+ plus right before his eyes and he connected with the audience and played his ass off. The Waboritias were as solid as ever and the band went over very well with the Moondance crowd.
Backstage before the show, I saw Hagar coming out of the women's restroom. I said, "I bet this isn't the first time Sammy has come out of a woman's restroom before the start of a show." Sammy grinned and replied; "It smells a lot better in there." Later in the evening I heard from a Moondance manager that he took a dump in the men's room that had the paint peeling off the walls only to open the door to find Hagar standing in line waiting. Sammy abandoned the men's room for obvious health reasons. I won't name names but lets say the band Mountain Ash may have fodder for a new tune.
Talk to Me| Fallout| All Night Long| Everything| Rescue Me| Next to You| Lit Up| At the Movies| It's a Party| Dirty Mind| Highway Star| Sorry| Crazy Bitch
Encore: Our World| Onset
(DW)-Buckcherry isn't going to win any awards for originality, but the group's dead-on Guns N Roses-meets-Aerosmith brand of sleazy rock sure sounds good blasting out of the speakers at 120 DB's. The band made its Moondance Jam debut at this year's festival and turned in a performance that had most of the crowd talking two days later.
Unlike the band's Rocklahoma performance a few months earlier, the group was cranking on all cylinders here, after knocking off some studio rust with early summer touring. Led by lead singer Josh Todd (he looks like the bastard son of Axl Rose and Dennis Leary), the band turned in 15-song, 75-minute set that was easily the best I've seen the group do.
Todd has unique voice, like Rose and Steven Tyler do, and he is sleazier than six Gerard Damiano flicks (he did "The Devil in Miss Jones, among others). Covered from head to waistline (and probably beyond) in tattoos, one that reads "chaos" in huge script on his stomach, Todd oversaw the proceedings with a torrent of bad words while he shook up the crowd with non-stop movement.
None of the group's songs are going to be used at the next Pat Robertson rally. "Lit Up," as you may remember, celebrates the use of cocaine. "Crazy Bitch," is about a chick who "fucks so good that I'm on top of it." And they didn't even play "Too Drunk to Fuck." These are the highlights, folks, and this kinda stuff doesn't bother me. You, however, will want to pull out your Seals and Crofts albums if the preacher ever comes over and junior is blasting Mr. Todd and his rowdy bunch from the bedroom.
It's in the wordsmith department that these guys do their sleaziest work, however. Looks wise, aside from the tats and a few black eyes, these guys aren't that scary, and they can actually play their instruments. Only Keith Nelson remains from the original band (the quintet took a hiatus from 2001-05, coming back with three new members), and that's a good move, since he's a solid player who meshes well with Todd. Bassist Jimmy Amhurst, guitarist Stevie D. and drummer Xavier Muriel play this stuff like they wrote it, and look like typical Hollywood sleaze merchants who were more than happy to fill out this line-up when Todd and Nelson came calling back in 2005.
Aside from the above listed songs, the highlights came fast and hard-"At the Movies" is one of the catchiest things the band ever wrote, and it was a hit off the band's first record back in 1999. New singles "All Night Long" and "It's a Party" look to continue the band's success at radio. Big hits "Everything" and "Sorry" led to huge sing-alongs, and the band's cover of "Highway Star" was spot on this time out. You had to be there to see the reception to "Crazy Bitch"-the very sedate MJ crowd turned into a rave, and Buckcherry walked off to a massive ovation. This is one act that could be invited back as earlier as next year, and I don't think too many Jammers would complain.
Welcome All Again| Heavy| Listen| Tremble For My Beloved| December| Shine| The World I Know| Why Pt. 2| Were the River Flows| Better Now| Gel | Run
(DW)-the band has been constantly evolving since it first burst on the scene back in the 1994 with the mega-hit "Shine." Once thought of as a faceless hit machine, the band has become a solid recording act and touring entity since coming back from a break that bridged the band's fifth and sixth records. Thus, Collective Soul has become very popular once again and a favorite during festival season.
At Moondance, the much-requested quintet turned in a solid 70-minute performance that included just about every big hit the band has ever written. This is one group that is much better (and heavier) live than on record, and every song played far surpassed the popular recorded versions. The riffs for songs such as "Heavy" and "Why Pt. 2" were bigger and louder live, and the lengthy version of "Shine," moved to a position mid-set from its usual encore slot, provided the band with its own "sing-along" moment.
Onstage, vocalist Ed Roland is the focal point, the star, and the guy who drives this band's engine. Roland shares the spotlight with his brother, guitarist Dean, who plays most of the beefy riffs live along with lead guitarist Joel Kosche, who plays tasty solos and adds shading to the slower moments such as "The World I Know" and "December." Bassist Will Turbin and drummer Cheney Brannon help fill out the one of modern rock's best live acts.
The highlights were plentiful, with opener "Welcome All Again" setting the tone for the entire set. All of the biggest songs were included, with "Why Pt. 2," "Where the River Flows," "Better Now," "Gel" and "Run" proving to be one of the best closing runs at the festival. Collective Soul proved once again that it belongs at any sort of festival, whether it features classic rock or not.
(DW)-if there was one band that didn't fit at this year's MJ, it was Hoobastank. Not that the band was bad-the guys did what they do, and the crowd appreciated the band's bigger hits. But there were only four songs that most of the audience knew, and when three of those four are the last three songs in a 70-minute set, you have a lot of time to fill, and unknown songs don't usually play out that well at a festival like this.
So when Hoobastank was playing "Running Away," "The Reason," "My Turn" or "Crawling in the Dark," all was well. Vocalist Doug Robb had the crowd energized, and the youngsters (the crowd for this band was much younger than others) were in a frenzy down front. But name just about any other song, and the band's sometimes abrasive modern hard rock sound couldn't hold most of the audience. But it was a good move to bring a band like this in here-now you can see what plays for this crowd, and what doesn't.
(DW)-you probably wouldn't know Tonic if the band was playing at your wedding. Everyone knows "If You Could Only See," the quartet's huge hit that went to number one back in 1997. But how about "Open Up Your Eyes," "You Wanted More," Sugar" or "Release Me," just a few of the great songs that this band has written. You may know the song, but did you know that the band that wrote all of these classics was Tonic.
Probably not, but with the festival's decision to add national acts during the 3 p.m. slot, in future years you will be able to see bands like this-not that well known, but with a few great songs and enough album cuts to fill out an impressive 75-minute set. I don't think anyone thought before the show that Tonic would be this good-or heavy. But guitarist/vocalist Emerson Hart, guitarist Jeff Russo and bassist Dan Lavery (aided capably by monster drummer Kevin Murphy) pulled it off in spectacular fashion, and probably won over more new fans than any other group that played during the long weekend.
Don't Let Her Go| Keep on Loving You| The Letter| Take it on the Run| Keep Pushin'| Golden Country| Can't Fight this Feeling| Like You Do| Time for Me to Fly| Back on the Road Again| Roll with the Changes| Ridin' the Storm Out| 157 Riverside Avenue
(JW) – REO Speedwagon at the Moondance Jam equals a hit-filled, energetic and down right fun rock show. The band has played the Jam more than any other in the festivals history. They love Walker, MN as they know an REO friendly crowd awaits them.
REO, as all the other bands that play Moondance, fall under the spell of the Moondance Magic and give it 110% as soon as they step on stage. On this night, vocalist Kevin Cronin kept his stage raps to an acceptable length and the band played their asses off. Rising to the top of his game was guitarist Dave Amato. This guy played until his fingers bled. His solos were full of fire and speed and he kept the energy going strong from the opening notes of "Don't Let Him Go" until the final wail of "Ridin' the Storm Out" and "157 Riverside Avenue."
The set didn't have many surprises, although REO did trot out some new intro arrangements and played some extended musical passages. Still, what a set for an outdoor festival; "Keep On Loving You," "Take It On the Run," "Golden Country," "Like You Do," Time For Me To Fly," "Back On The Road," "Roll With the Changes" and "157 Riverside Avenue." This is a band that can show up to Moondance unannounced and play and still have the crowd eating out of their hand. REO is on fire in 2010.
All Fired Up| Shadows of the Night| If You Think You Know How to Love Me| Invincible| Promises in the Dark| You Better Run| We Belong| Hell is For Children| Hit Me with Your Best Shot| Love is a Battlefield
Encore: Stay Together| Heartbreaker
(DW)-I read a few other reviews of Pat's performance here, and I really didn't agree with most of it. They called her fat, which she isn't. She still has her looks and the greatest lips in the world. She can still sing, although she had a bit of a rasp in her voice here when she talked. And she still has all of those great songs.
The one thing that Benatar has lost is the ability to communicate-with anyone outside of the audience. She spent absolutely zero time addressing the media, the crew, the security or the fans backstage. She didn't do a meet-and-greet, she didn't do any live interviews, she didn't have the show filmed for Direct TV, and she didn't spend one second interacting with anyone that she isn't married to, plays with or pays. (Photographers were told not to take any pictures of her ass-I'm not kidding). She walked from the bus (which she never left the entire day) to the stage and back. That was it. And there was a report that she wanted to cut her set short, because she wasn't "feeling it" onstage.
I know that life on the road is tough, but can it really be that tough for Pat Benatar? She rarely tours, and when she does, she brings her two daughters and her husband (Neil Giraldo, who happens to be her guitarist) out with her. She still can engage a massive audience with great songs and memories from the past. I know this is a concert report, but this is easily the worst backstage behavior I've ever seen from anyone at a festival like this-or anywhere, for that matter.
I had a nice talk with her drummer, Myron Grombacher, and it was great to see him back in the band. Musically, the show was decent (it's pretty hard to fuck up "Heartbreaker"), but just about everyone agreed she was just going through the motions. She doesn't even want to sing "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" anymore. If it wasn't for that song, she probably wouldn't be here to begin with. After watching her backstage "behavior," and hearing about wanting to play less than she was slotted for, I can't disagree with those who were less than impressed with this show. This is clearly a lesson to be filed under "Meeting your Heroes," even though I never got within 50 feet of her.
Hotel California|Already Gone| One of These Nights| Pride and Joy| Victim of Love| Peaceful Easy Feeling| Tequila Sunrise| Seven Bridges Road | Those Shoes | Heavy Metal | The Long Run | Witchy Woman | Heartache Tonight | Life in the Fast Lane Encore: Take It Easy
(JW)- Former Eagle Don Felder took the Moondance Crowd by surprise as he opened his set with the song most people figured he would close with; "Hotel California." The sparse crowd was quickly beefed up with Jammers literally running to the concert area.
Don was the Eagles lead guitar player and he has more than kept his chops up. He also is an accomplished vocalist, able to satisfactorily copy both Glenn Frey's and Don Henley's songs. The set list was the best of the best of his former band with his solo hit "Heavy Metal" thrown in for good measure.
Felder's band was the most talented to grace the stage for Jam 19. These guys could all play well and were also able to reproduce the harmonies the Eagles are famous for.
Don proved to be much more gracious than his former band mates. Instead of taking off right after the show he hung around, took pictures and signed autographs. After doing the Jumbo-Tron interview with Don, I told him "I was very excited to have you at Moondance. I really love the Eagles" to which he replied, "I used too." We laughed as his ousting from the band is well documented in his book Heaven and Hell. Felder does not let bad blood interfere with his performance though as he plays the music of his past with much emotion and enjoys watching people sing along, whether to songs that he had a hand in writing such as "Those Shoes," "Victim of Love" and "Already Gone," or Eagles classics like "Take It Easy." This was the classiest band at the Jam and the Moondance crowd would welcome Don back anytime.
(DW)-The Smithereens were the other band at this year's festival that was a bit out of place, but the New Jersey-based quartet did its best during its hour onstage to prove they belonged, playing all of its 80's radio hits and some classic rock favorites during the band's 70-minute performance.
Still led by original vocalist/songwriter Pat DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak and drummer Dennis Diken (new bassist Severo Jornacion is a solid player and a riot onstage to boot), the band played all of its familiar songs-"Behind the Wall of Sleep," "Only a Memory," "Drown in My Own Tears," "Blood and Roses" and the monster "A Girl Like You"-just like you remember them, with DiNizio's unique voice and Babjak's jangly guitar powering each song. The band added a dab of "Behind Blue Eyes" to the middle of "A Girl Like You" and featured a ton of Tommy at the end "The House We Used to Live In."
The Smithereens came into this set an underdog, but proved, just like the boys always have, that they are a valid rock act. This set was better than most expected.
Life in London| Crash and Burn| Heat in the St| Getting Betta| Josephine| Stevie| Red House| Snorting Whiskey| Boom Boom|
Encore: Statesboro Blues
(JW)- Pat Travers played the open slot of Day II and ended up putting on one of the best gigs of the entire Moondance. For starters, he has a new backing band that replicates the classic two guitar lineup of the classic Go For What you Know era of the band.
Travers has never been given the respect he deserves from the music industry. Guitar players, however, worship at the alter of PT. His set list was stellar and included "Life in London," "Crash and Burn," "Heat in the Street," "Getting Betta," "Stevie" "Snortin' Whiskey and Drinking Cocaine" and "Boom Boom Out Go the Lights." Also thrown in were remakes of the Hendrix classic "Red House" and Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues," made famous by the Allman Brothers.
Travers playing was excellent but it must be noted that his voice is also in fine shape. The 3pm slot is usually short on audience but the longer Travers played the more campers made their way to the stage. He even secured an encore, something that does not happen to opening bands. Pat also played a song titled "Josephine" off his new album Fidelis that proves he is not resting on his laurels when it comes to making new music.
Working for MCA| I Ain't the One| Skynyrd Nation| What's Your Name| Down South Jukin'| That Smell| I Know a Little| Simple Man| Gimme Back My Bullets| Double Trouble| The Needle and the Spoon| Gimme Three Steps| Call me the Breeze| Sweet Home Alabama. Encore: Free Bird
(DW)-It's hard to put into words how much Lynyrd Skynyrd means to me. I've seen this band more than 25 times, and was honored to see some of its most important gigs-Gary Rossington made his return to the band following his near fatal (and inspirational-see "That Smell") accident in Concord in 1976. A New Year's Eve show in Oakland later that year was the best holiday show I've ever seen. The group blew Peter Frampton off the stage (doing severe harm to his career) in 1977 at two Day on the Green shows in Oakland, which were captured on film for the Free Bird movie. And the first shows of the 1987 reunion tour were done in the same Concord venue that Rossington (and all of us who were there) remembers so well. And I saw them all.
So when Lynyrd Skynyrd shows up, I'm always one of the most excited fans in the audience. But then you see the band turn in a show like the one on Walker on Saturday night, and consider yourself lucky to not only be a fan but honored to witness rock and roll perfection in one of its greatest settings-the Moondance Jam.
I know this isn't the original band. But I've seen every version since, and I can honestly say that this was the best show that I've seen Skynyrd (any version) do since the halcyon days before the plane crash. Not only do Johnny Van Zant and Gary Rossington do the original band justice, but they have found a group of monster musicians to re-create the Skynyrd sound like no other group of musicians ever has.
The band played classic after classic, with Van Zant doing the best to emulate his late brother, Ronny, while Rossington led the band's other guitarists, Ricky Medlocke and Mark Matejka, through the band's catalog heavy on memorable guitar solos. Rossington is the only axe slinger left from the original band, but co-picker Medlocke (ex-Blackfoot) helps make up for the absence of the late Allen Collins and Steve Gaines with a Southern Rock Hall-of-Fame frontline that rips all of the Skynyrd classics to shreds. Matejka more than holds his own with the legends and often plays in tandem with Medlocke.
It can be quite daunting watching this band onstage, with all of the tragedy that has devastated the group (and its fan base) over the years hanging over the stage like a dark cloud. And when some of the replacements for our fallen heroes start dying off as well, you wonder just how much one group can take. But somehow, someway, Van Zant and Rossington (along with Medlocke, who was in the original band as the drummer) have found capable musicians who more than play the role-they actually fit right in. Bassist Robert Kearns and drummer Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees) hold down the backline, while pianist Peter Keys (what an appropriate name) wheels off a honky-tonk solos in honor of the late Billy Powell. And Matejka might be the best guitarist the band has ever employed in the third guitarist slot.
The question that remains is this-what made this show so special? The setting for one, with a beautiful Midwestern night framing the stage like some sort of Rockwell painting. The crowd was huge and over-the-top, and the band was firing on all cylinders. The set list, which featured "Working For MCA," "That Smell," "What's Your Name," "Simple Man," "Gimme Back My Bullets" and one the greatest closing runs in the history of live rock and roll-"Gimme Three Steps," "Call Me the Breeze," "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird"-was spectacular, and the band sounded great with the huge sound system punching out each and every tune at maximum volume.
So after 35 years, 27 gigs and more tears than one cares to count, Lynyrd Skynyrd are still one of the greatest bands in rock and roll to me. This is a band that deserves to carry on until there is no one left to do it-and I'm sure the boys will.
(JW)- Young Jonny is from the Northern Country and many were looking forward to his set. Unfortunately, there is not much to say. His set started off with the blues and the crowd seemed to perk up as Lang was energetic and made some of the best guitar faces since Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just as the momentum was going his way, however, he switched gears and played some sort of blues/rock/R&B that seemed to go on and on and on. Each song drifted into another that sounded just like the previous one. To be honest, the music attempted to be emotional, honest and energetic, but was missing that 'it' factor. The 'it' that was missing was music that is well written and original. Instead of more classic "Lie To Me" Lang, Moondance got a hodgepodge set that pretty much put the crowd to sleep.
Second Wind| Push Push| Somebody Save Me| The Last Mile| Night Songs| Falling Apart at the Seems| Heartbreak Station| Coming Home| Shelter Me| Nobody's Fool| Gypsy Road. Encore: Don't Know What You Got| Shake Me
(JW) – These guys are just a good, solid, 80's era rock band. This set was received well, although the band realized that Jonny Lang, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackberry Smoke were bands they had never played with before and would never play with again. They were the proverbial fish out of water on the final day of Moondance.
The show got off to a bad start when vocalist Tom Keifer held the microphone stand out over the crowd so they could sing along and the microphone flew off the stand into the photo pit, wedging itself between two cabinets. Tom looked around and saw no one was helping and had to retreat to bass player Eric Brittingham's microphone for the next verse of the song. He kept his cool though and by "Night Songs" was back in his groove.
Keifer's voice is always a concern as the front man has had serious medical issues over the years. We are happy to report that his vocals were acceptable. The damp weather did not lend itself to perfection vocally, but he held his own. The same can be said for the entire band; they held their own despite being sandwhiched between acts that were not a good match. Next time it would be wise to have this band perform the same night as a Tesla or a Poison.
Rain Wizard| Backwoods Gold| Yeah Man| Shooting Star| Blind Man| Hell of High Water| Please Come In| Soulcreek| Lonely Train| Maybe Someday| We Are the Kings
(DW)-When Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ricky Medlocke was asked recently who his favorite current southern rock bands were, he responded quite simply with Blackberry Smoke-and Black Stone Cherry. Funny, but both appeared here on the same day as its heroes, and both turned in spectacular opening sets.
The Kentucky-based BSC absolutely tore the place up with 60 minutes of modern sounding rock, with obvious Southern rock influences (think Skynyrd). The band is about as classic as new rock gets, mixing references to classic blues acts, Z.Z. Top and Hendrix into the show that featured 12 of its best songs.
Another band with a southern rock pedigree (drummer John Fred Young's uncle plays guitar for the Kentucky Headhunters), the quartet knows how to play big, beefy rock songs that ooze with melody and sentiment. On this day, the quartet left most of the moody, introspective pieces off the set list in favor off bull-dozing, punishing rock, with the ballsy "Rain Wizard," opening the set to great effect. "Backwoods Gold," "Blind Man," "Soulcreek" and especially the roaring "Lonely Train" and "Maybe Someday" had the young crowd doing its best version of a mosh pit, a MJ first.
These youngsters are one none-stop constant blur of motion-Young doesn't just play his drums, he beats them. And cutie-pie guitarist Ben Wells must have jock itch, because he never stops moving, kicking and stomping onstage. Bassist Jon Lawhorn is a rock, and vocalist/guitarist Chris Robertson is a star in the making, with his riveting solos and gruff, heavy vocals featuring in each song.
Black Stone Cherry made its MJ debut here in 2010, but it won't be the last time the group plays here.
(JW)- Technically a country band, Blackberry Smoke, in reality, is a Southern Rock band. Without that genre really existing anymore, I guess country is the way they need to market themselves. They look more like Molly Hatchet than the Dixie Chicks and they sound more like Marshall Tucker than Travis Tritt. Live, they rock the sound up over their studio offerings and the result is a surprisingly good band playing new music that pays homage to bands like Tucker, the Outlaws and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
No stranger to the Southern scene, the band was hanging out with Skynyrd's Rickey Medlocke before the show and Rickey praised them for being at Moondance and wished them the best of luck. With song titled like "Good One Coming On," "Testify," "Sanctified," "Up in Smoke" and "Freedom Song" one can tell these guys are the real deal. And, they have to make it, as it would be a shame for the lead singer to have to mow down his giant sideburns and get a real job. Check this band out if you love good old, American, Southern rock.
When the Jam was over, it was time to get ready to go home. Kevin and I bailed the water from the defective cooler out of the rental car's trunk with two tiny casino paper coffee cups (thanks Dan). The last 3am cheeseburger had long ago been consumed and the once bustling campgrounds were nothing but a litter filled ghost town. Naught Nineteen was in the books.
After saying goodbye to friends, it was time to retreat back to Minneapolis to the airport. It was time to be grown-ups again for the next 12 months. However, just as Tinkerbell's dust makes you fly, the Moondance Magic makes you young – and not just while you are at the Jam. The spell lasts year round.
Just as four year olds start getting excited about Christmas around Thanksgiving, the kid in all of us gets excited about the next Moondance Jam about a week after we got home and rest up. Even though we know it will be months before the website is updated with new band signings, we can't help but keep checking back.
In 2011, the Moondance Jam turns 20, meaning the excitement and anticipation for next year is higher than ever. If you are a true Moodance Jammer, then the next 12 months will be spent eyeing the website and making plans with the same eagerness Ralphie made for his Red Ridger BB gun in Christmas Story. Just like Ralphie, we will jump for joy when we head out in July of 2011 for Jam XX, only we won't have to worry about shooting our eye out.
Bill & Kathy! Can you believe they are STILL doing this!! Thank god they are!
Mountain Ash boys.... Mark, Kevin, Other Mark, Brandon and Rogar... YOU RULE.
Bernie!! You are nice, helpful, funny and cute (please don't let your giant husband kill me for saying that) and you work your butt off. Thanks for all the help!
The ENTIRE Backstage Staff and the people making the food! YOU ROCK
All the security & volunteers who make the Jam run so well....
Dan Wall, Brad "Phil Collins" Neville, Kevin Clark & Alan Morrow... can you say STUNT COCK?
All the artists & Artist Management who participated in jumbo tron interviews
Richard the Moondance Icon.. for organizing the 'pit'
The 3am ladies at the casino who made our bacon cheeseburgers every night
Sammy Hagar's blonde who flopped a booby out on stage
Patty, my wonderful wife, for letting me go away for a week each year
The Jam Web Guy... for posting this review year after year!
Conor McAnally...looking forward to seeing the Jam on Direct TV
Ian.... The Guy Who Comes Each Year From England!!!! YOU ROCK
The Two Jacks! A job well done for 19. Pressure is on ya for XX
Everyone Else I Forgot.. remind me I forgot you next year and I will apologize!