2015 Delaware State Fair
Harrington, Delaware • Saturday, August 1st
For the 1st Annual Craft Beer Festival at the Delaware State Fair, where 20 craft beer stands and three food vending trucks were positioned at the back of the track along the fence, thousands of people came out for the closing night of the fair concert with rock legends Grand Funk Railroad. Even though this is not the original lineup with Mark Farner, the current lineup has been together unchanged since 2000, longer than the original group. Along with the two original members, drummer/singer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher, this incarnation is rounded out by 38-Special singer Max Carl, ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick and ex-Bob Seger keyboardist Tim Cashion. At 7:30, one by one, the band members walked on stage with Brewer coming out last to cheer on the crowd. Taking his seat behind his kit, they opened the show with "Bottle Rocket," "Rock & Roll Soul" and "Footstompin' Music." With most people still at the beer lines and food trucks, the next song, a Carole King cover, "The Loco-Motion," got the people in their seats singing along as if it were a karaoke song. As Carl now asks the crowd, “how’s everyone doing tonight,” he gets a rousing applause as they go into "Walk Like a Man," and a cover of 38-Specials’ "Second Chance" that gives Carl a chance to sing a memory from days past.
All of the band now leaves the stage except for Brewer who starts a drum solo that I have to say was not bad or short at all for a 66-year-old drummer. It lasted for about 10 minutes with Brewer every now and then asking the crowd "are you still with me?"At the finish to his solo, the band returns and Brewer brings out an American flag, places it center stage with Kulick as he starts the intro to "The Star-Spangled Banner." The entire audience came to their feet, most with hands on their hearts, as the band kicks ass through this song to an overwhelming applause. To slow things down a bit, all members are playing percussion instruments now - Brewer on drums, Carl on a single big bass drum, Cashion on duel congas, Schacher on what looked like a djembe (?), and Kulick with a tambourine as they play "Lightning and Thunder." For the next two covers, The Animals "Inside Looking Out," and Soul Brothers Six "Some Kind of Wonderful" both get quite the sing-a-long. By this time the crowd was really getting into the sing-alongs; maybe it was the blazing sun or maybe it was all those craft beers, huh? Cashion now starts a little piano solo that leads into "I'm Your Captain" (Closer to Home), and at the end Brewer comes to the front of the stage wearing an oversized Red, White and Blue Uncle Sam hat saying "God Bless America," before returning to his kit and saying "we are an American Band;" then ending the night with their signature song "We're An American Band." As the show comes to a close, there is a huge fireworks display to the left of the stage signalling the end of the fair’s concert season for 2015.
– Gary Crouthamel, Concert Photojournalist
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