County Fairs Rock!

My best musical concert experience so far this year came at our local Sonoma-Marin Fair right here in Petaluma, CA just about a month ago.  Granted our favorite little fair is the exception to the norm when booking musical talent.  The San Francisco Chronicle rated it’s lineup tops amongst all Bay Area Fairs this year for featuring the following headlining acts.

Wednesday night were local funk legends Tower of Power.  According to friends who attended they were soulful as ever and really got the place moving.  Thursday night was power popster Rick Springfield (cue Jesse’s Girl!)  I hear some of you snickering into your Starbucks but Rick has always been a musician first and has continued to record new material and play live through the years to mostly positive reviews.  My wife attended this show with her good friend who is a Rick Maniac and reported that it was the best show she’d ever seen at the fair and she’s seen Cheap Trick and Joan Jett there in previous years so that’s saying something.  Friday night was the indomitable Charlie Daniels Band and while I have no first hand reports of the proceedings I’ve never heard of Charlie Daniels putting on a bad show so I’m guessing it was excellent.  Which brings us to the main event Saturday night and my review of the current incarnations of Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult. While these bands may only have 4 out of 9 original members they both gave 4 Star performances.  

Foghat kicked things off with a set that more or less resembled the following: Road Fever, Take Me To The River (yes they did it first and better if you ask me!) My Babe, Drivin’ Wheel, Stone Blue (my personal fave of the night), Fool For The City, I Just Wanna Make Love To You and of course Slow Ride. Original drummer Roger Earl and longtime bassist Craig MacGregor were joined by hired hands singer/guitarist Charlie Huhn (Victory, Humble Pie, Ted Nugent) and lead/slide guitarist Bryan Basset (Molly Hatchet, Wild Cherry) and delivered a tight, superb sounding set with energy, enthusiasm even breaking into a few bars of Play That Funky Music during band introductions.  Foghat summary: Original members 2 of 4.  Performance 4 stars out of 4. Total stars = 6 out of 8!

With it starting to get dark I went to get a corn dog and then back to get a good seat for the mighty Blue Oyster Cult.  Needless to say they didn’t disappoint.  Buck Dharma was a revelation, taking center stage,  playing his swiss cheese Steinberger guitar all night and making incredibly fast, fluid, complex guitar runs look deceptively easy.  Joined by partner and founding member Eric Bloom on vocals, keyboards and guitar along with sidemen Jules Radino on drums, Richie Castellano on 2nd guitar and the incomparable Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Jame Dio, Whitesnake) on bass they absolutely delivered the goods. They played the following set (give or take a tune or two): The Red and The Black, Burning For You, Buck’s Boogie (instrumental), Cities Aflame With  Rock N Roll, Godzilla, Don’t Fear The Reaper, Shooting Shark and Hot Rails to Hell.

I found it a bit odd but refreshing to hear them play so many deep cuts and even an instrumental. My only disappointment was in not hearing Take Me Away which surprised me as it’s one of their biggest hits and one of my favorite songs.  One particular highlight was during band intro’s when they introduced Rudy, mentioning all of the amazing acts he’s been a part of  and playing a snippet of a tune from each band.  It was kind of odd seeing LA Sunset Strip Rock God Rudy Sarzo with locks flowing jamming with such a quintessentially buttoned down bunch of close-cropped New Yorkers as BOC butt at least he didn’t lick his bass!  BOC Summary: Original members 2 of 5.  Performance: 4 stars out of 4.  Total stars 6 out of 9! All of this for $15.00??  I can’t wait to see whose playing next year!

What’s your best concert experience of the year so far? Let me know in the below comments section.

Photo Credits: Erum Karim, RiverRatt3, chascar

Comments are closed