It’s been a long 15 plus months since the covid-19 pandemic has made an impact on the world. As various parts are now starting to get back to normal (at least here in the US), I was able to review my first show since March 8, 2020 (Graham Nash). So, it was with a whole lot of curiosity to see how the Mark Farner’s American Band show would play off. First, this show was a last minute fill in as Vince Neil originally scheduled to play the date. Bedsides the last minute addition, lots of people are still getting there feet wet dealing with crowds and the public again. So this was more than your average concert in more ways than one.
As we showed up, I must state the staff at the Batavia Downs were very polite and professional. There was no extra layers of search than anyone would normally see at a concert in 2021. Inside the track there was a lot of space everywhere. The staff at the casino did a wonderful job spacing the food trucks and vendors. there were also plenty of picnic tables and places to go and set up a chair to watch the show (if you didn’t have preferred seating) if you so desired.
Their were 3 local acts that warmed up the crowd before Mark Farner’s American Band took the stage at 8:30pm. The hour and 15 minute set was primarily based upon Farner’s pervious band Grand Funk Railroad. Farner came out smiling and waving to the crowd as the band went into the upbeat “Are You Ready? “The track was off of the 1969 album “On Time.” Well, it was the perfect song to start the set with. I believe the crowd had a lot of pent up energy for months and were more than ready for Farner to deliver a great set. There was a slow crescendo that built up to the 4th song “We Are An American band” that carried through to the next tune, “Footstompin Music.” After this track, Farner talked about “how exciting it was that it looks like we can finally start to turn our backs on the bullsh*t.” He talked about how listening to radio isn’t what it used to be and it basically went in the toilet. This was before the band went into “Shine On.” Farner talked about how he was on tour with Janis Joplin and they used to watch each others sets. For some reason, Farner had to talk about his dismay of the British Invasion. He is the first musician I ever heard that actually was not fan of it. To each it’s own I guess. Farner went behind the Yamaha keyboards and led the band for for “Mean Mistreater.” His voice was very strong throughout but was extremely powerful for “Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother.” Drummer Hubert Crawford was joined by Farner to combine his drum solo with Farner’s percussion solo. The set closed with two of Grand Funk Railroad’s biggest hits in “Locomotion” and “I’m Your Captain.” I be remiss if I didn’t mention that Farner and Crawford were accompanied by Bernie Palo on keyboards and Paul Randolph on bass.
Considering the last minute addition, and I think this was Farner’s 2nd show back since the Pandemic, I thought they sounded pretty tight. The crowd went away very happy. With 11 more weeks of music coming up at Batavia Downs, it was a fantastic way to get the 2021 season underway. Lets hope normalcy is here to stay!
Are You Ready? (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Aimless Lady (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Rock & Roll Soul (Grand Funk Railroad song)
We’re an American Band (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Footstompin’ Music (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Bad Time (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Shinin’ On (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Ohio (Crosby, Stills & Nash cover)
Paranoid (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Mean Mistreater (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother (Grand Funk Railroad song)
Drum and percussion solo
The Loco-motion (Carole King cover)
Some Kind of Wonderful (Soul Brothers Six cover)
I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) (Grand Funk Railroad song)
We would like to thank Ryan Hasenauer of Batavia Downs for the credentials to review the show.