In support of their ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ tour 2021, rock legends Grand Funk Railroad graced the stage at the Vine Showroom inside the Deal Lago Casino this past Friday night. Their were were very few band who could match the intensity of Grand Funk Railroad back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Despite little airplay, it was their live shows that was all the buzz and winning over audiences from coast to coast. The band hasn’t released any new music since 1983 and tours primarily based on their tremendous back catalog of music. Grand Funk Railroad’s current line up has been touring together since 2000 with founding members Don Brewer (drums, lead vocals) and Mel Schacher (bass guitar), along with Max Carl (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Tim Cashion (keyboards) and Bruce Kulick (lead guitar).
The anxious capacity crowd cheered as GFR took the stage as the band went into “Rock & Roll Soul.” The track was of 1972’s “Phoenix” album. The tune was a top 30 single on the billboard charts at the time. The band kept up the energy with “Footstompin’ Music and a few songs later, one of their most popular songs in the Little Eva cover, “The Locomotion.” Yes, you had some pockets of audience members forming train line going around the concert floor area. Each member took their turns in the spotlight throughout the show. Brewer still has the chops and gave the crowd a very entraining drum solo. Kulick also had his turn in the spotlight too. He mimicked his version of the “Star Spangled Banner” that he did with his former band KISS, which was on their 1993 KISS Alive III album. Of course, a USA flag was appropriately positioned front and center of the stage as Kulick played to the left of it and then subsequently pointing to it once he was done. Carl’s vocals as just as strong as they were the first time I seen him. He nailed it on “Rock & Roll Soul” and of course the song he is probably most associated with, “Second Chance” from his formed band 38. Special. He’s also terrific harmonica player and it was on full display during the bands jam session. I should also note the steady playing Schacter. He plays with a pick and I think that style of playing gives more of a full rhythm sound. Cashion’s steady playing on the keyboards and most notably his strong vocal harmonies really provides that lush sound that GFR are known for. GFR are lucky to have 3 great vocal talents in one band as it gives them a little leeway in leads and backups.
I have seen them a handful of times over the last 20 years and I can honestly say, GFR never disappoints. Even with the band having played only a handful of shows since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, they showed no rust at all. I guess you can say that they are a very well oiled machine. They continue the tradition on that the band set over 50 years ago. Building and maintaining a following from putting on great live shows. Its the recipe and formula that works for GFR and the fans are the beneficiaries of it.
Rock & Roll Soul
The Locomotion (Little Eva cover)
Walk Like A Man
Second Chance (38 Special cover)
The Star Spangled Banner -Bruce Kulick Guitar Solo (Francis Scott Key cover)
Inside Lookin’ Out (The Animals cover)
Some Kinda Wonderful
I’m Your Captain/Closer To Home
We’re An American Band
We would like to thank Andrea Faulk from SRO PR and Bruce Kulick for the credentials to review the show.