my grand funk concert stories Mark Farner at JBs lounge in Kent
Mark Farner -The Vision 1991
Mark Farner-christian version of some kind of wonderful
Mark Farner at JBs Lounge,Kent,Ohio 91Click thumbnail to view full-size
Journey to Kent Ohio
On April 11th of 1991,my friends Curt and Robert and myself had made plans to drive practically across the entire state to the city of Kent Ohio.Mark and the guys would be playing at a lounge called J.B.s with special guest The Armstrong Bearcat band.It would be my last Mark Farner Grand Funk show until 1998.This was Roberts second concert.He was with us when we seen Marks show at Bogarts in Cincinnati back in October of 1988.This concert would be Curts first.I had written to Mark and told him how things had been going for me,and as usual it was probably the woe always me stuff.Well this letter resulted in Mark writing me back some time later.I had found this letter to be highly judgemental as well.I was living through some very real hardships at the time.I had made some comment in this letter that somehow became misunderstood by him in the wrong way.His reply came to me long after this show.When the 11th came around we all three got in Curts car and proceeded to drive towards Kent and we stopped at Roberts moms house along the way just to visit for awhile,and then wed later head on to Kent.
After this very long ride we finally had arrived.Marks bus was out in front of the place when we got there and we did manage to get there at a decent time and got good seats.J.B.s Lounge was a very nice place.It was smaller and the stage was just about at floor level itself and the sound really boomed when it was cranked up.Marks concert was great as always.It wasnt one of the better ones I had been to and it was mostly the same songs they had played the year before but we really did have a good time there.The place definitely rocked.There were so many people in such a smaller place.Mark and common ground came out and opened with are you ready and then went into songs like rock n roll soul,footstompin music,paranoid,the religious version of some kind of wonderful,sins a good mans brother,bad time,the locomotion and a whole array of other GFR songs.His religious solo stuff was played too.Isnt it amazing is such a beautiful song no matter how many times one hears it and the same goes with Im your captain/closer to home as well.
After the show we helped the crew to break down the stage equipment and then went out front and visited with Mark on the bus and Mike Maple and Arnie Vilchez outside.These were two of Marks band members and it was all pretty cool.We talked with them for awhile and it was all alotta fun.When we seen Mark he appeared to be in really good spirits and I wasnt about to disrupt that.I was really in good spirits too.I introduced Curt to him and reintroduced Robert and he took a pic with us.Soon it was time for them to leave.We had a very long drive ahead of us ourselves,so we said our goodbyes to them and we headed out.It would soon take longer than wed thought.As we were rollin down the late night highway,we had all became pretty tired from this long exhausting day.It then just had to happen.
As Curt was driving there was not even one other car in sight of us for miles and out of nowhere his headlights began flashing along to the speed of the car.He speeds up and the flashing of his headlights would speed up.He slows down and the flashing slows down.Either fast or slow felt like we were being led down the road with strobe lights and it became increasingly difficult for us to stay on the road as his headlights began to flash even faster.Before long we were driving 20 to 30 mph on this highway.This was all we could do in order to at least see where we were going.I suggested that we pull over.Since there wasnt any other cars around yet we just kept on goin like this through the night.We were almost home by 5 am.We had reached a town that was only about 27 miles from our home so we pulled over for there were other cars around us now and wed just wait til daylight came.A policeman then stopped beside us.When we told him what our lights were doing he permitted us to wait in the lot that we had found til daybreak.When daybreak came we headed on home.My next Grand Funk show wouldnt be until 1998.In 1991 Mark would also come out with his third religious rock album entitled Some kind of wonderful and the title song was similar to the original Grand Funk hit but with a religious twist to it.
As for the letter that came to me later in 91 after this Kent show?There had came a time when I found it in my heart to forgive Mark for his harsh personal judgements.A preacher I spoke with said for me to send it back to him and tell him how I felt so I did.Mark would appear on television late in the year.On the program he would perform a beautiful unplugged rendition of the song The Vision.I have to admit that in later years I had realized that much of what Mark had said was very much true.Today I have as much respect for Mark and Grand Funks music as I always have.He is still truly the american rock patriot.In 1998 myself and three friends would venture to The Fraze Pavilion in Kettering Ohio.This concert would be the original Grand Funk Railroad.Mark Farner,Don Brewer and Mel Schacher were back together again and this would be my first live concert with all of the original members on stage.I was very excited about this.But how was I to know that it would turn out to be the worst Grand Funk concert I had ever attended and anything that could have gone wrong most certainly would go wrong.A real nightmare.
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