my grand funk concert stories My first Mark Farnerless concert
Grand Funk Railroad 2001Click thumbnail to view full-size
Was a Grand Funk concert brewin or did we just miss our mark?
Concert day had arrived on June 24th 2001 and we had our reserved tickets for Grand Funk Railroad.And we were ready and rarin to go.My friend Dave L and myself would be going and Dave was gonna drive.This would be his 2nd Grand Funk show.He had attended Mark Farners show with me at the carousel outside of Celina Ohio back in June of 1989.This would be my 11th Mark Farner/Grand Funk concert.The concert would be held at the Big Bear balloon festival at Beulah Park race tracks in Grove City Ohio just outside of Columbus.It was very hot and sunny that day.Huge car show displays,hot air balloon rides,concession stands and more,made this an ideal event for most anybody including rock n rollers.We had plenty to do before showtime.Since we had the reserved seating we would have a very good view of the stage and also had a place to sit prior to the show when we wanted.There were no Grand Funk merchandise stands though.We asked why and we were told that the band was running a little late due to a late flight from out of Las Vegas.Showtime today would be at 3pm.Dave and I had talked extensively on the way there about how many years it had been since wed spoken with Mark.It had been a long time as in 10 years.I was anxious to show Mark how much my playing had improved and had a demo of my own to give him that day.And here was another first.We would get to meet Don and Mel for the first time and actually get to enjoy the show.My last concert in 1998 was a catastrophe.This time I didnt have anybody with me drunk or fighting and who really wanted to see Mark probably as much as I did.The big crowd there was of every age imaginable.A huge round American Band banner was situated up on the stage just behind and above Dons drumset.Security was gonna be tight that day too.It could require some cleverness to even get to talk with Mark and the band after this concert.It was soon showtime and everyone was ready.The big crowd roared as Grand Funk Railroad was announced and the guys all took the stage,and I think they started it out with the song rock and roll soul.I then said something odd to David.Hey look,Marks got a new guitar player just like he used to back in the common ground days in the 80s!Hey wait a second.Thats not Mark is it?Dave and I debated about this for a few moments and I finally assumed that Mark was either ill or perhaps something came up like an emergency,which I suppose can and does happen and he just couldnt make it for this particular show.Guess I would be wrong on both counts.But I kept my hopes up that it could still be possible that Mark was here backstage or something.I knew one thing for sure though.It was a great kickass show from the beginning to the very end of it and we were both quite impressed.A very enjoyable concert.They did lots of Grand Funk hits and a rendition of Inside Looking Out that blew me away as well as a percussion thingy they did were all five of them played a percussion instrument in unison of each other.I think they called it days of thunder or something like that.I have been a Grand Funk enthusiast for many years.I take away nothing from Don Brewer and Mel Schacher for they both are tremendous showmen who could put on a fantastic show with these other new members they had added.They most certainly rocked the park.In all fairness though,I do believe that they shouldnt have advertised themselves as Grand Funk Railroad without Mark.Many fans had found this misleading at that time including me.Dave and I were both very impressed with how these guys sounded and performed.There was a new Grand Funk lineup.We ended up finding out the whole scoop on this at the end of the concert.Some were calling them GFRX.I guess thats supposed to mean the new Grand Funk or something.Im not for sure though.The new Grand Funk Railroad was/is original members Don Brewer,Mel Schacher and new members Bruce Kulick formerly of kiss,Max Carl formerly of 38 special,and Tim Cashion from Bob Seger and Robert Palmer.This was indeed an all star line up.One thing I noticed in particular was that Max Carl was wearing red colored tennis shoes on stage.This was something Mark used to do.All three of these guys are all great performers and indeed compliment Don and Mel very much so.Bruce Kulicks guitar playing was so awesome.Songs like were an american band,shinon on,walk like a man and some kind of wonderful have always been sung by Don Brewer.Max Carl sung the stuff Mark would sing.These would be the ones like footstompin music,heartbreaker,Im your captain-closer to home and inside looking out among others.The show was definitely loud and high energy.Don did a drum solo that was as explosive as tnt and Bruces guitar solos were loud and rocked clear through the park.They were all really great.When the concert was over Dave and I walked around the festival for awhile and then came back to the stage.Perhaps a few dozen or so people were already there.Soon all five band members came out and started conversing with everyone and signing autographs.Dave and I just watched for while.While we were standing there a brown haired woman walked out to the front of the stage and looked at me.I think it was Mels wife.I dont know if she knew me or not but she smiles and says-how are you today?I replied-Im fine thank you,and how are you?She said-fine and smiled and walked on backstage.She had a kind nature to her.I walked up to Don Brewer and asked him where Mark was.He replied,I dont know.Marks not here.With my recording in my hand I asked him if there was any way that he would be able to deliver it to him.He said,no I very much doubt it.Tim Cashion then asked me what I had and I proceeded to tell him about my recording and about my guitar playing.He was really a super guy.We stood there and chatted for awhile while the others were still busy talking and signing autographs.I ended up giving the recording to Tim.I knew that he wouldnt be able to get it to Mark but I didnt see myself getting it to Mark any time real soon either.This is you on here?he asked.I replied,it sure is and then told him all about it.Man thats so cool Chris,he replied.He then started giving me some positive encouragement like-dont ever give up on your playing man.Good luck to you and keep jammin.Even though I was disappointed that Mark was no longer with them,I will say that it was one heck of a concert and all of these guys seemed like very pleasant people to talk with.I then suddenly had an idea.Hey Dave lets get a picture with them since theyre all together here.Unfortunately the camera was now used up.When we were all posed for the pic the camera wouldnt click because all the film had been spent.Just our luck I guess.They all went ahead and gave us autographs and we thanked them and then left.Dave thought it was a great concert too.Even though this Grand Funk Railroad concert rocked,we still had the feeling that we had somehow once again missed our mark.
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