grand funk concert stories reunion tour
Grand Funk Railroad 1997
inside escorted out
It had been a long time since my last Grand Funk show which was back in April 1991 when we seen Mark Farner and the Godrockers in Kent,Ohio.It had been around seven years.The only time I had written Mark was when my oldest sister was dying of cancer in 1995. I had sent a prayer request to Marks ministry.I guess I was hoping at that time that perhaps his ministry was still there. It wasnt and my letter was returned.I didnt even know if Mark had even been touring anymore until I heard he was touring with Ringo Starrs all star band.I wouldve loved to seen one of those shows.Well here it was seven years later in June 1998 and we were all going to see the reunion concert of the original Grand Funk Railroad.This would be my 10th Grand Funk concert.But this was different in that I had never seen the original Grand Funk live yet.They were mostly Marks shows Id seen.My first concert was their abc in concert televised show and the second concert was Mark,Don and Denny Bellinger as Grand Funk.The remaining seven concerts I had attended were Marks band.We wouldnt have guessed in a million years what was going to be in store for us once we got to this concert.Needless to say we were all excited.
What should have been my best Grand Funk Railroad show would turn out very much for the worse in many ways.The concert itself was very good.It was even grand.It wasnt the band that turned this into a nightmare into unusual proportions.I sure learned alot that day though.It was soon getting to concert day and the four of us would be heading down below Dayton to Kettering Ohio to the fraze pavilion.We had reserved seating for this concert.Going on this trip to Kettering would be myself,a friend Angie whom had never been to a rock concert,my friend Dave R and his girlfriend.I would be the one driving.My old camero was gonna be a tight fit for everyone and Angie sat up front with me.Unfortunately it just had to happen.Dave had a need for a bottle and put away a fifth of 40 proof vodka prior to the show.Then there were more and more delays.We were starting to run very late and by the time we finally found the place Grand Funk was already on their second or third song as we could hear the song time machine just outside the entrance.I was really afraid Dave wouldnt make it in.He was very drunk and he and his girlfriend had been incessantly arguing all the way down here.We were finally inside in the concert area.A girl walked up and asked to see our tickets and then escorted us to our seats which were actual seats but fairly far away from the stage.There were alot of people but not in the seat section.
As far as reserved seating was concerned,there were literally hundreds of empty seats surrounding all around us.Three minutes later this guy approaches us.He looks at our tickets and says,youre in the wrong seats.He then escorts us three rows down.Like it would even make any difference because all the stupid seats were empty.Then it wasnt even fives minutes later when the first girl comes up and says,youre in the wrong seats.She then took us three rows back again.Incredibly,within minutes another guy took us from our seats and placed us on the other end of the stage.Then ten minutes later the first girl comes back.She starts yelling at us for having moved and asked us once again go to our original spot.When we got there we were moved once again.This went on for more than half the concert and when Dave got up and stumbled to a closer seat of his own,I could see he was beyond raging mad.Again a guy came up to check our seats.Dave then muttered,Im gonna freakin hit him Chris. When he stood up with his hands clenched the guy began to back up.He looks at me and says,theyll just have to throw me out of here Chris.Dave glared at him and this guy knew he meant business.As another employee approached we were now all sayin-look man,theres nobody sittin in these seats within a three hundred foot radius.Havent you any sense at all?Would you pretty please leave us the freakin hell alone so we can watch this concert?I think Dave downright scared them.When he stood back up he glared at them fiercely and they immediately left.We were now in the proper seats 40 minutes later! The concert was superb.Well at least what little we got to actually see of it and they played the song The Railroad and that was a first for me.Mark was dancing across the stage jammin footstompin music and daves girlfriend had absolutely fell in love with him.I really liked -inside lookin out.Mark was jammin all over the place and quite a crowd had assembled all along the front of the stage.The concert itself was all awesome.Don Brewer did a drum solo that was out of this world and Mel really made it all complete.It was the original three amigos.
Since we had arrived so late we had never gotten the chance to obtain one of the passes that were given away earlier and Dave was certainly in no shape to see the band.He has always been a true Grand Funk fan though.When the show was finally over and the people were filing out,both the girls helped Dave back to the car.I guess I got stupid because I remained.Eventually the only ones left were the stage crew and the workers of the place and the gates were now closed.I then started gettin a little scared.I feared that one of the workers would recognize that I wasnt an employee.But they didnt and a few of them were especially nice to me.One of the stage crew soon approached me and after talking with him awhile I then introduced myself.He actually seemed to remember who I was.I was very elated as I told him about how our late excursion to Kettering had caused us to miss the chance of obtaining a backstage pass.He was cool and understanding.I told him I was kinda in fear now too since I wasnt supposed to be here.He assured me everything was alright.We talked while he continued his job and I asked them if they needed any help with anything.They didnt and he was just about finishing up.He says,gimme a moment and Ill take ya back to see Mark Chris.Are you sure?I replied.Yea Chris dont worry it aint no big thing man and youre alright here.I said bless your heart.I waited patiently and nobody minded that I was there.This guy had obviously toured with Mark back in the 80s and early 90s and we did remember each other.
Don Brewer then walked past the stage.The stagehand was just about done with his stuff and was asking me about my past concerts and so forth.He was almost done packing.Then out of nowhere a man storms onto the stage yelling-What in the effen hell is he doin here?I knew I was in trouble.The stagehand explained to him that he was taking me back to see Mark.The man then went nuts.The roadie went to bat for me and he really tried to convince this guy that everything was alright and that it wasnt such a big deal.But there was no convincing him.He then began screaming at the man and telling him that hed fire him if he even said one more word.No one is to be here,he yelled.But Chris isnt hurting anything and I dont mind helping him,he replied.Like an inhuman madman,the guy was goin nuts.I am so sorry Chris,the roadie said to me.I am so sorry.I know you are and I appreciate your trying,I replied.I had no desire to watch this guy sacrafice his job to this man,so I said goodbye and wished him well.I could tell he was bummed out.
Follow me,the angry man snorted.I was scared and as we walked to the gate I apologized to him and briefly told him about what had happened.I was as sincere as could be.You will get the effin hell outta here now or youll be in big trouble,he snarled.I said,Look I am very sorry.I know it was wrong of me to remain after it closed and I do indeed deserve to be tossed out.But this guy was mean.As if possessed.I then told him,look sir I havent seen Mark since 91 when he and common ground prayed on the bus with us.Oh so youre one of those huh?Now I know that I want you the hell out of here and you better go now.Some people started booing .Six years later I would find out the truth.In 2004.I was told a couple times who and what it really was all about..And I guess I can understand that seein I wasnt supposed to be there.Im told that some of Marks people had left the tour early because of the same reasons,Read what Marks brother has to say about it in the book by Kristofer Engelhardt -from Grand Funk to Grace.Dont know if this is true or not.I am bettin that it is true.Personally I feel that even though I was in the wrong doesnt excuse this other man treating me or anyone else in such a subhuman way.Especially when theyre buying his tickets and paying his bills..
Well this guy was now just staring at me from a distance.Groups of people were asking me what happened and I told them.Quite a few people were suddenly pissed.Not one liked hearing what I had to say about my(quote)being one of those.One man walked up to me and hands me his stage pass.Here take it man.I dont even want it now.Are you sure?I exclaimed.Yea, I dont even want to meet them now anyways.Here,please take my pass.A few others then said the same thing to me and walked away.Another man then offered me his pass too which I accepted.When this guy seen the disgruntled fan hand me his pass he came running over yelling No,no,no,and swiped the pass from my hand.The fan who gave me the gift then got mad,hey I gave that to him.Well thats too effen bad the man snarled back at him.People then booed him.Look we dont want your kind around here and that pass will do you no good.I was somewhat embarrassed by all this but shouldnt have been.because he was the one that was making an idiot out of himself.A few others then broke from the line.
The people smoking and drinking in and out of the bus showed that indeed this was not the common ground days.Thats for sure.It certainly put an old letter that Mark had sent me back in 91 into a new perspective.That was for sure.I stood there from a distance looking at the bus.When Mark and Don came out of the building to get into their cars to leave,neither one paid any mind to us fans who were trying to get their attention.I told these guys not to fret it because I certainly wasnt.I could just feel that something just wasnt right.I genuinely felt sorry for Mark.I said a little silent prayer for him as he was driving away.I thought of the song-like I was before.As I was then deep in thought I could hear these guys still upset.One fan even threw his unautographed records in the garbage.These few fans were really hurt and as I was hearing their remarks and looking at the lit up nightime bus in front of me.My mind wandered and thats when the odd sense came to me.There was something that just wasnt right.I just couldnt put my finger on it.I ended up brushing it aside.But I suddenly didnt feel bad anymore like the rest of these guys did.Yes I was disappointed.But I still felt for Marks situation.Thats why I sent him that prayer.I was far from being any good religiously christian myself.In fact,the idea of most organized religion today is rather disappointing to me.As for the whole concert?I was very upset that Dave had gotten so drunk,that we got a late start,couldnt get any passes and all the seat changing that went on for half the show,But the concert in and of itself was a great show.But this stage guy criticizing me in front of all those people was downright disgusting.So I didnt get to see Mark again and at the time I did want to meet Don and Mel as well.I would meet Don and Mel in 2001.It would be in 2004 that I would find out what had really been goin on during that 1997-98 tour.It sure seemed like a long drive home that night.Guess you could say that it was the first Grand Funk concert where I actually got locked inside.The first show where I was really inside looking out.
Inside Looking Out-Grand Funk Railroad from the LP Grand Funk 1969
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