my grand funk concert stories 3 decades of rock
Three decades of rock festival 1990Click thumbnail to view full-size
The heart of Ohio jam
Like they say,if ya givem an inch theyll take a mile.That statement pretty much describes my own actions in the concert written about here and caused me to rethink some things as well.It had been just over a year since my last concert.My last Mark Farner/Grand Funk concert was at a place called the Carousel just outside of Celina Ohio in 1989 when I attended it with my girlfriend and my friend Dave L.That was a memorable night for me.We had all gotten to talk with Mark for a good while and it was all such a relaxing atmosphere.This one would be quite different.To those unfamiliar with Mark Farner,he was the lead guitarist and singer of the 70s supergroup Grand Funk Railroad.It was now August 11th of 1990.This would be my 8th concert and would be held at Marion Fairgrounds,Marion,Ohio.Actually,I had won the tickets.One day while at a friends house the local radio station announced the giveaway of two concert tickets to be given away to the right caller so I picked up his phone and tried.I called at the right time and won.The show was entitled three decades of rock and roll and featured Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels,the ozark mountain daredevils,the tubes,mark farner of grand funk,the romantics and finishing with blue oyster cult.Six big acts in all.All these shows in one day and all of them on a mere 15 dollar ticket.Yep,just fifteen bucks.I invited my friend John to go with me because hed seen Grand Funk and Mark with me before and had always been a reliable good friend.John is one of my best friends to this day and this particular concert would be his third.of the four he has attended with me.We were both very low on money.We would have enough for gas and perhaps twenty bucks each to go,but the more expensive special reserved seating was simply out of our financial reach.We were still happy though,seeing that our tickets were free.Later I would find out that only the special reserved seatings would get to see Mark or any of the other bands and security would be ultra tight.It was high noon and local bands were now finishing up their sets.We arrived just before mitch rider and the detoit wheels would be taking the stage,then ozark mountain daredevils,then the tubes and Mark would be going on after the tubes show.All of the shows were awesome.Security would not let anyone without that pass to get backstage,including even some of the stageworkers who were trying to do their jobs.Now thats tight to the point of stupidness in my book.At Marks concession stand I was talking with a worker there while choosing what to buy and she remarks,you outta have Mark autograph it Chris.Gloomily I told her that I didnt have reserved seating.She then made a special deal with me in that if I come back to her booth after Marks show and help her carry two large trunks across the grounds to Marks bus,that shed get me back there.It sure wouldnt be easy though.Those things were very heavy and far away from the stage and bus and I have a bad back,but I decided to give it my best shot.Mark and guys soon came out.It was a pretty good concert but it was like watching it from a distance behind the reserved seats.When Marks set was finished I headed for the concession as asked.I promptly told John that I had to leave for awhile and told him briefly as to why and then I quickly left.I knew the time Id have would be limited.Soon the romantics would begin their show as we continued loading up stuff into these huge crates and carrying them across the grounds.We finally arrived at the fence.She began talking with the security who soon began demanding to see her pass and then demanding to see mine,so she kindly argued her case to him.Hes working for me.Hey look,Im in charge of Mark Farners stuff here and I need this mans help with it and he is working under me.He finally told me to go on in.She left but soon came back to tell me that she had to leave and had me hold my coat over my left shoulder,so as to cover the area where the stage pass sticker is supposed to be.I then thanked her and minutes later I was on board the bus.Mark asked how Id been doing and at the time I was not doing so well.So without thinking,I told him how everythings been so bad.After a brief moment of silence,he looks at me and says,Chris dont you think its about time we stop the crap?Then he laid it on me.I really wasnt expecting this and it was a tough one for me to handle at the time.I listened but didnt really like what was said.However in later years I would reflect back and see that much of what Mark had said was very true.Givem an inch and theyll take a mile.Or at least I did.After our discussion I asked him for an autograph and he gave me one.Well actually he gave me a few of them.The autograph and another autographed bible from his ministry that he wanted me to have as well as a pamphlet.I then asked,can my friend John have one?So he obliged me and signed an autograph for me to take back to my friend John.Can I have one from the rest of the band?So Mark called in two of the three other members and they obliged me with autographs.Mark can I have a picture?So..he goes along with it and does the picture.Mark can I have an autograph of the third guy?Finally they booted my ass off the bus by pretending that this third guy wasnt on the bus when he actually was.Go outside Chris and hell be there.When I departed from the bus I was standing there looking around for Lawerence,Marks bass player.I believed them.Suddenly the bus pulled out and drove away.As the bus was pulling away I stupidly asked myself,now whyd they go and do that for?I then went back to where John was.He was still up near the stage and I gave him his Mark items I had gotten for him.He was very surprized.The romantics were now finishing up their set and blue oyster cult would soon be up to finish out this music festival.John was glad that Id finally returned.Blue oyster cult then took the stage to finish out the show and what a great show it was.The festival ran to nearly midnight.It was indeed getting late and John and I were both very exhausted as we set out on our long drive home.I had gotten Marks cd called Wake Up which ironically,is what I today believe that Mark was trying to get me to do that day.To finally wake up.
Wake Up-Mark Farners Common Ground band from the LP-Wake Up 1990
Some Grand Funk facts
Grand Funk appeared at the atlanta international pop festival July 4th 1969 in front of an estmated 186,000 people.They played for free.They were on the bill with Janis Joplin,Chuck Berry,Joe Cocker,Led Zeppelin,Creedence Clearwater Revival and a whole host of others during this two day concert event.The temperature that day would be in the hundreds.The band was the opening act and turned out to steal the whole show.They played for 45 minutes in the sweltering heat.It was so hot out that Mark decided to throw off his shirt during the performance and the crowd went wild about this.This became like a trademark for them.Mark was the first rock musician in history to actually perform on stage shirtless.The overall response was beyond overwhelming.Instantly promoters from all over the country were now taking notice and this included capitol records as well.Their first album called-on time-was released in August of 69.Thus began a long and adventurous journey for this garage band from out of Flint Michigan and the lives of Mark Farner,Don Brewer and Mel Schacher would forever be changed as they would become one of the biggest selling rock acts in history.
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