grand funk stories Mark Farner rocks Wooster Ohio

Mark Farner and NRG

Funked up old farts-the night the crowd left

It was just the previous night of September 11th 2004 that I had experienced my 14th Mark Farner Grand Funk concert in Youngstown Ohio.I was with my girlfriend Joy.We had travelled clear across state to attend two of Marks concerts in Youngstown and Wooster Ohio.Both places were fairly close to each other.After the Youngstown show we headed for the town of Wooster the following day to see Marks NRG band once again at the Wayne county fairgrounds during the fair that evening with special guest Gary Puckett from Gary Puckett and the Union gap.Gary Puckett had the 60s hit single Young Girl.When we arrived in Wooster we went ahead and got checked into an Econo Lodge.The concert wasnt until the evening.After some swimming and relaxing throughout the day we later made our way to the county fair where tonights concerts would be.The previous night had been Mark Farner and Peter Frampton.It was a rather large county fair as compared to ours back home and it costs less than ours too.Basically tonights concert was costing us two bucks each.When we walked over to the grandstands we could see the big stage set up in front of it and with lots of chairs that were situated between the grandstands and the stage.These were the reserved seatings.They were only sixteen bucks for the two of us but we decided to save our money on this one.We had already had reserved seats the previous night.We were now getting pretty close to broke and still had to drive across state the following morning to get back home.Even the center grandstand seats were reserved only.The only seats that were not reserved were the ones on the outer edges of the grandstand.This would be our crappy seats.We would later have much better seats though because something would happen that I have never seen at any of these previous concerts.Everybody would get up from their seats and leave.When Marks band came out and started the concert off with the song-Are you ready,indeed many of them were ready alright.They were ready to leave.We had gone ahead and took a walk around the fair for awhile to check some of the attractions out and we then later returned for some rock and roll.It was obvious everyone else had as well.The entire grandstands and surrounding areas were all jammed packed with people and it looked like a pretty huge crowd.Gary Puckett had taken the stage.A group of local band students would be on stage along with him and his regular band.They all played various brass instruments.He and they were really great for that particular kind of music and we really enjoyed it but it was a far cry from any kind of heavy rock music.A very far cry from Mark Farners nrg.Gary Puckett would soon be finished with his show and his encores and the place was still pretty much jam packed.Mark and the guys soon came out.An introduction was made and as soon as the first song began,away they all left.They indeed vamoosed and scrammed.As the song was playing we could see vast hordes of elderly folks trying to vacate the grandstands and surrounding areas rather quickly.We watched all this from our seats.It looked like a huge herd stampede that were all heading straight for the exit gate.Even into the second song they were still filing out.Rock and roll soul was the second song and as it played we began noticing all of the suddenly empty seats all around us.So we then moved to a better spot.As all of these people were still trying to get out to the exit I observed an elderly lady who was standing up right beside us and was dancing her butt off and boogyin down with the rest of us.She then tapped me on the arm.I lean over to hear her because the music was quite loud.She yells to me,hey sonny lookit this!Look at all the old farts leavin.It must be a gettin way past their bedtimes and they all gotta get outta here so they can take their naps but not me sonny.I may be an old woman sonny but Im here to rock down.She was up and dancin and jumpin all around just like the rest of us.There was a Grand Funk song called,Look at granny run run.It was from off of the 1975 album all of the girls in the world beware.This sweet elderly lady was having alot of fun.As this Wooster concert continued,the cool and funky older lady was still dancin throughout the show as are you ready and rock and roll soul had already played.Next on their set list was footstompin music,into the sun and,heartbreaker.By this time we had found our third new spot to sit in the middle and to the front of the grandstand.We were back a ways but still at center stage.There was another couple that were there too.They were really cool and we all were having a good time.After Mark did People lets stop the war,they followed into nothing is the same,were an american band,creepin and shinon on.They then would do a new one called -same ole feeling.I was taking alot of pictures but they were taken from far away but I took them anyways.They then finshed with songs bad time and the locomotion.Some kind of wonderful and then- inside looking out would be the two encores for the evening and we both seemed to like this show much better than the one in Youngstown the previous evening.Again Mark had came out to meet and greet everybody.As people began getting in line,Joy and I took some time out to chat once again with Marks keyboardist Paul for awhile.He also plays a mean sax too.It was different seeing Mark this time after this particular show.And for good reason too.I had been reading a book entitled-from grand funk to grace by Kristofer Engelhardt practically non stop from the night before and clear into this day just before the concert and had read more than half of it already.Reading it the night before caused me to ponder my grand funk past.I then thought about Mr.C whom was a mutual friend of mine and Marks,as well as what Paul had said to us just a couple nights before,and now I was reading this book and I just had to kinda sit back and laugh at myself.I felt so sorry for Mark too.He had gone through alot more than many folks may have ever believed.This book is mind blowing and great.If you havent ever read this book I would invite you to read it sometime and youll see exactly what I mean.My hats off to Kristofer Engelhardt for this book.After chatting with Paul we finally got in line and got some autographs and Mark was kind enough to take another picture.I couldnt believe what all he had gone through.Quite somberly I had told Mark that I had read part of the book and a particular hellish experience he had gone through really got to me.Mark lit up with a smile as he signed our stuff and posed a pic with us.One of the guys gave me a paper that had been attached to a mic with black tape and had the concerts song list written in black marker.We talked with Paul somemore before leaving.This was my 15th Grand Funk/Mark Farner concert.Some may say that their is only one true American band but I believe there are actually two.Maybe you agree or you dont.In 2001 Mark was still performing solo with his nrg band.Grand Funk were back to together in 2001.However,this was a Markless Grand Funk as original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher enlisted three new members to the band.Max Carl from 38 special,Bruce Kulick who was once with kiss,and Tim Cashion from Bob Segars band.Now that is an all star line up.They were touring as grand funk railroad but Mark was no longer with them.As For Grand Funk and NRG,I wont go into whos better or whos right and whose wrong for everybody has their own opinions on such things anyways.This new Grand Funk and Don Brewer were really great.Both shows from 2001 and 2003 were absolutely incredible and both were concerts that I would highly recommend even though I am more for Marks group.I will say this though.These bandmates of Marks were just like ordinary common folks who possess alot of talent and they just seemed like someone who could very well be living right next door to you.Paul was especially this way.Not saying that the new Markless Grand Funk arent like common everyday people,but they are all huge well known rock veterens in the media or have been,and perhaps their public often views them as such.This would include Mark as well.Of course the book-from grand funk to grace has likely clarified alot of things to those who have read it including myself.It may well be that both sides are all just ordinary people.They were very friendly and talked with us back in 2001 and seemed like ordinary talented folks just like Mark.Of course this is just my opinion.But despite all of this,they are probably moreso viewed as rock stars than just your average guy in the street.The guys in Marks NRG band may be extremely talented but still represent to me the ordinary guy in the society just trying and often struggling just to make a living for that is what these guys are.They are not yet labled by society as super mega rock celebrities.Perhaps they prefer it this way.And I kind of have a feeling that they really dont wish to be either.Of course I could be wrong.Monday morning we awoke and headed for home and knowing that we had experienced a genuine two concert weekend that was filled with lots of rockin nrg.The next show would be next summer in 2005.We would be going to the Miami Twp festival just outside of Dayton Ohio and would once again get to visit with Mr.C and his family as Mark Farner and his nrg band would once again rock our socks off.But that would be next time.As we headed on our long journey home from Wooster I became absorbed into my book because it was so good.If I had more of them I would probably give them away and pass it around.



pass it around-from LP-Grand Funk Railroad good singin good playin 1975-76

Grand Funk on amazon

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