KKFM Summer Jam

13 August 2000

Air Force Academy, CO


Every summer, Colorado Springs classic rock station 98.1 KKFM hosts a summer concert spectacular, and they put on a great show this year. Aside from meeting morning disc jockeys Mark Stevens and Steve Medley, the 4000+ fans got to see three famous bands for the admission price of $25. The proceedings for this event contributed to a Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.

A group that called itself Badfinger ran through a greatest hits selection of songs that the original Badfinger had scored top 40 honors with in the early 1970s. These tunes included a grunge version of "Come And Get It", "Baby Blue", "Day After Day", and "No Matter What". Unfortunately, the original lead singer, Peter Ham committed suicide 27 years ago, and therefore this version of Badfinger couldn't match the authenticity of the original band. This Badfinger also covered a song penned by Ham and popularized by Harry Nillson, "Without You". This set was maybe a nice reminder of sounds of the early 1970s, but a little bit short on being genuine.

Next up was Kansas, who sounded a little more jazzy, harder rocking, and synthesized (a la Yes), than last year at their Greeley Stampede Show. Added to this evening's setlist were two of their biggest hits, the melodic "Hold On", and "Point Of Know Return". Absent from the setlist was "Fight Fire With Fire".

The main event was best described as highly anticipated, for the legendary hard pop Foreigner. Lead singer Lou Gramm successfully battled a brain tumor in 1997, and we are lucky that he is even on the road in the first place. Treatment for the tumor has resulted in a gain of a few pounds on Gramm's frame, making him somewhat unrecognizable to the eye, but nevertheless still very recognizable in voice.

On spirit alone, his presense was overpowering--he poured his heart into each and every number. Along with master songwriter/producer Mick Jones and four other relatively unknown support musicians, Foreigner jumped into "Long Long Way From Home", "Feels Like The First Time", "Juke Box Hero", "Blue Monday", and "Double Vision".

Rumor has it that Gramm is not a big fan of the ballads, and thusly decided to limit the ballad count to two: "Waiting For A Girl Like You", and "I Want To Know What Love Is". This meant that we had to miss a few of my favorites: "Say You Will", "I Don't Want To Live Without You", and "That Was Yesterday".

Gramm and Co., however, made sure they covered "Urgent", "Cold As Ice", and "Head Games". The set finished with "Hot Blooded".

I think all Foreigner fans are glad that Lou and Mick realize the importance of seeing through their past differences, and appreciating the fundamental fact that they a) are still alive, and b) still make great music together.

[****] - Steven T.

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