19 August 2003

Stewart Park, Roseburg, OR


Whenever I'm on vacation, I like to scan the concert lineup for cities that I pass through. This vacation had some nostalgia in the sense that the activities included my high school reunion. To add to the nostalgia, 1970s pop act Orleans was booked for a show on my route along I-5.

Roseburg, OR, when the weather is good, is a nice, peaceful, beautiful part of the country. Stewart Park has a small amphitheatre along the North bank of the Umpqua River. This vacation, for several reasons, reminded me of how much I enjoy the combination of sight and sound.

Tonight's combination was seeing the sun set through the trees on a nice, warm but not too warm, night in Western Oregon, and hearing the opening acoustic riff and harmonies to "Dance With Me".

Orleans still has three original members: lead singer Larry Hoppen, keyboardist Lance Hoppen, and singer/songwriter John Hall. Besides performing their major hits, Orleans performed several songs that bandmembers, and relatives of bandmembers, wrote for other artists. These included the Janis Joplin number "Half Moon", and King Harvest's smash 1973 hit "Dancin' In The Moonlight".

John Hall left the band in 1977 for a solo career. Despite this, Orleans hit in 1979 with "Love Takes Time", which ended the first set. After a 15 minute break, Orleans returned with, among other songs, John Hall's solo hit "Power" from the No Nukes soundtrack. Their ABC theme song "Still The One" ended the second set.

I am especially glad that John Hall decided to re-join the band in 1995. His bass singing and songwriting skills complete the band's sound. But, make no mistake, without Larry Hoppen's distinctive vocals, Orleans isn't Orleans. Tonight, Orleans was Orleans.

A very nice show, a very pleasant evening.

[***1/2] - Steven T.

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