KOOL Koncert '06

18 June 2006

City Lights Pavilion, Denver, CO


In what was the fourth KOOL Koncert I've attended, KOOL 105.1 decided to move their event from the Coors Amphitheatre to the parking-lot-and-circus-tent facility adjacent to Denver's Pepsi Center, called the City Lights Pavilion.

I was familiar with all four acts prior to attending.

Colorado native band Firefall, now with sole original member Jock Bartley born and raised in Manitou Springs, performed a set of the band's 1970s hits, opening with the Stills/Hillman/Roberts composition "It Doesn't Matter". Jock introduced "Cinderella" as his favorite song, choosing to manually bleep "God" before "damn girl!" Filling out their set were Jock Bartley's song about 1996 Midwestern flooding, "When The River Rises", and the Rick Roberts classic rocker, "Mexico".

Martha Reeves brought her Vandellas, a lot of humorous chat, and her hits, "Dancin' In The Street", "Jimmy Mack", "Nowhere To Run", and "Heat Wave" to a warm downtown afternoon. She looks great, by the way.

In terms of my concert viewing, Grand Funk Railroad is similar to CCR, in that I've seen two of the band's original members in one concert, and the remaining singer/songwriter/guitarist in another. I saw Mark Farner with Ringo's All-Star Band in 1995, and now Grand Funk is touring with remaining drummer/vocalist Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher, and, get this, Max Carl, known for singing lead vocal on .38 Special's greatest hit, "Second Chance", from 1989. Max hasn't aged, at all. A greatest hits bill, GFR played "Locomotion", "Rock & Roll Soul", "We're An American Band", "Walk Like A Man", "Some Kind Of Wonderful", and a barely-squeezed-in "Closer To Home (I'm Your Captain)", a great tune for cross-country driving.

Headliner Three [Two] Dog Night impressed the crowd with a set chock full of megahits, including, "Family Of Man", "Easy To Be Hard", "Never Been To Spain", Danny Hutton dancing to "Black And White", "One", "Sure As I'm Sittin' Here", "Try A Little Tenderness", "Out In The Country", "Liar", "Old Fashioned Love Song", and "Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)".

Perhaps the most unusual event of the show was Cory Wells' rap version of "Mama Told Me Not To Come", complete with new lyrics, available on t-shirts in the concession area.

Cory introduced the Randy Newman-penned "You Can Leave Your Hat On" as a song the band was sure was going to hit #1, though it in reality didn't even crack the top 40.

"Shambala" featured Michael Allsup's trademark acoustic lead-in, albeit using an electric guitar and effects processor.

"Celebrate" and an encore of "Joy To The World" placed an enjoyable, emphatic period on a very good set of songs.

In all honesty, I drove to this show to kill some time, but I'm glad I decided to spend the time--it was a nice afternoon/evening event, and all around great music. I wish more original members would rejoin some of the bands, but I'm also glad that the bands are still touring.

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


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