Volume 2 No. 5
America 1996 Tour Schedule
Valley Forge Music Fair Review
Springfield, Texas Review
American History.."Captain America and Sweet Melissa"May 18, 1975
"Holiday" cd Information
This and That
New America-related Homepage
America 1996 Tour Schedule
Here is the 1996 Tour Schedule as of today. Remember, these dates are tentative and subject to change. I'll keep you posted as I get updates between newsletter issues. If you find any information about a given concert, please send it to me so I can distribute it to the list. I do not have venue information yet, but hope to get it out to you in the near future. New dates since the last schedule are indicated with a *. If you attend any of these concerts, please send me a review for the newsletter!
May 4 Ocean City, MD: This concert is at the "Springfest" celebration. Call 410-250-0125 for more information.
May 9 Ekhart, IN
May 10 Pensacola, FL
May 11 Pittsburgh, PA Star Lake
May 22 Richmond, VA
May 24 Zaxx, Springfield, VA
May 25 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
May 25 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
May 26 Raleigh, NC
May 27 Lancaster, PA
May 30 *Myrtle Beach, SC
May 31 Kansas City, MO
June 1 St. Louis, MO
June 14 Mobile, AL
June 17-22 France
June 29-30 Council Bluff, IA
July 2 Battle Creek, MI
July 4 Clear Lake, CA
July 5-6 Horizon, Lake Tahoe
July 10 Phoenix, AZ
July 12 Camp Pendleton, CA
July 13 Normandy Casino, Los Angeles, CA
July 25 Waukesha, WI
July 26 Wheaton, IL
July 26 Wheaton, IL
July 27 Columbus, OH
July 28 Jackson, NJ
July 29-30-31 Saulte St. Marie, MI
August 1 Albert Lea, MN
August 2 Vancouver, WA
August 3 Bowling Green, KY
August 9 *Norfolk, VA
August 10 Malone, NY
August 17 Charlotte, NC
August 18 *Disneyworld, Orlando, FL
August 22 Houston, TX (Symphony), Cynthia Woods Mitchell
Pavilion (?) August 25 Hershey Park, PA
August 27 Cleveland, OH
August 28 Centre Hall, PA
August 29 Essex Junction, VT
August 31 Detroit, MI
October 4 Humphrey's, San Diego, CA
October 5 Ventura, CA
Valley Forge Music Fair Review
Valley Forge, PA April 20-21
I had the pleasure of attending both concerts at the Valley Forge Music Fair near King of Prussia, PA on April 20 and 21. Both shows were PACKED with enthusiastic fans...each one was sold out! This venue was a bit different than the usual, the stage being round. It turned very slowly throughout the entire concert, allowing the audience on all sides to see the performers' faces for at least a while!
Dave Mason opened the Saturday concert, followed by The Guess Who, and then America. On Sunday, The Guess Who performed first, as they were heading to an evening gig in Baltimore. Due to the fact that there were three acts, each set was only about 45 minutes long. America focused on "the hits," playing the usual "Sister Golden Hair," "I Need You," "Ventura Highway," "Only in Your Heart," "Sandman," "Riverside," and "Daisy Jane," among others. The encore was "A Horse With No Name."
America's sound was absolutely amazing during both shows, a strong contrast to the opening acts who sounded a bit muddy. The music was crisp and clear, and, even though I've heard these tunes a zillion or more times, I still enjoyed myself immensely! It was great to see the audience on their feet.....cheering, clapping, dancing......and having the times of their lives!
I'm looking forward to my next show already....May 11 in Pittsburgh at Star Lake!! See you there?
***** Springfield, Texas Review
April 28, 1996, 3pm Richardson, Texas (North Dallas)
Richardson Wildflower And Music Festival
submitted by EfahsT@aol.com, Dallas, Texas
The City of Richardson hosted a number of acts from the seventies and eighties this weekend in a series of outdoor concerts. Admission was only $3 a day, included all concerts for that day, and parking was even free. Wish you all could have been here. But, with skies almost completely cloudy and winds gusting up to 20 mph, it looked like our afternoon with America was too good to be true.
A glimpse of Gerry seated beside the stage in a calm conversation with the band didn't reveal any anxieties on his part. He took off his bluejean jacket and revealed a solid black short-sleeve shirt which he wore on stage with solid black pants. Dewey wore bluejean pants, a white shirt, and a black vest with designs of half-moons and other stellar objects.
The stage was about six feet off the ground, situated in an office park below an office building some sixteen stories high. A six lane street, which had been blocked off from traffic for the weekend, curved directly in front of the stage. The crowd sat on the curb separating each of the three lanes and they sat on a lawn across the street.
"Riverside", the first tune on America's self-named first release in '71, was an excellent choice to open the show with. The band harmonized, grooved, smiled, and just plain gelled. They was no sign on their faces that they had done it a thousand times, but seemed to enjoy themselves with every note. The acoustic guitar lead by Gerry came across the sound system perfectly mixed. All the instruments blended for a studio quality sound. One fan caught Dewey's eye when she slipped under the tape and started dancing below center stage. Richardson Police didn't have to worry since this new fan looked to be all of four years old.
After "Riverside", Dewey thanked the crowd for the welcome "on this windy Richardson day." Gerry said they had a lot of songs to do and wanted to beat the rain so they were going to get to it. "Ventura Highway" was second. The only noticeable deviation from the Homecoming single I noticed was the double time doo-doot-doo-doo's by Dewey, which can be heard on the "In Concert" release by Capitol. Also, the drums came through to give this song, and all of them, an emphasis on the rhythm, making them all the more enjoyable.
Gerry went to the keyboard and performed the sweet, "Daisy Jane." The mid-song violin solo is accomplished perfectly by a keyboard. On the line, "Well, the clouds are clearing and I think we're over the storm," the bassist looked up at the ominous clouds and shook his head. We were all hoping...
Following Gerry's song, Dewey explained for those unfamiliar with the group that they have been friends, went to high school together, and graduated in 1969. They have been performing ever since and celebrated 25 years together last year. Dewey continued to say Gerry has been doing America's love songs and ballads for the last two decades. With that introduction, Gerry went into "I Need You".
Gerry finished and repeated that they had a lot of songs to do, replaying songs all the way back to the first release. I thought I understood him to say they were going to perform "literally all of that" first LP, along with songs from all of their 18 or 19 albums right up to their last one, Hourglass. (No, it didn't happen. That WAS too good to be true.) Then from Hourglass they did "Mirror To Mirror". Brad Palmer, the bassist from Lakewood, California, was introduced by Gerry.Brad was also said to be celebrating a birthday today. But today, the gift giving was from Brad to the crowd as he sang the lead on Dan Peek's classic, "Lonely People." As I've heard before, Brad does fill in for Dan's vocals nicely. Gerry played the harmonica parts, and the saloon style piano solo.
"Lets Give It Another Try" was sang by Gerry. Sorry, I don't know the release and I'm not sure of the title either, but after the song Dewey said it was from 1974. Maybe from the Holiday LP? Dewey then sang lead on "Three Roses" and "Tin Man". The percussion (bongos?) used on the America CD in "Three Roses" were used live with excellent results.
Gerry sang "The Last Unicorn" which, he explained, they did on an animated motion picture a few years ago. He introduced "Woman Tonight" as a song from "America History - America's Greatest Hits" otherwise known as "I Forgot They Did That Song." The crowd laughed.
What is that beat or rhythm called in "Woman Tonight"? Who knows? But when it was first released on their Hearts LP in '75, I used to wonder how they got all the musicians in synch; even how they could have possibly written it? It is one of America's most unique songs. Its a fun song and everyone knew their parts. Brad did the bass, Dewey on his Fender Telecaster, and Gerry on the keyboards. Was that Mike Woods helping Gerry on lead vocals on the opposite side of the stage?
Gerry, still at keyboard, as usual, went into a brisk version of "Only In Your Heart." The rousing guitar lead was performed by someone they referred to as "Woodsey". Mike Woods, who they said was California, as they all are. That was the intro to "California Revisited" from Homecoming.
Brad led vocals on another of Dan's songs, "Don't Cross The River." Dewey, on electric guitar and lead vocals, followed with Hat Trick's "Green Monkey." Willie Leacox, the drummer, was introduced as the 24 year veteran of the band and was jokingly referred to by Gerry as one "who can't get a real job."
Gerry sang "You Can Do Magic." Then Dewey dedicated that song to their sound board operator because he had flown in from their previous night's performance in Mississippi and got everything ready to go in time for their 3pm concert. Well, the audience can't forget that poor man on his hands and knees atop the PA speakers wrestling with the tarp that the wind gust had blown down. The show must go on!
"Sandman," was Dewey's last, then Gerry finished the show with a rocking version of "Sister Golden Hair". But, the crowd begged for more, and the rain had not come, so we were rewarded with Dewey doing an excellent cover of "California Dreaming." With no introduction needed, they went straight into the single that had started it all, "Horse With No Name." About 80 minutes after it had begun, it was over.
It was a great show. Gerry and Dewey don't bear any signs of the mileage from touring. They both look great. They're slender, clean cut, professional, friendly, and mostly, entertaining. They performed with excitement and today, the crowd in Richardson, Texas, loved it.
"Captain America and Sweet Melissa"
Nashville, Tennessean, May 18, 1975
"If America makes any mistake in their concerts, it's only like the juggler who makes balancing six plates look easy.
The inclination is to lean back in the chair and be comfortable in the swell of that smooth and deceptive Springfield harmony. Fortunately, the audience at Wednesday's Municipal Auditorium didn't lay back. Unfortunately, the America concert was caught up in the glut of coming attractions and the hall was only half-full.
In five years, America has floated a steady stream of singles to the top of the charts, from the early "A Horse With No Name," which was nearly hobbled because so many radio listeners thought it was by Neil Young, up through "I Need You," "Ventura Highway," "Muskrat Love," "Tin Man," "Lonely People" and so on.
Their very success on the charts might have weakened their impact as a live group by turning a concert into a package of "greatest hits" but in their first Nashville booking, America proved strong enough to control the music instead of being overshadowed by it.
To forestall "Ask Showcase" questions, America is English, but only geographically. Dan Peek, Dewey Bunnell, and Gerry Beckley are all sons of U.S. military personnel who were stationed in Britain. They became friends at London Central High school...Dan spent a year in the States, but returned in 1970 and America was formed.
...In general, America has learned what group like the Byrds occasionally forgot: how to hold three individual talents in tandem to work together at full power without either constraining one another or splintering in three directions.
Their voices blend well, their harmony full and exact and never Association sweet. Their material is blended too, a mixture of the fanciful ("Horse," "Tin Man") and the more straightforward ("Sister Golden Hair").
The only bad thing about America coming on Wednesday was that their concert tread on the heels of Melissa Manchester's brief two-night booking..."
"Hope" cd Information
As many of you are aware, the Gerry Beckley song "Hope" from the "Hourglass" cd has been recorded by a group of country stars. A benefit for the T.J. Martell foundation, the cd features various country artists. Please contact me if you are interested in the specifics (who is on the cd, etc.) Thanks!
"Holiday" cd Information
I have been getting numerous requests for information about the "Holiday" cd. This is what I have: It was issued by Warner Brothers, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505-4694, and is catalog number 7599-27501-2 WE 835.
Congratulations to Lillian Lee who correctly identified the lyrics to "Riverside" which are played in concert but are not on the recording! They are: I won't take you anywhere you don't want to go. I won't tell you anything you don't want to know.
No one had any ideas about the voice in the background on "Horse", so we'll keep working on that one.
Here's a new one for you: For what famous band/person did Brad Palmer (America's bass player) play for before joining America?
Also, here's one from JoeShow which has already appeared in the aol folder: For which rock star did Gerry and Dewey write some songs and sing back up for? (Hint: Think seventies!)
This and That (Submissions by Readers)
A while back we featured "Should Have Been Singles"....Here's John Corbett's selections:
"Everyone I Meet Is From California" The original Dan Peek version of this song on the "A Horse With No Name" single ought to have been released on its own right. This song was as catchy as anything on the "America" album (and it's a dandy song on car trips!)
"Submarine Ladies" This may be one of the most under-rated America songs yet. Henry Diltz is a wizard both behind the camera and on the banjo! I don't know how Gerry held that note so cleanly near the end of the song as long as he did, but if I tried that, I'd probably wind up in the hospital...
"Seasons" After "Sister Golden Hair" and "Daisy Jane," this is the most pleasing track off "Hearts" (sorry all you "Woman Tonight" fans). If it were feasible to drag an orchestra around on tour, this song would fit nicely into Dewey and Gerry's show.
"Slow Down" Why "Harbor" never did have any hit tracks, I don't know, but this Peek track is "groovy" nonetheless. The opening keyboards were catchy enough to land a place on my answering machine message (I'm getting more calls than ever!)
"And Forever" I think someone mentioned this song in an earlier "Should-Have-Been" list, but what the heck -- it deserves another vote.
"Catch That Train" The forerunner to "Hourglass's" "Sleeper Train," this "Alibi" track is one of my favorites. Of course, the whole album is fantastic, and any other given track, like "Right Back To Me," "You Could've Been The One," or "Coastline," could have "been the one," too.
"Inspector Mills" I'm glad this song was part of the recent King Biscuit release, because I've always thought this "View From the Ground" track was a classic. The same goes for "Never Be Lonely."
"She's A Runaway" This song had possibly the best orchestral arrangment in America's post-Martin period.
"My Kinda Woman" Another treat from the "Your Move" album.
"We Got All Night" So many of tracks from the nearly-forgotten (shame) "Perspective" album are great that, like "Alibi" (OK, like ANY America album), it's hard to decide which is the best "Should-Have-Been" track!
"Lady With A Bluebird" This song should be on America's playlist!
"Fifth Avenue" A Beckley Masterpiece!
"See How the Love Goes" Hey, if it worked for the Pointer Sisters...
"Nothing's So Far Away (As Yesterday)" and "On Target" Two hot songs off the "Encore" cd.
"Young Moon," "Hope," "Whole Wide World" Neat should-have beens from "Hourglass!
"Van Go Gan" If Gerry's going to have a solo hit, this song could do the trick!
New America-related Homepage
Steve Lowry, a huge America fan, has put together another web site of interest to the rest of us! It's an America fan page, and features information about other fans. Steve calls it "America Fans Across America," and he wants to ad information about YOU! Send Steve your mini biographical sketch along with your favorite picture and he'll incorporate them into the page.
You can contact Steve at email@example.com.
Check out the page at this address:
Please contact LOANMAN38@aol.com if you can provide copies of either the Howard Stern interview with America or America's appearance on the Regis and Kathie Lee show about two years ago. (I'm interested in getting copies of those also, so drop me a line too at firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks!
Last Revised: 6 January 1998