Miscellaneous Information Archive

Archives: Summer 1996 Tour Reviews

Lake Tahoe
July 5th and 6th

America shined "twice as bright" again with two fabulous performances at Tahoe Fri and Sat. at the Horizon.

But it didn't start out easy, for the guys had some bus problems getting up the long and steep hills going into Tahoe. Fortunately, Barb and Gary were right there, and helped out........at least getting Gerry to Tahoe!

Gerry's first comment was, "hope you're not listening to that AMERICA music!!!" (tongue in cheek) Of course they were......to Van Go Gan in fact.

It was great seeing my very special friends Barb and Gary and Kelly and Steve again. My wife Mary was able to make these concerts too, which made them even more enjoyable. (our 24th anniversary present to each other)

The Horizon was sold out both nights, with crowds forming two hours before the concerts.

Each night had a different play list, which was a huge hit to everyone in attendance.......especially for both nights. The crowds cherished each song, and were really into the show........with America right on the mark.......as always.........consumate professionals.

The guys dedicated "You Can Do Magic" to a very special family friend of the Bunnells......Jessica Davis......who made the Olympic gymnastics team. We'll all be cheering for her soon, and wish her the best of luck.

Gerry announced that Hourglass won't be "their latest album" much longer because they're planning to hit the recording studios "at the end of the summer." Gerry explained that the "end of the summer" for America is actually November, and we can all appreciate this greatly after examining the exhaustive Summer/Fall 96 tour schedule.

We all missed the practice session on Saturday due to trips to nearby Virginia City and the Ponderosa Ranch, and we found out the guys were practicing my all time fav song, Survival.......along with The Border, and Never Be Lonely.

Another highlight of the shows was the stage chandeliers that were there exclusively for John Tesh's upcoming performance............but were used first by America!!!! That's the way it goes John...........because a SUPERGROUP that's been around for 26 years has privileges.

Since it was the 4th of July, the stage also had two huge American flags that served as backdrops, but these were different than any we had ever seen before. Each flag had two strobe lights!!

Also, we learned that America added a hot and extremely talented new band member while in France recently........a guy the French call "Michelle DuBois".............sometimes known as Michael Woods, or Wood-z. Rumor has it that he will become a permanent fixture.

But what really made these concerts special was the fact that Gerry's and Dewey's families were able to attend, with Dewey's lovely daughter Lauren helping the guys sing "Horse," and Dylan insisting that Green Monkey be added to the play list Sat. night......which was a huge hit with the crowd. (Everyone noticed how much better the guys looked standing next to Lauren by the way.)

Rick wahlgren@pacificrim.net


A big hello to everyone!! I've missed you all!!

Except for a brief one-day stop at home, I've been on the road since August 22. I had
such a wonderful time during my travels, but it sure feels good to be sleeping in my own
bed again!! I'll try to recap some of the momentous events of the past week and a half.

August 22 Houston, TX

I had been forewarned about the oppressive heat and humidity in Houston, so I was
somewhat apprehensive about the weather. Although it was raining lightly when our plane
touched down in Houston, this turned out to be a blessing. The cloud cover kept things
tolerable..........very warm but not stifling.

The Woodlands Pavilion was situated in a beautiful development called The Woodlands.
The area is green and abundantly wooded with a very rural feel, but nestled in the trees are
schools, houses, a mall, a golf course, a resort hotel, etc. The Woodlands Pavilion was an
outdoor venue, and although the skies looked a little threatening, the weather was perfect
for the show.

Needless to say, the concert was awesome!! The opening number was "Tin Man" with the
symphony leading the way. The guys were deep in concentration as they awaited their
musical cue, and their entrance was flawless. Several favorite songs followed, each
enriched by the orchestral accompaniment. The symphony took a mid-set breather as
America played several songs solo but rejoined the band for the remainder of the show.
A highlight was "The Last Unicorn" which was truly magnificent with all of the added
strings. The symphonic version of "Horse" included a lively introduction. All in all, the
promise of a very special evening with America and the Houston Symphony was elegantly
fulfilled. Kudos go to Jose who worked with Gerry on the arrangements and conducted
the symphony.

August 25 Hershey, PA

Ahhhhhhhh..........I had almost forgotten just how gorgeous my birth state is. The green
fields, trees and wide open spaces were just as I remembered and the antithesis of the
brown hills and hustle and bustle of Southern California.

America played two shows at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre where they were
enthusiastically received by the capacity crowds. A grand time was had by all as they sang
and swayed to their favorite tunes..........most definitely "feel good" shows. "Never Be
Lonely," which is much more lush in concert than on the CD, has been an excellent
addition to this year's playlist. There were many veteran concert goers in attendance
(some of whom had waited in line for more than five hours......what dedication!), and I
had the pleasure of getting acquainted with some of the fine online folks. It was great to
meet Joe, Don, and Chris and Jennifer (aka "The Jersey Girls"). All too soon it was off to

August 27 Cleveland, OH

Cleveland is a fun city located on the shore of Lake Erie. There are lots of things to see
and do, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The waterfront area (called "The
Flats") offers visitors an array of night life activities.

America's concert at Shooters (that's Shooters with an "S", not "Hooters") was a unique
experience. The guys played outside on a deck right along the water. In fact, at one
point, a huge ship seemed to be headed right for the stage before it maneuvered the turn
down the channel.

The moon was bright orange and full, providing a festive backdrop for the evening's
festivities. Although the setting was beautiful, it appeared that many of the people in
attendance were more interested in meeting one another than in appreciating the
harmonious sounds of one of the world's best bands. Those who came for the music were
not disappointed, however, as America played from their hearts and gave it their all.

Back to the Keystone State for the Grange Fair.........another unique experience. Scores
of people actually live at this fair during its 10-day run. Upon our arrival at the fairgrounds,
we were greeted by a fortress of motorhomes. Beyond the campers was a community
of tents which were a sight to behold. Many of the tents were furnished with beds, sofas,
dining room sets, microwave ovens, TVs, etc., and some were even decorated with
Christmas lights. Ownership of the tents is apparently passed on from generation to
generation. I had never seen anything like it!

America took the stage for two shows at the fair and wowed the crowds with their
musical selections. America's universal appeal was obvious as people of all ages
expressed their enjoyment of the songs. A couple of toddlers caught the eyes of
Gerry and Dewey as they danced in front of the stage, and an older lady in front
clapped and sang during the entire show.

We toured the fair inbetween shows, and Kelly and I each won a goldfish in the
ping-pong ball toss. We also had the pleasure of meeting "onliner" Gary and his
friend, Drew, at this show.

September 1
Laughlin, NV

Gary and I attended two concerts on night one of four nights at the Ramada Express.
Both shows were well attended, and the audiences were primed for a good time. Each
song brought hoots and hollers of approval from the boisterous crowd. The audience's
appreciation of America's music was evident as they clapped and sang along.
The playlists were almost identical for the two shows and included many of the standards
such as "Riverside", "Ventura Highway", "Tin Man", "You Can Do Magic", "Daisy Jane",
"I Need You", "Lonely People", "Don't Cross the River", "Sandman", and "Sister Golden
Hair". The "unplugged" acoustic "Three Roses" was a crowd pleaser as well. "Mirror to
Mirror" brought the musical journey from past to present. The first set featured "The Last
Unicorn" which Gerry dedicated to his son, Joe, who was in the audience, while "Another
Try" replaced "Unicorn" in the second set.

All of the band and crew members showered us with their warmth, kindness and concern.
Thank you so much, guys!! I love you all!!

Ger & Dew, I hope you'll have a chance to read this when you're home next week. Thank
you from the bottom of my heart for EVERYTHING!!!! I love you both very much!!!!

So it was with many mixed emotions that I returned home. It was sad to say good-bye to
everyone for awhile, but I find joy in recalling the cherished memories of my fabulous

Barb Vtahwy@aol.com

Vancouver, Washington
Clark County Fair August 2nd, 1996

Here it is......the Clark County Fair (Vancouver, Wa.) review.

Mary and I drove down to Vancouver from up near Vancouver, Canada, which takes about 5 hours.......especially going through congested Seattle and Tacoma.

The fairgrounds is just a 20 minute trip north from the Portland Airport, which the guys really appreciated because they had to get right back to the hotel after the concert, get some well deserved shut eye, and catch a 6 :30 am flight to Kentucky!

We were really excited that America was coming to our home state, and wanted to make sure we were there to welcome them to the Pacific Northwest, where they will always have special friends.....and hopefully always feel welcome.

But something was really missing when we got there...........................
Where were our good buds......Sue, Kelly, Steve, Barb, Gary? We knew they were there with us in spirit at least, but we really missed their special company.......a lot.

We got to the fairgrounds and went immediately to the grandstands and grabbed seats in the front row..................(Kelly would've been proud).

Sitting next to me was a lady that had "America" painted on her face, and was ready for some serious rockin' and rollin' It was obvious that she had a great affection for America.

And then there was the young gal with the florescent pink hair with a History album cover, hoping to get an autograph or two. She kept a whole section lively all night.

I know what all of you are thinking weather wise.....................it was probably raining since it was in the PNW. Wrong...............it *stopped raining* a couple hours before the concert (this was the first day it rained in two weeks though believe it or not)

And what was this at our feet? No........it wasn't the plush carpets of the Flamingo Hilton..........it was..........well.............the good earth.
On a nearby stage, a Beatle's wannabe group ably performed several Beatle's songs, and I had to wonder if they realized that America was produced by George Martin, the "Sixth Beatle" when they were probably in diapers.

The concert began at about 8pm with a couple presentations by the Clark County Fair officials for volunteer service, followed by a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by an 11 yr. old Vancouver girl which received much acclaim.

Then..............the magic moment..............the guys came on stage to a wildly cheering audience of around 2000. Gerry wore his jacket and Wood-z wore a flannel shirt because it was downright cold with sunset approaching and a brisk wind coming off the ocean.

I know it had to be somewhat uncomfortable for the guys......not only due to the cold, but also due to a killer schedule that would wear anyone out. But their incredible professionalism took over and nobody could've guessed.......and everyone enjoyed the concert immensely.

What was really special is that America was the only group performing, and the guys were (as always) very generous to play their long set, even though this was their 16th concert in 11 days!!!!
(Sault St. Marie were two per day marathons). Voices were pushed to the limits.

A couple special events..............

Dewey and Gerry were facing a beautiful Washington sunset (clouds and all), and commented that they could see the sunset, and we just had their "ugly mugs" to see. (ya right.........and remember it was just recently mentioned online that Dewey and Gerry had a lot in common with Dick Clark's youthful attributes!!)

Gerry also mentioned that the guys were planning to hit the recording studio after the summer tour schedule ends, and produce a new CD. This received one of the biggest applauses of the night.

They both enjoyed watching a ride at the fair called the Ejection Seat, which was a lighted chair attached to a Bungee cord. Gerry said that Dewey would try it out after the concert, and invited everyone to watch.

The crowd especially enjoyed Mirror to Mirror, Young Moon, and Hope from Hourglass, and sang along with all the golden oldies.

But my favorite moment.............and all of you online fanatics will appreciate this greatly............was Gerry's comment after finishing the Momma's and Poppa's California Dreamin' He said kiddingly "and now a song by another great group..............us."

I couldn't agree more...........and it couldn't be said any better.

The encore was very special...........the guys dedicated "Horse With No Name" to Mary, which made her day!

After the concert, Mary and I had a chance to go backstage and see the guys before they had to hustle back to the hotel because the 5am wake up call and flight to Kentucky was just a few short hours away.

The whirlwind was over...........now America was on to their 17th concert in 12 days..........clear across country..........AGAIN (a Forest Gump "again")

But the memories of Vancouver will last a lifetime ........ and the PNW will hopefully see America back very soon.


Riverside, Ventura Highway, You Can Do Magic, Don't Cross the River, Daisy Jane, Mirror to Mirror, Three Roses, I Need You, Tin Man, Woman Tonight, Young Moon, Hope, Only in Your Heart, California Dreamin', Lonely People, Green Monkey, Never Be Lonely, Sandman, Sister Golden Hair, California Revisited, Horse With No Name

Rick wahlgren@pacificrim.net

Last Revised: 9 January 1998