Newsletter Archive

Archives: Summer 1997


Summer 1997 Edition

The America Express Newsletter is published by Rick Wahlgren and Barbara Bickmore to help America fans keep in touch with America




















Here's questions 6-10 from Alan Rowan. (1-5 were in the last edition) Be prepared to be humbled! Answers are at the end of the newsletter. Good're going to need it!!

Q.6 Name the two songs America recorded on their Warner Bros albums not written by them.

Q.7 On which John Martyn album does his own version of HEART AND HEART appear?

Q.8 Name the Arlo Guthrie song often performed LIVE by America in the early years

Q.9 Gerry appeared in a Jeff Beck video for which song?

Q.10 Dewey appeared in a Steve Perry video for which song?

These questions make us appreciate those who write in and ask questions like......what's the name of that "aint it foggy outside" song by America????? Can you guess this one??


Great News! : )

America has announced a return to the studio this fall for a new CD! They will be working with legendary Steely Dan producer, Gary Katz. That's all the info we have for now......but that's plenty.......knowing a new CD is just around the corner.


Not So Great News! : (

It looks like One Way's release of the Capitol material on CD has been pushed back to late 1997 or early 1988. A summer release was previously anticipated. BUT, it's going to happen, so hang in there. Hopefully this will be in time for Christmas, so Santa can bring you something really special!!!


With summer fast approaching, things are heating up on the concert forefront.

America's 1997-1998 concert tour is well underway, and early reports indicate that America continues to be in top form. Check out the following schedule and catch a performance or two in your area or while vacationing. REMEMBER....THIS SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE......SO CHECK WITH LOCAL TICKETMASTER OR SOURCES. ALL VENUES/TIMES WE HAVE ARE POSTED.

6/1/97 City of Industry, CA The Hop 7:30 and 8:30

6/3/97 Victorville, CA. San Bernadino Co. Fair 7 & 9pm

6/6/97 Redondo, CA Club Caprice

6/7/97 Coto de Caza, CA Racket Club

6/14/97 Las Vegas, NV Texas Boulder Station 8 & 11 pm

6/15/97 Stockton, CA San Joaquin Co. Fair 7 &9 pm

6/19/97 Clarkston, MI Pine Knob 7:30pm

6/21/97 Ocean City, NJ "Families First Festival" 8pm

6/22/97 Uncasville, CT. The Wolf Den...Mohegan Sun Casino 2 shows

6/26/97 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest Noon & 6 pm

6/27/97 Omaha, NB. Memorial Park

6/28/97 Flora, IL Charlie Brown Park 9 pm

6/29/97 Muskegon, MI Summer Celebration 8:30 pm

6/30/97 Louisville, KY Palace Theatre 8 PM

7/2/97 Richmond, VA. Innsbrook Pavilion

7/03/97 Ocean City, MD. Inlet Beach 7 pm

7/04/97 Newport News, VA. Virginia Beach Superblock Party 8:30pm

7/5/97 Naperville, IL Rib Fest 8 pm

7/6/97 Clinton, IA Riverview Park fair 8 pm

7/11/97 Walker, MN. Moon Dance Ranch Jam Festival

7/18/97 Oahu, HI Bayfest '97

7/19/97 Oahu, HI Bayfest '97

7/25/97 Costa Mesa, CA. Orange County Fair 7 and 9 pm

7/31/97 St. Louis, MO Union Station 8pm

8/1/97 Wichita, KS Cortillion Ball Room 10:15pm

8/2/97 Arnolds Park, IA Roof Garden Ballroom

8/6/97 Paso Robles, CA. Mid State Fair 6 and 8:30pm

8/8/97 Napa, CA Napa Town and Country Fairgrounds 8 and 10 pm

8/15/97 San Mateo, CA San Mateo Co. Fair 5 & 7 pm

8/16/97 Boston, MA City Hall Plaza 7pm

8/19/97 Westbury, NY Westbury Music Fair 8 pm with Air Supply

8/20/97 Rye, NY Playland Amusement Park

8/22/97 Kettering, OH Delco Park 8:30 pm

8/23/97 Elgin, IL. Hemens Theatre

8/24/97 Baltimore, MD. Pier Six Concert Pavilion 8pm

8/26/97 North Tonawanda, NY Melody Fair 8pm

8/27/97 Latham, NY Starlite Music Theatre 8pm

8/30/97 Gilford, NH

8/31/97 Virginia Beach, Virginia Oceanfront 9pm

9/4/97-9/17/97 Sparks, NV 16 shows total (including 2 shows on Sat. 9/6 and 2 shows on Sat. 9/13)

9/21/97 Yakima, WA. Washington Fair 3pm

9/27/97 Baltimore, MD Loyola College

10/3/97 San Diego, CA Humphrey's


Here's some info about the BLW Project since there have been many recent inquiries:

Gerry Beckley, Robert Lamm and Carl Wilson joined forces on "Without Her" on the "For The Love of Harry, Everybody Sings Nilsson" CD released in 95.

Gerry, Robert and Carl have also worked together "as time allows" on their own CD. So no clues as to when this particular CD might be released.


We are still smiling about this post on America's one of the best! Every America fan can appreciate this one. :)

Subj: Rocking at Home Depot Date: Mon,10 Mar 97 From:

I understand you've been runnin' from the ( Electrical please pick-up line 3 for customer assistance). Why must they page over Sandman? Sunday morning at the hardware store, and I was picturing Dewey as I had seen him play for the first time in concert 22 years ago. Suddenly, with out warning, the mental picture of an outdoor America concert in late spring of 1975 was shattered by the din of a rapid fire series of pages. It was though every department was being paged in sequence so that just bits and pieces of the song would slip through the noise. We ain't had no time to drink that ( plumbing please dial the operator). Yes midlifers "the years gone by fast." Rockhardware


Tery Holly on AOL asked everyone to list their Top 10 choice of America songs. After much fumbling and indecisiveness and waffling back and forth.......everyone came up with a list......and here's some of the results. Thank you Teri for the great idea and info!!!

Subj: The 1st List Tabulation!!! Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 10:30:28 EST From:

Hi all! Welcome to the first Tabulation of our lists!!! We have had 20 submissions so far, with some very interesting results. I had to narrow the list down to 8, because of a drastic drop off between popularity of songs. OK. Here is our Folder's Top 8 (so far). These ARE in particular order.

1. Three Roses---------with 8 votes 2. Sister Golden Hair---with 7 votes 3. Young Moon----------with 7 votes 4. Old Man Took---------with 7 votes 5. Riverside------------with 6 votes 6. Here ----------------with 6 votes 7. Ventura Highway------with 6 votes 8. Daisy Jane------------with 6 votes.

There were a total of 81 songs nominated as favorites--these 8 were the most popular. The men had CLEAR cut favorites. Here and Three Roses were on MOST of their lists. The women had NO clear cut favorites, they seemed to run the gamut. There have been 8 female lists and 12 male lists. I will constantly be updating this as new lists come in.


Watch the America Home Page, because America t-shirts and caps will be on sale soon!!! If you haven't seen the new ones for the 97 tour, you're in for a treat!


A Collector's Item!

Taylor Guitars is now producing & selling, through authorized Taylor retailers - the GERRY BECKLEY signature guitar.

The specs for all you acoustic guitarists: Similiar to Model 614 w/o cut-away Maple back & sides, spruce top, pre-amp optional Grand auditorium size (in-between dreadnought & concert size) Inlays too w/GERRY BECKLEY on fret board. Available for about $2000.00 (yes.....the decimal point is in the right place!)

Same as the one Gerry currently uses on stage, however w/the natural top color instead of the dark.


Really appreciated this message.........because this idea is long overdue and well deserved............

From: Date: Tue, 27 May 1997

I hope America makes it up to Cleveland Soon. The last time I saw them here was about 8 years or so ago at the Front Row Theater. They have many fans up this way!! Hope the weather is better where you are! (I have no doubt it is) Cleveland seems more like England most of the time! I am a founding member of the "Rock and Roll Hall of fame & Museum" I am going to talk to some people about nominating America for their contributions and influence in popular music not to mention their "place in history"

Sincerely, Dale


Several new additions have been made to the America home page. Hope all of you have seen the galloping unamed horse ......and the other animation. Also, make sure you visit Planet America (assuming you are cool enough), see the pics from the America/Vancouver Symphony Concert, check out Dan Peek and Peace's new home page, and watch for the new t-shirts for sale. Most importantly, sign the guestbook!!! Gerry and Dewey and all the guys have enjoyed reading the messages!!

The America Home Page recently received this award from Legacy:

"Congratulations! Your Web site has been recognized as one of the best Rock & Roll sites on the Web. As such, it has been awarded the Legacy Choice Award For Excellence"

You can go directly from the America home page to the Legacy Site, and vote for America by the way as the best group!!

Ike Gauley has added some great new pics to his page, and Steve Lowry has added an "America in Concert Museum" page to his America Fans home page which is very impressive (/america/mus.htm)

There are direct links to all from the America page.


Here are a few samples from the America guestbook from the home page. If you haven't signed it yet, make sure you do, and have fun reading all the entries!

Name: Leah P. Salyers Website: Any AMERCA page is my page! Referred by: Just Surfed On In! From: Logan, West Virginia Time: 1997-05-27 05:27:00 Comments: Gerry & Dewey: I have been a fan from the begining and will be till the end! Your music inspires, comforts, entertains, & has created a netowrk of fans and friends arounnd the world. Rick: Your talent and devotion to this music and this newtork of people, binds us together and keeps us strong. In tandem, you make a positve impact on the lives the people you touch....what greater gift exists???

Name: Emily Lucas Website: Referred by: Just Surfed On In! From: Lubbock, TX and Allentown,PA Time: 1997-05-21 03:28:00 Comments: America kicks ass!!! I have been listening to their music since I was a wee stepmother just recently gave me all their albums on record, so ha-ha on all of you CD babies!

Name: Shelly Bray Website: Referred by: Just Surfed On In! From: Texas Time: 1997-05-19 17:37:00 Comments: "America" is one of the few truly talented groups in the music business ever. Thanks for the hard work, we have spent countless hours over many years enjoying your music. Thank you.

Name: Danelle Deinema Website: Referred by: Advertisment/Brochure From: Riverside,Ca. Time: 1997-05-19 05:25:00 Comments: Just saw you today in Temecula. Haven't seen you in several years.

You sounded GREAT! Started going when I was 13 & i've seen you 20 or more times. Even flew to Tahoe many years ago. Very much enjoyed today & I am glad you have a site so I can keep up with you. I am and always will be a major fan! Danelle

Name: Cathy McAleer Website: Cathy McAleer's Homepage Referred by: Word of Mouth From: Taos, New Mexico Time: 1997-05-18 05:29:00 Comments: I have loved America since I was 12, climbing a tree, singing "Ventura Highway" while I jumped into a pile of autumn leaves. They are and will always be the most memorable of bands, and a band that always brings me the best of memories for every season.

Name: Charlotte Website: Referred by: Just Surfed On In! From: San Antonio, Texas Time: 1997-05-13 05:27:00 Comments: Love your website -- too cool!


From the Soft Rock KAFE..........Bellingham, Washington

KAFE radio played a series of America songs in succession, to advertise the BIG concert in Vancouver BC on Cinco de Mayo with America and the Vancouver Symphony!!

The VSO said that tickets are selling fast, and they are excited about playing with America.

Best part was the end of the America segment, when the DJ announced that, "Spring, sunshine, and doesn't get any better!!!" (Except maybe Summer, sunshine, and AMERICA maybe??)


Many of you sent in some great memories of time to catch up on your "America History" lessons............

From: <> Subject: America Experience Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997

Dear Rick: Just thought I would share with you my experience in case you might want to share it with your Newsletter Readers. Twenty-five years ago when I was 13 years old, I had the opportunity to see America in concert in Shreveport, Louisiana. At that time, concerts in Shreveport where few and far between and we jumped at any opportunity to see anyone who came to town. America was new on the charts and we still confused Dewey's song " A Horse with No Name" with Neil Young. As young girls, we all had crushes on various performers and many of my friends were in love with Donny Osmond and Bobby Sherman types. I am proud to say I was not. However, I remember watching America perform through the binoculars and falling in love with Gerry Beckley during the performance of "I Need You." From that point on, I bought up everything I could get my hands on concerning America, searched Rolling Stone issue after issue for information, and checked the TV guide for any Television appearances. If my memory serves me right, I believe I caught them performing on Ed Sullivan at some point. In addition, I used to sketch portraits and sketched my fair share of America. Years passed and I got older and my musical interest continued to grow from soft rock artist to classical and jazz and a whole variety of music. Nevertheless, I still held a fondness for America as a positive force during my teen years, Last summer, I was invited to a British Airways Dinner in Dallas by a co-worker of mine. I am the Facilities Manager of my company but also handle the travel agency relationship. I don't usually go to those types of things very often but when I was told the entertainment was America, I jumped at the opportunity. My friend was surprised and I told her the history behind my love for America. The day of the dinner, my friend called me and informed me there were possible photo opportunities and I was on the list!! I had hot flashes!! Who would ever dream they would have the chance to meet an idol? Never in a million years. Needless to say, after the dinner we were escorted back to a private room at the Anatole in Dallas and I was introduced to Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell. I have to say I truly did not know what to expect but they were just as nice and friendly as anyone could ever hope and yes, I got pictures!!! After their performance, which was great as ever, we got to go back again and visit. It was truly a night I will never forget and a thrill of a lifetime. Gerry and Dewey looked great as ever and they still have the touch!! Since then, I have followed them through your newsletters and obtained my own copy of Van Go Gan which I did not know existed before. Gerry and Dewey I hope to see you in Texas again soon and Thanks for being so gracious --- it is never too late for a little girl's dream to come true. Thanks for the updates Rick! Sincerely, Ginger Hoolan Dallas, Texas


Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 15:11:26 -0400 From: Jim Matulevich <>

On February 23, 1973, I attended an America concert at the University of Maryland with my girlfriend. I believe it was part America's first major tour of the U.S. and around the time the album "Homecoming" was released.

We waited outside in the February cold for what seemed like a very long time, but the doors were finally opened and about one thousand students poured into Ritchie Coliseum. Ritchie, is an old and relatively small gymnasium-like building. There were no chairs and everyone had to sit on the floor. A quick wind-sprint to the stage was good enough to win us a spot in the first row and the concert began.

John David Souther, opened for America that night. I had never heard of him, but I immediately liked his music. For those that might not know, Souther eventually became fairly well known during the 70's due to his song-writing work with the Eagles and his own group - The Souther, Hillman, Furay Band.

After, a handful of Souther's songs, America's portion of the concert kicked-off with "Riverside"; just as they do today. As I recall, it continued with every track on the first album. Along the way, a few new ones from "Homecoming" like Cornwall Blank, Ventura Highway, and Head and Heart were sprinkled in as well. After 3 encores, the last one with Souther, it was over and I was sure I had just witnessed the finest concert ever performed!

The following week, a review of the February 23, concert appeared in the University of Maryland's student newspaper - the "Diamondback". The author wasn't as impressed as I was with the performance. In fact, the review was basically negative. He titled it, "America the not-so-beautiful" and he whined incessantly about things like: patched-jeans, ratty tennis shoes and ferns on the stage.

Despite the negative tone and a blatant misspelling of J. D. Souther's name, small portions of the review were actually complimentary and insightful. For instance, the author correctly predicted America's shift from the predominately acoustic sound of the first album to music that would feature more electric work. He also had the confidence to believe that the band would survive a few years into the future. He recommended to his readers that they should return to see America in two or three years - when they're all at least 21 years old!

For some unknown reason, I saved that review and for what it's worth, it is attached below for everyone's enjoyment. I also snapped several pictures of Dewey, Dan and Gerry with an cheap 110 camera during that concert 24 years ago. They didn't come out as good as I hoped, but they have helped preserve my memory of that special time. I hope the scans of my photos will do the same for someone else.

By the way, that "girlfriend" I mentioned will have been married to me for 19 years in July. We've almost been together as long as America!

America the not-so-beautiful

Patched jeans, spotty performance

PHOTO CAPTION " ... it seemed like America would rather be playing Frisbee someplace else."

It's the whole mystique. Tattered jeans, ratty tennis shoes, raggedy hair and an old T-shirt worn three days straight, all covering undisputed musical talent. And the whole business slinking on stage before thousands of panting fans.

That stereotypical image has become commonplace in folk-rock music nowadays, but nowhere is it more evident than inthe latest of the young-genius supergroups, America. The whole idea that, "I'm just one of you: I'm not an Air Force brat overflowing with musical talent that made a super-selling album in England about America."

Their performance at Ritchie Coliseum last Thursday was well-timed and well-planned, but on a personal level the group has a hard time filling,in the blanks making the difference between a good performance and a good show.

After a Sebastianish set of tunes by lead-on man John David Sounder, America s auntered up, guitars already on, dashed off a quick hello and moved right in to "Riverside," the first cut on their first album, and every concert since they started their tour about a month ago.

The songs are of course fine enough and were done closely enough to the recordings to preclude, an indepth exploration here. America are (or is, or something), however, a very good continuation of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young revival of the Buffalo Springfield that has found such a place in American music in the past two or three years.

Their acoustic set was predictable and the playing loose enough to be enoyable, but at times it seemed like America would rather be playing Frisbee somewhere else. Conversation and audience contact between the group was forced and dry - their act needs a bit of polishing.

Such things as getting in tune between songs brought not a lull between numbers but an uneasy silence.

Further, their back-up men were oftem more animated and inexcusably hyperective - than the group. Bassist Dave Caty did a good job of jumping up and down, wincing at high riffs, smiling at the group members and obviously throwing himself into his playing. He's not a bad bass player, either. Drummer Dave Atwood did his best to shatter soft songs like "I Need You" and "Horse With No Name" with incessant and merciless banging on his miked-to- the-hilt trap set.

The whole thing came much more together during the electric set - which is probably, from the look of sheer happiness on the band's part ; the direction their further work will be going. Away from "Ventura Highway" and over to "Cornwall Blank" and "Sandman". But no loss. Both are equally well-written. Anyway, Atwood's banging and Caty's acrobatics seemed a bit more in place during the electric numbers, and America seems to have more fun playing them.

The jamming, however, was very cautious and seldom got past the basic progressions. It seemed that while Gerry Beckley is the techncian of the group; he's also the least amenable to exploring new worlds in the middle of a song like "Sandman," so while Beckley was doing the ol' progression conventionally, Dan Peek was battling trailblazer Dewey Bunnell to keep the extended guitar work short and sweet. Too bad. If they had really let loose some quite exciting jamming could have taken place. Lord knows Atwood and Caty were up for it.

Three encores later one got the feeling that it was all much too contrived. For instance, the stage was strewn with planters, reminiscent of the back-cover photo of their first album that made them took like fugitives from an arboretum. Peek thanked everybody for the plants - not mentioning that their presence was in the group's contract. And, "We're supposed to thank Howard. president of ... well. . . you should know. . . " And so on.

But all in all it was a competent portrayal of the kind of music that sort of hangs together: guitar, vocals, lyrics and so forth, you should know. As for the polish, it might be well to see America again two or three years from now - when all of the members will at least be 21. Maybe then they'll wear jeans without patches.

--Chuck Petrowski, University of Maryland "Diamondback", March 2, 1973 --


From: (

My wife and I have probably seen America at least once a year with very few exceptions since 1980. Our favorite concert (maybe Gerry and Dewey might remember this one) was pre-"magic". I think it had to be 1981. Unfortunately, I haven't kept ticket stubs to help me document all those great memories. This one was at the old Painters Mill Theater in Owings Mills, Md. I believe they had just changed over bass players as well.

What made it unique was the 360 degree circular stage which rotated the whole concert. I've never seen any other concert in the round! The guys were in a light-hearted mood that night and seemed to really enjoy the experience. The opening act was a very tall acoustic guitarist named Mack ? (can't remember the last name). Probably the reason "Mack" stuck was when he came on, someone in the back hollered "Hey big Mack!"

Does anyone else remember being there? Painters Mill has long since closed, the site burned in a fire, razed and paved over with a BJ's Warehouse residing on the spot now. The only claim to fame for this area is that it is pretty close to where Luis Rukeyser and Wall Street Week are produced every Week.

I travel the highway beside the location several times a week but I can't pass the spot on Route 795 without getting warm America FUZZIES from the past. I hope to get to at least one concert this summer and to meet some of you there. ( ----------------

America was playing at the Blossom Music Center (same place were King Bisquet CD was recorded) on a summer night in late 70's. As they were playing, a storm was moving in (this is an outdoor venue with a covered pavillion). Lightning was flashing, and I couldn't believe that they were still playing (especially being literally wired!). Well, as the group was well into "Hollywood" A bolt struck REAL close (instant Thunder!), the lights and music went off, and some fans headed for exits. A couple of minutes went by and finally on or two of the band returned as the power came back on. It was Tom Walsh (former America percussionist) who began the xylophone solo part of Hollywood, which was about the point in the song they were at when the lightning hit. Gradually the other band members picked back up, and the song went on. It was great (nice light show, too)! (

From: (


Had the thrill of a lifetime about two years ago. I got to meet the guys before a show in Cleveland. Got to chatting with Gerry for awhile who later invited me to join the band on-stage for the Horse With No Name encore! Amazingly, this offer came despite knowing I don't play any instuments! But I'm a performer at heart and can do a great job of faking it. Fortunately, as I was coming on stage and given a guitar, the roadies were told about my shortcoming. My performance gave a new meaning to "unplugged." It was a blast! America, to me, is as big as The Beatles, The Eagles or any other supergroup of that time. And to be faking my way through their most popular song with them is simply something I'll never forget. If Gerry and Dewey do read these postings...thanks from, as Gerry described me, the tallest guy to ever "play" with America. (


From: Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 Subject: 1972 tour in philly at the spectrum

I'll never forget their first tour...the band played the spectrum in a dance concert, and the place was going the time csn were on one of their typical hiatus, and america filled the void ...the show featured basically the entire first record, and like the album they opened with riverside and closed with sandman...

i'd love to hear a well-recorded tape or cd from that first trip around!


Subj: Hi Beckley/Bunnell FansDate: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 From: RCar128

Hi everyone! Glad I found this service/feature of AOL. Thought I was the only person in the world who bought a copy of "Perspective." I was glad to find out there are a lot of America fans like me out there. Have been a fan since the mid-70's and never stopped buying their new albums. Most of my friends didn't realize there was any "new stuff." Now to brag/share.... Had the thrill of a lifetime about two years ago. I got to meet the guys before a show in Cleveland. Got to chatting with Gerry for awhile who later invited me to join the band on-stage for the Horse With No Name encore! Amazingly, this offer came despite knowing I don't play any instuments! But I'm a performer at heart and can do a great job of faking it. Fortunately, as I was coming on stage and given a guitar, the roadies were told about my shortcoming. My performance gave a new meaning to "unplugged." It was a blast! America, to me, is as big as The Beatles, The Eagles or any other supergroup of that time. And to be faking my way through their most popular song with them is simply something I'll never forget. If Gerry and Dewey do read these postings...thanks from, as Gerry described me, the tallest guy to ever "play" with America.

CONCERT REVIEWS couldn't make it to these concerts??? These reviews will take you right to front row center...............

March 1997 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Submitted by Luisa Kunning (

America did many concerts, in different cities, here in Brazil. And only two shows in Rio de Janeiro, the city where we live. I don't need to say that the concerts were wonderful !!

The concert, at the Metropolitan, the biggest show place in Rio, began at 23:00hs and the show time was about 1 hour 30 minutes. The place was crowded and everyone just seemed so happy to be there, including the guys (AMERICA) !! The concert was so great, and every song they sang was performed wonderfully. What can I say? They are simply the best....For me, personally, there was a big surprise: they sang three songs I'd never heard them playing before: NEVER BE LONELY, ALL MY LIFE and SERGEANT DARKNESS. It was really amazing !

AMERICA AND VANCOUVER SYMPHONY Vancouver, British Columbia May 5, 1997 by Rick Wahlgren ( *****see America Home Page for pics of America/VSO*****

Vancouver B.C. has the reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it certainly was for at least one memorable night (May 5, 1997) as America and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra combined their supreme talents for a marvelous performance.

The home of the VSO, the lavish Orpheum Theater in downtown Vancouver was the perfect site for the concert, with its impressive crystal chandeliers, plush red carpets and seats, ornate designs, and excellent acoustics.

The America/VSO concert proved once again the maxim that success breeds more success, and the world reknown VSO and approximately 70 members were united with one of the most illustrious and dynamic groups in rock and roll history. The end result was predictable.......a FIRST CLASS night thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by a packed theater.

This concert was a unique opportunity and challenge for America in the respect that they have only performed four live symphony concerts in 27 years, so this required some special preparation.

America enlisted one of the brilliant rising young stars in the music industry, Jose Herring, to orchestrate the songs and also to conduct the VSO. Jose is a recent graduate of the Juliard School of Music in New York and has worked musically with America before, and on other projects such as movie soundtracks. His professionalism and leadership abilities were very apparent as he took control of the VSO and quickly gained their respect and confidence.

On Monday afternoon, the day of the concert, America and VSO held a practice session at the Orpheum that set the tone for the main event. They practiced each America/VSO song on the playlist, and stopped repeatedly to get the timing and sound down to perfection. It was amazing to witness how quickly it all came together, and it was apparent this would be an astounding performance in the evening.

There was a certain healthy tension in the air during practice, as America, Jose, and the VSO were challenged as professionals to rise to the occasion and blend as one. It was also interesting to walk around the Orpheum, and listen to the practice from up front, mid-way back, and in the balcony, because it sounded a little different from each area. Up in front it was more America, and less strings, but in back, the sound blended together more.

The concert began at 8 pm, with Jose taking the stage and leading the VSO through two selections, and then America walked onstage and was greeted warmly. The VSO began playing Miniature, which is a lead for Tin Man, which was Americas first number. Deweys vocals were perfect, and the symphony added depth to this classic song.

Old Man Took was next, which also was given a new dimension with strings in the background, while Dewey's vocals were crisp and clear as ever. The dream concert began to take shape on these highly successful beginnings.

Some concert highlights that soon followed were.............................

HOPE: Appropriately, Gerrys Grammy nominated song Hope was the most powerfully enhanced song by string accompaniment on the playlist, and was a true favorite of the audience. There was no doubt why this song was honored by the Grammy committee, and the VSO helped place Hope in perfect context.

LAST UNICORN: In sparkling blue light........along with harps, bells, and strings and Gerrys rich vocals and piano, the Last Unicorn shined brightly as ever......stunning the audience.

SERGEANT DARKNESS: Strings added a new dimension to this compelling song by Gerry.

YOUNG MOON: Deweys hit from Hourglass, with a string introduction, was another big hit with the audience. The VSO helped bring out the best and brightest Young Moon, and proved quickly to the audience that, as the lyrics go, We are this moment.....shining twice as bright. This was obvious that America and the VSO were shining as brightly as any young moon.

AMERICA SOLO: America allowed their VSO buddies to relax and enjoy the show as they launched into a string of hits, including Woman Tonight and Riverside. It gave the audience a unique opportunity to contrast solo America with America and the VSO.

SANDMAN: Although not every symphony fan may have appreciated this, America turned up the volume and played their stirring rendition of Sandman, which soars higher and higher to new levels. This brought the audience quickly to their feet.

JOSE: Jose conducted the VSO with precision, making America and the VSO perform in synch and to perfection. He quickly won the crowd over with his bright smile and confident manner.

AMERICA'S PROFESSIONALISM: Although the symphony concert was a challenge to America and there was some initial nervousness at practice, America's professionalism took over, and Gerry and Dewey the guys performed with ease. Gerry and Dewey won the crowd over immediately with onstage comments and humor, and some America background info.

VANCOUVER SYMPHONY: The VSO performed impeccably all night with the quality and class that is expected of a world class symphony.

All too soon, it was time for Horse With No Name, which began with a beautiful horn introduction, and followed by a myriad of strings.

What was most impressive were the final series of thunderous standing ovations from the audience, which made it clear that America and the VSO truly won over the hearts of Vancouver.

On a personal note, this was a special night for my family and friends. My wife Mary and our children Carolyn, Kyle, and Carmen were able to attend, along with my Dad and Mom. It was my Dad that years ago said that he liked this new group America, and got me interested initially. This was my way of saying thanks to him........taking him to one of the classiest America concerts ever.

Many of my friends also attended. One of my best friends, who isn't particularly too fond of all music, had a great time, and said how much he enjoyed America. He even asked about the next concert in the Pacific Northwest. Now that was the ultimate compliment!!!!

Also, it was wonderful to have our very special friends from California, Kelly and Barb, up for the concerts. They really enjoyed Vancouver, and especially the opportunity to see America perform with the VSO.

*****note: there was no video/audio recording of this concert :(

May 9, 1997 and May 10, 1997 Las Vegas, NV and St. George, UT Submitted by Steve Lowry (

Day 1 I'm sitting in my room at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas just a couple of hours after America played for a private (Amoco) party at the MGM Grand. They had only been asked to play the short set so it was short and sweet, but it was still a real treat to be there.

The guys played in front of a thousand or more Amoco employees who had just finished eating a gourmet meal. They started off with Riverside and followed up with Ventura Highway. The third song was You Can Do Magic and before the song was over, America had worked their magic and many couples started dancing in front of the stage. More and more couples started dancing through Don't Cross The River and Daisy Jane. Then Gerry did an acoustic guitar version of I Need You which was fantastic. Tin Man, Lonely People, Never Be Lonely, and Sandman were next. Sister Golden Hair came too soon because it signalled the end of the concert. The guys came out for an encore of Horse With No Name and that was it.

Day 2 What a concert! After seeing the guys in Las Vegas Friday night I was anxious to see them again Saturday. St. George is a two hour drive north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15 (for those of you who aren't familiar with the southern Utah area). The concert was held in the Burns Arena of the Dixie Center which is part of the Dixie College campus. It is a fairly new facility that was packed by the time the show began. A group called Under The Gun (featuring Kenny Carter of the Guess Who) was supposed to be the opening act but at the last minute they cancelled. So the few people who arrived after the 8 pm starting time, missed a couple of America's opening numbers. But the entire arena was eventually packed and everyone was treated to a fantastic show. I'm guessing that there were several thousand screaming fans there that ranged in age from high school kids to long time fans (like me!).

After the announcement was made that Under The Gun wouldn't be playing, America was announced and they began with the normal rendition of Riverside. Then Gerry announced that they had come ALL THE WAY from Las Vegas and so he hoped it was OK if they played all the songs they knew. That got a rousing cheer as the band started into Ventura Highway followed by You Can Do Magic and Don't Cross the River. The playlist had Old Man Took next but it was crossed out so they skipped that song.

Gerry put down his guitar and went to the piano for Daisy Jane, Mirror to Mirror, Another Try, and the Last Unicorn. I've only heard the Last Unicorn one other time in concert and it has quickly become one of my favorites. The other fans agreed as they cheered louder and louder after each song. One exciting anouncement was made by Gerry as he announced Mirror to Mirror. He started by saying that the song was from their last album but that it wouldn't be for long. He said that they were going to go into the recording studio this fall and begin working on a new album. I can't remember now who he said they would be working with, but Rick may be able to fill in that missing piece of information.

Three Roses was next followed by an acoustic version of I Need You (I really liked it). Tin Man, Woman Tonight, and Sergeant Darkness were next. The playlist had Young Moon and Hope next but they were crossed out so the band didn't play those songs. I was really hoping that they would, but I'll have to catch them another time.

Only In Your Heart received a thunderous applause and then California Dreamin' received a standing ovation. There are quite a few California students at Dixie College so they appreciated that song. Lonely People filled the airwaves next and hundreds of single girls stood up in the aisles dancing and singing along with the band. Gerry said that he couldn't believe there were that many lonely people (he had already mentioned that Pete "the t-shirt guy" and Willie "the drummer" were lonely). Green Monkey was next on the playlist (and it wasn't scratched out) but they didn't play it. I don't know if they forgot it or decided not to do it while they were on stage. Instead, they played Never Be Lonely, a lively version of Sandman which the audience really got into, and Sister Golden Hair which had them dancing in the aisles. The guys left after Sister Golden Hair while the audience stood and cheered for what seemed like eternity. I'm sure the guys were enjoying the appreciation that the fans were showering upon them.

The cheering got even louder as the band came back on stage and Dewey thanked them by saying, "You sure know how to make a guy feel good. Just for that we'll play a couple more songs." California Revisited was the first of the duo and Horse With No Name was the finale. The security tried to keep the people from rushing toward the stage and dancing in the aisles but it didn't do any good. Everyone was totally into the music and there wasn't any stopping them. As the final strains of Horse With No Name ended, everyone in the arena came to their feet cheering, clapping, whistling, and yelling. As I said before, it was a fantastic show. The show in Las Vegas was good, but this one was great!

May 18, 1997 Thornton Winery, Temecula, CA Submitted by Bill Payne (

My wife and I just got home from the Thornton Winery America concert...Wow.....What a show! The Thornton Winery is located in the" heart" of the Temecula wine country. America played on a large outdoor patio, that sat maybe 1,000 people. The weather was perfect, sunny blue skys with a few high clouds.

The Band played two forty five minute sets with a 20 minute intermission in between. The show started with Riverside followed by Ventura Highway and you can do magic. It ended with an encore that included California Revisited and of course Horse With No Name.

The set also included The last Unicorn, Green Monkey, Another Try, Dont Cross the River, Sandman, Woman tonight, Daisy Jane, Sister Golden Hair, Lonely People, Only in your Heart, California Dreamin, I need you, and my favorite of the day an unplugged version of Three Roses, in which Dewey said was recorded "before Unplugged was cool".

What made the day extra special was all the AOL fans in the first two rows. We all got to meet each other and toast to new friendships. Everyone was great.

Following the encore, Dewey handed Barb his guitar pick and said a special thankyou to the "Dynamic Duo" Kelly and Barb (Kelly and Barb both flew all the way to Vancouver for the VSO show and then came back to California for the Temecula show)!

The show was the first America concert for my Wife and I since 1992. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and plan on attending more shows this year!!

Also Great News........Dewey said they feel that they have finalized a record deal, and expect to go into the studio this fall to record new material. They will be produced by Gary Katz of Steely Dan fame.

Subj: MORE TEMECULA Date: 19 May 1997 From:

Just wanted to add a few comments to the Temecula concert reports already submitted by Bill Payne and Danell Deinema.

Temecula is located in Southern California about midway between Riverside and San Diego. It is a rapidly developing town, but one where attention is being devoted to maintaining the pastoral quality of the surroundings. Thornton Winery is located in the rolling hills a couple of miles out of town in the "heart" of the Temecula wine country (as Bill said), a tranquil and beautiful setting for a Sunday afternoon concert.

As Bill also said, the weather was perfect. Last year's concert was held during the oppressive heat of July, but May's kinder, gentler weather presented a pleasantly warm day. The wine was fine and the champagne divine. A beautiful setting, perfect weather, and the long set........what more could anyone want?

America's music and segues were tight and professional, while their onstage demeanor was relaxed and playful. The right balance of these elements is AMERICA's forte and is what makes the group's performances so enjoyable and memorable. The audience has such a great time because the band projects energy and enthusiasm.

The greatest hits repertoire was highlighted with "Mirror to Mirror" from Hour glass, "The Last Unicorn" from the children's video of the same name, and "Never Be Lonely" from "View From the Ground", all played expertly and with a huge dose of TLC. The Thornton Winery concert series is primarily jazz-oriented, so it is a testament to America's universal appeal and outstanding musical talents that they are invited to join this series. In keeping with the theme, Gerry and Dewey and company surprised us with their versatility once again when they broke into an impromptu jazz tune, complete with Gerry's scat singing. This was a real crowd pleaser to be sure!!

Fellow AOLers and good friends Kelly and Steve (BSBALFAN), Jim (JIMNAK) and Dave (SandmanDJ.....all the way from South Carolina, no less) were in attendance. Plus we had the pleasure of meeting Bill and his lovely wife, Katie. It was lots of fun sharing the concert with everyone!!

The return to the studio this fall for the new CD with Gary Katz has been mentioned at several concerts of late, so it sounds very promising. We are all crossing our collective fingers! New music in 98........can't wait!!

Many thanks to AMERICA once again for a SUPER show, and special thanks to Dewey for the guitar pick (which I shall "add to my collection".)!! : )


Album No. 1 -- America

What is your viewpoint on America's debut album? Please submit your analysis/critique for inclusion in the next newsletter. If there is enough reader interest and feedback, we'll do the same with each subsequent album.

Also, what America 'issues' would you like to discuss. Recently, it was America music before/after George Martin. SEND IN YOUR IDEAS......AND OPINIONS


When Barb Bickmore drives by, a person might notice her special license plate, VTAHWY.........or if you want to get in touch with Barb, you may appreciate her chosen AOL address,

But if you're really lucky, you'll get a chance to actually meet Barb, who has attended more America concerts than anyone! (almost as many as the guys!!??) And..........right next to her is another person who is very dedicated and appreciative of America, her husband Gary, who is just plain FUN.

Her love and dedication to America is impressive, and so is her writing ability, and so we're very lucky that she is now co-publishing the America Express newsletter!



Email: (Rick Wahlgren) or (Rick)

Email: (Barbara Bickmore)

Rick Wahlgren

1717 Matz Road

Ferndale, Washington 98248

phone: 360-380-6271

Home Page Sites.................

America Home Page (by Rick Wahlgren)

America: Classic Rock Band in Pictures (by Ike Gauley)

America Fans Across America ... and the World (by Steve Lowry)


Dan Peek....Peace Home Page: by Rick Wahlgren

AOL America Message Board (this is a *permanent* message board) Also......Gerry and Dewey are AOL members, and read the America message board often.............

1. keyword mmc (for Musicspace Message Board)

2. Rock/Pop

3. Classic Rock

4. America: Beckley and Bunnell (and you're there!!!!!)


Q.6 Name the two songs America recorded on their Warner Bros albums not written by them. Ans.HEART AND HEART......MUSKRAT LOVE.

Q.7 On which John Martyn album does his own version of HEART AND HEART appear. Ans.BLESS THE WEATHER.

Q.8 Name the Arlo Guthrie song often performed LIVE in the early years Ans. COMING TO LOS ANGELES.

Q.9 Gerry appeared in a Jeff Beck video for which song. Ans. AMBITIOUS.

Q.10 Dewey appeared in a Steve Perry video for which song. Ans.OH SHERRIE.

OK...........but were you able to guess the "aint it foggy outside" song question?? :)


[Spring] [Autumn]
Last Revised: 24 July 1998