Miscellaneous Information Archive

Archives: 1998 (August) Sheboygan [Wisconsin] Press Newspaper Article

Sunday, August 23, 1998
Hit after hit
America brings their feel good music to Lakefest

By Mary Ann Holley

Gray-haired men inched their lawn chairs closer to the stage, mouthing the words to songs as if they were part of the band.

Forty-year-olds danced and swayed to the music with the unbridled freedom of high schoolers with permission to stay out late.

America, a band that got its start 30 years ago, brought Lakefest rockers to the limit Saturday.

They made them feel good.

"It takes you back. Yeah, something like that," said Carol Everson, of Manitowoc, pausing, smiling, and wrapping her arms around her husband, Scott, as the music filled Deland Park. "It makes you remember."

Many of the fans had never stopped listening to America. But when the band wrapped up its 1-hour early performance, everyone agreed that band sounded better than ever.

Patricia Luther of Fond du Lac, and Michelle Adensam of Racine, staked out a front-row spot, and sang every word to every tune as the band performed its repertoire of soft ballads and love songs.

"I've been a fan since 1983," said Adensam, a relatively new fan. "I own every album they've ever made."

In the back row, tucked away behind the sound mixing equipment, Michael and Sue Ann Schuh held each other tightly, swaying to the music, as their l0-year-old daughter Tina rocked along with them.

The Schuh's said they've been America fans since their high school days, and canceled a weekend escape to attend the concert.

"It brings back memories -- lotta good memories," said Michael Schuh, admitting his over-40 age status.

The Schuh's said they still play their collection of America albums, and since the old record player broke long ago, they taped the albums onto cassette.

"It's a nice mellow crowd," said Schuh, glancing through the large Piggly Wiggly Mainstage tent, "But you don't realize how old you are until you look around and see your peers.

Glenn Bodi, of Sheboygan said he didn't think he remembered America's string of hits. But once the music began, he said they all came back to him.

"This is a great concert. Belushi's Friday night concert was great. It's been a good weekend," said Bodi, listening to the concert with his mother, Pat DeCarlo, who visited from Buffalo Grove, Ill. It's a nice family event."

America - a five member band comprised of Gerry Beckley, lead singer; Dewey Bunnell, singer; Brad Palmer bass guitar; Michael Woods, guitar; and Willie Leacox, drums - belted out hit after hit, none that were new to the crowd of pumped up fans.

America brought love songs and old memories - melancholy ballads with catchy melodies, and silly phrases. Backstage, before the concert, friends razzed the band, asking if they had ever given that darn horse a name.

But fans didn't care - "A Horse With No Name" was one of the songs they wanted to hear most.

"When they play "A Horse With No Name" we're outta here," said Jan and Mike Wirth, of Sheboygan, as they broke away for an interview.

Jan Wirth said her husband is actually the biggest fan, but "his love of America is contagious.

"It brings back memories of long hair and bell-bottoms" said Mike Wirth. "We're in our mid 50's, but look around and see the crowd - young and old -all enjoying the music, That's what this Lakefest is all about."

Last Revised: 21 February 1999