2016-08-15 / Local

Grand Funk Railroad electrifies audience

JoAnn R. Walter

For the Review

Rock and roll super group, Grand Funk Railroad, “The American Band,” took the outdoor summer concert stage on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Tioga Downs in Nichols, N.Y. A few sprinkles and ominous clouds didn’t dampen the spirits of concert-goers as Grand Funk Railroad delivered an energized show.

The annual “Veterans Benefit Concert” at Tioga Downs has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years and proceeds benefit the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group (STVSG).

Jeff Gural, CEO of American Racing and Entertainment and owner of Tioga Downs, pledged to match every ticket sold to the non-profit which offers assistance and services to veterans, service members and their families within the southern tier of New York and northeast Pennsylvania region.

Grand Funk Railroad (GFR) performed fan favorites and classic hits like “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home,” “We’re An American Band,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Shinin’ On” and “Some Kind of Wonderful,” among others.

GFR first shook the music world in 1969 with their raw, real rock, and the original power trio of Mark Farner, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher produced multiple top 10 hits and albums.

Now, 47 years later, Brewer and Schacher tour with three all-star musicians; Max Carl of .38 Special, Bruce Kulick of KISS-fame, and Tim Cashion, who toured with Robert Palmer and Bob Seger.

Brewer explained in a previous phone interview that Tioga Downs’ fans would be treated to, “a high-energy, rock-and-roll, foot-stompin’ show.”

And that it was, but not only foot-stompin’ rock, GFR performed more mellow rock tunes as well, including “Second Chance,” a top-10 hit co-written by Carl while he was with .38 Special.

Tioga Downs’ fans were brought to their feet several times, dancing and giving standing ovations to the band, which featured an impressive drum solo by Brewer. The crowd cheered as Brewer threw drum sticks into the audience.

Prior to the show, the Valley Color Guard posted colors. Concluding the concert was a spectacular fireworks show accompanied by patriotic music.

For additional information, find GFR on the web at grandfunkrailroad.com. Follow Tioga Downs on Facebook or Twitter, or visit their web site: tiogadowns.com. STVSG can be found on Facebook or at stvsg.org.

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