Everyone at some point in their life, young or old, has sang the words "I've been through the desert on a horse with no name..." ...and last night at the Tilles Center, the whole audience was singing those words. That song took them to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart, selling over one million copies and earning them a gold disc by the RIAA.
Just coming off the 70's Rock and Romance cruise, founding members, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, were joined on stage by Ryland Steen (drums), Rich Campbell (bass/key/vocal) and Steve Fekete (guitar/keys).
The guys walked out to the instrumental music of "Miniature", picked up their guitars and immediately broke into "Tin Man" followed by another popular hit, "You Can Do Magic". The crowd was already dancing in their seats and the night didn't even get started yet.
It was a full 90 minute set with no intermission and no opening act. The storytelling was kept to a minimum, but that allowed for a longer setlist. And considering this is a 50-year tour, there was lots of music to be played.
They performed a Beatles cover, "Eleanor Rigby" and talked about working with producer, Sir George Martin. Gerry also told a story of when they (Gerry, Dewey and original founding member Dan Peek) were just 17/18 years of age and opened for big acts like Pink Floyd. "We sat on stools, did an acoustic set about 20 minutes long and the crowd went... mild", which drew a few laughs from the crowd. It seemed only fitting they do a Dan Peek song next so they performed "Lonely People".
Gerry put down the guitar to sit at the piano for a few songs including Daisy Jane and California Dreamin'. They performed more of their top ten hits including "Sister Golden Hair" and "I Need You" (sew full setlist below). Gerry and Dewey stepped back from time to time when Ryland and Steve each played their solos, drawing a large round of applause from the crowd.
America, who won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and nominated for Best Pop Vocal Group in 1973, continues to grow and it's no wonder their fanbase has grown too. They're a testament that artists can stand the test of time. Their (then) loyal fans now attending shows with their kids and even grandkids!
A biography about the band, titled America, the Band: An Authorized Biography, written by Jude Warne will hit shelves on May 15th.
For more information about the band and the tour, visit their website for dates and tickets.
Photos by Tina Zito
You Can Do Magic
Don't Cross the River
I Need You
Eleanor Rigby (Beatles Cover)
Only in Your Heart
California Dreaming (Mamas and the Papas cover)
Sister Golden Hair
A Horse with No Name