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Grand Funk Railroad still rocks the house with classic favorites

Grand Funk Railroad

By Joel Barrios, Rock At Night Miami Correspondent

Venue: Magic City Casino, Miami, Florida- December 19, 2015

It was a very nice balmy Saturday night in Miami and I had arrived to the Magic City Casino to document a concert of one of the bands I wanted to see the most since my teen years in Cuba. Grand Funk Railroad, the American blues-rock band institution was making a tour stop at my city and that was a show I wasn’t missing for anything in this world. Additionally this would be my first photo assignment for Rock at Night, so I was doubled-pumped and ready to take some good shots and enjoy the spectacle.

Grand Funk Railroad was highly popular during the 1970s, touring extensively and playing to packed arenas worldwide with their crowd-pleasing arena rock style; and two original members drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher re-established the band in 1996, joined by lead vocalist Max Carl (of 38 Special), former Kiss lead guitarist Bruce Kulick, and keyboardist Tim Cashion (Bob Seger, Robert Palmer). Despite the absence of Mark Farner, they remained touring and drawing thousands of fans to their shows and I was eager to see how much this line-up could honor the well-regarded anthems of the band’s heyday.

The show started exactly as scheduled and it was completely well worth it. The sound quality was phenomenal as usual at the venue and the band totally rocked the house. I was very surprised at the level of intensity they performed. Brewer and company sounded tight and loud–and the crowd reaction proved it. The audience sang, danced and enjoyed every minute of the performance. The band concentrated on their top 40 hits and most notable songs, while adding in a few surprises along the way, including the 38 Special song “Second Chance”. During the Hendrix-inspired “Star Spangled Banner”, which included an excellent guitar performance courtesy of Bruce Kulick, Don Brewer came to the front of the stage with a huge American flag. He then proceeded to play an awesome ear-popping, non-stop, no holds barred drum solo while everyone stood-up, cheered and applauded in frenzy.

Lead guitarist Bruce Kulick meshed perfectly and Max’s vocals, complemented by Don’s and rounded by Tim’s keyboard, sounded just like the GFR of old times that I’ve enjoyed in videos hundreds of times. Bruce is a great asset to the band. His playing brings a more current sound to the classic GFR songs. Don also sang, and his voice apparently hasn’t aged a bit. It was incredible to see the energy he has on stage, delivering also super energetic drumming and driving the band’s intensity ahead. The only real downside was they only played 75 minutes, and I also missed “Bad Time”, a song I’d have loved to hear. They encored with their signature song “We’re an American Band” before leaving for the evening, letting the audience clamoring for more.

FAVORITE MOMENT: “Some Kind of Wonderful” (The crowd went nuts with this song)

Members: Tim Cashion, Bruce Kulick, Don Brewer, Max Carl, and Mel Schacher

SETLIST:

  1. Bottle Rocket
  2. Rock & Roll Soul
  3. Footstompin’ Music
  4. Shinin’ On
  5. The Loco-Motion (Carole King cover)
  6. Walk Like a Man
  7. Second Chance (38 Special cover)
  8. Don Brewer Drum Solo
  9. Lightning and Thunder
  10. The Star-Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith cover)
  11. Inside Looking Out
  12. Some Kind of Wonderful
  13. I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)
  14. Encore: We’re an American Band

 

PHOTO GALLERY

 

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Blasting back to 1971

 

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The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission to Rock At Night and the photographer. Use of any image is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws.

Joel Barrios

Joel Barrios is a Miami based software developer, website designer and photographer originally from Havana Cuba, who also happens to be a music lover. When he first picked up a camera, he found something he always felt was missing in his life – a creative outlet to express himself in ways other than using words. Despite he enjoys many other types of photography, his passion for music has driven him into concert photojournalism. Joel has a great eye for details, capturing the moments you might have missed even if you were at the show, his photographs will make you feel like you were there part of the audience.

His shots have graced many Rock at Night articles, as part of his press and photo coverage for music events throughout the US and big music festivals like Cruise to the Edge 2015, RosFest 2016, Morsefest 2016 and Progpower 2016 to name a few. His work has been also featured in the prestigious UK magazine Prog.
About Joel Barrios (65 Articles)
Joel Barrios is a Miami based software developer, website designer and photographer originally from Havana Cuba, who also happens to be a music lover. When he first picked up a camera, he found something he always felt was missing in his life – a creative outlet to express himself in ways other than using words. Despite he enjoys many other types of photography, his passion for music has driven him into concert photojournalism. Joel has a great eye for details, capturing the moments you might have missed even if you were at the show, his photographs will make you feel like you were there part of the audience. His shots have graced many Rock at Night articles, as part of his press and photo coverage for music events throughout the US and big music festivals like Cruise to the Edge 2015, RosFest 2016, Morsefest 2016 and Progpower 2016 to name a few. His work has been also featured in the prestigious UK magazine Prog.

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