Grand Funk Railroad rocks Montbleu | SierraSun.com

Grand Funk Railroad rocks Montbleu

Last Saturday, Oct. 21, once the sun went down Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa in Stateline, Nev., cranked up the lights and bass for a soulful performance by American band, Grand Funk Railroad.

Much has changed since the 1970s, but the uplifting and high-energy hits from GFR still got the multi-generational audience out of their seats and singing along to every word.

The guys kicked off the show with "Rock 'N Roll Soul" with original members Don Brewer on drums and vocals and Mel Schacher on bass, adding rocker Max Carl to the crew on lead vocals, Bruce Kulick on guitar, and Tim Cashion on the keyboard.

Second in their setlist was "Footstompin' Music," a crowd pleaser that really got the party started.

By the time the band played "The Loco-Motion," more of the audience was out of their seats making their way to the dance floor.

"This is awesome!" shouted Amy Abernethy, a South Lake Tahoe local, who was dancing and singing along during the show.

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"When he sang 'my heart needs a second chance,' that was an awesome surprise, they're playing songs I didn't even know I'd hear but I love. I come to these shows all the time and usually leave early because I'm bored, but not tonight!" she added.

The audience cheered with excitement when the band unexpectedly played 38 Special's "Second Chance," co-written by Grand Funk's lead singer of the evening, Max Carl.

With a red, white and blue foam hat on Brewer's head, the band brought the house down with "We're an American Band" and closed out the show with "I'm your Captain/Closer to Home," which Brewer said in a pre-show interview, was one of the most moving songs they perform.

"Well there are a lot of songs, one I always remark about is "I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home," the effect it had on the Vietnam vets — they used to play it over and over again. When we play it now, you can see those guys all start crying, it touches their hearts," he said.

After their final "I'm getting closer to my home" verse, they thanked the crowd, yelled "God Bless America!" and left to an upbeat, roaring crowd.

"It was too short!" said Yvonne Brown from the Bay Area.

"They're great every time I see them," she added.

Jeff Armstrong of Reno said he's seen the band three times.

"They're still rocking! It's a big show, so nice to have them up here. I saw them back in '72 and again in '83 — back when I had hair," he joked.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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