Foghat, Bad Company visit Fraze Pavilion

Saturday evening in Dayton began as a beautiful, breezy summer night in Ohio’s Gem City. In the nearby suburban town of Kettering lies an absolute jewel of a music venue. Fraze Pavilion is an absolute must see amphitheater for Ohio concert goers. Before tragedy would strike the city hours later, the venue hosted an epic rock pairing of seventies hard rock bands; Foghat and Bad Company.

Late into the night, Dayton would experience the worst of humanity on a large scale. Earlier, though, it saw some of its best. Few things bond people from different backgrounds better than music. The 4,300 seat venue appeared to be full, even before opening act Foghat took the stage. Folks from all walks of life were there as fans of the music. There were hippies in tie-dyed Roger Waters and Grateful Dead attire. There were others clad in MAGA hats, Ted Nugent shirts, and Lynyrd Skynyrd rebel flag gear. Bikers. Businessmen. Young and old. Black and white. All bonded over the greatest era of rock music ever known. Our society and politicians would do well to follow the lead of the graying legions of old school rock fans and their ability to bond with complete strangers over a common interest. While our differences may be sharp, there’s far more that should unite us.

As previously mentioned, the boys from Foghat took the stage first, and the supporting act they did their jobs. They whipped the crowd into a frenzy, particularly during the three songs that closed the set and of course with several well placed “O-H?” calls throughout their performance. As they often do, they kicked things off with 1976’s “Drivin’ Wheel” and “Stone Blue” from two years later. Keeping the foot stomping, head banging set going, they followed with “Chateau Lafitte ’59” before slowing things down on “Third Time Lucky“.

Out front on lead vocals and guitar was the always energetic Charlie Huhn and he was on point. Taking lead guitar responsibilities is Bryan Bassett. Between the two of them, the Foghat guitar sound is as good as ever. And in this band you just know that the rhythm is right… Bass player Rodney O’Quinn has taken over for the large shoes left behind by Craig Macgregor’s passing. He held it down with original Foghat drummer Roger Earl, and while the band sounded tight, their set was highlighted by one of those good pieces of humanity that I mentioned before.

During the Foghat set there was a young man enjoying the show from the side of the stage. I’m not sure what his ailment was, but the kid was in a wheelchair. Needless to say, he was absolutely enjoying the show. His night was likely made even better when Roger Earl walked over to him and handed him a pair of his drum sticks. The kid air-drummed the rest of the gig right along with the band!

Few bands can close a show with the classic rock firepower that the group did on Saturday night. “Fool For The City” and “I Just Want To Make Love To You” were first before making way for the 70’s anthem “Slow Ride“.

After a very short recess, literally barely enough time to grab a beer and check out the merch tent, the evening’s headliners took the stage. Bad Company boast one of the greatest back catalogs of classic rock radio hits in the game and most of them made the cut. They kicked it off with “Can’t Get Enough“, which got the crowd on their feet from the onset. Front man Paul Rodgers didn’t really allow fans to sit back down as he wove his group through a set of songs that featured some relics as well as hits like “Feel Like Makin’ Love“; “Movin’ On“; and “Seagull“.

While the largest crowd reaction came during their crown jewels; “Shooting Star” and their self titled track, there were some surprises. Those included four cover songs and not surprisingly Free’s “All Right Now” and their take on Mott The Hoople’s “Ready For Love” made the cut. A little more unexpected were the inclusion of their cover of “Young Blood” by The Coasters and an absolutely ripping version of the Jimi Hendrix’ take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower“. When Bad Company were beckoned for their encore, they concluded the night with the classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy“.

 

Realistic scenarios to bring rock music back to Super Bowl Sunday

It wasn’t until Super Bowl XXV, which brings deep, deep pain for other reasons than the halftime performer, that the Super Bowl really started to bring in pop-icons to perform at the event. For most of the game’s existence until that point, the halftime show was performed by college marching bands. Super Bowl XXV, which featured the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants, brought in pop sensations New Kids on the Block for the halftime entertainment. Talk about yawn. At least that game lived up to the hype, albeit in heartbreaking fashion for yours truly.

While some true pop icons (Michael Jackson, Prince) have graced the stage, for far too many Super Bowls, the performers have been inadequate with music that plainly doesn’t resonate with the average football fan. Guys that play football don’t listen to Gloria Estefan or Jessica Simpson. Guys that played football grow up to be a large base of the people that watch football. Yeah, yeah, this isn’t true in every case. But for simplicity’s sake, a large portion of football’s most loyal base, grew up with rock music in their locker rooms. Not all, but a lot. A lot of that music can never be played at a family-friendly event like the Super Bowl, so sorry fellas we will probably never see a Limp Bizkit or Korn performance at the game. Likewise for those who listened to mostly rap in the locker room. But, what if there were rock bands that would make sense and would be tame enough for the whole family to enjoy? With the next three Super Bowl locations set, this is what the halftime entertainment committee or whoever they are should do to appease their loyal fans that listen to rock music. While the bands have to be interested as well and all of that jazz (who’s going to turn down the Super Bowl though), these are scenarios that make sense for the next three Super Bowls.

Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta has hosted two recent Super Bowls; the second of back to back blowouts of the Buffalo Bills by the Dallas Cowboys and the epic game played between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans that came down to the last play of the game. While the Bills/Cowboys game featured an all-star lineup of country musicians at the time, it was largely a forgettable performance, because you likely have no recollection of a halftime show featuring Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and The Judds. The Rams/Titans game was a better game and a more pop-friendly event featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton. Atlanta and America, you deserve better. So for next year’s Super Bowl in your city, imagine having Metallica!

Why Metallica? Why not? That’s a better question. This is quite possibly the absolute most overdue selection to play the Super Bowl. This band probably has more “all-time” locker room play time than any other. They are currently the biggest rock band in the world and have been since AC/DC started to slow down. With AC/DC’s future uncertain as well with Brian Johnson being out of the band and Malcolm Young’s recent passing, Metallica is the pick. Unless Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd were to reunite, Metallica is at the very top of the mountain until they decide to call it quits. They are still making new and relevant music and every single person that has played football in the last 30 years has likely heard their music in the locker room or during pregame at some point. They are likely the only heavy metal band that could pull this off. While their hardcore fans would want a halftime set-list of thrash gold, a more realistic and media appeasing set-list would be more palatable for those that are scared of heavy metal music. Imagine all of the fire and lasers of a full Metallica show condensed into this four-song set for the Super Bowl:

1. Whiskey in the Jar

2. Enter Sandman

3. Moth Into Flame

4. Seek and Destroy

 

Super Bowl 54 in Miami, Florida.

Miami has also hosted numerous modern-day Super Bowls. Let’s see, during the San Francisco 49ers’ blowout of the San Diego Chargers, they gave us Patti Labelle and Tony Bennett. No kidding. Then while the Denver Broncos were blowing out the Atlanta Falcons, we were treated to Gloria Estefan (again) and Stevie Wonder, which was probably decent but how much Gloria Estefan can they expect us to take? While Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were taking it to the Chicago Bears, Miami gave us a pretty cool set from Prince. Their most recent Super Bowl was their best, however. In 2010, the New Orleans Saints were pulling away from the Indianapolis Colts for their first Super Bowl victory, and we were treated to a fantastic show from The Who. Now THAT is an iconic rock band if there ever was one. So, in two years when Miami gets to host again, who should they pencil in for the event? Why not stadium rock icons Journey?

Even with millennials, Journey remains one of the most popular bands in the world. They are still touring today and still sound great live, albeit with a “new” singer, Arnel Pineda. With Journey just recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, wouldn’t the Super Bowl Halftime Show be the perfect moment for them to reunite for the night with the vocalist of their heyday, Steve Perry? He and Arnel could trade off vocals and the band could finally move forward without fans having to wonder “what if” anymore. This is a win-win. You find someone that is in a bad mood while listening to Journey and what you’ve really found is a liar. Imagine this halftime set:

1. Anyway You Want It

2. Wheel In The Sky

3. Faithfully

4. Don’t Stop Believin’

 

Super Bowl 55 in Inglewood, California. (Los Angeles)

The Los Angeles area hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 1987. It featured George Burns, Mickey Rooney, and the Grambling State and USC marching bands. That act must have put the Denver Broncos to sleep because they were outscored in the third quarter 17-0 by the New York Giants who wound up turning a halftime deficit into a blow out win. Considering that it’s been so long since LA hosted the Super Bowl and it will be in a brand new venue, they’ll need a marquee act for sure. This one is such a no-brainer, though, that failure to book this act would be a travesty! Los Angeles last had the Super Bowl in 1987, the same year that Guns N’ Roses exploded onto the scene with their debut album Appetite for Destruction. 

It has to be GNR, right? There is no other band that came out of the Los Angeles hard rock movement that better epitomizes that city than Guns N’ Roses. They were the definition of living in excess. They had infighting and turmoil. They broke up. They said never again on numerous occasions. They reunited anyway after more than a decade apart and they’re now selling out football stadiums around the country and headlining some of the biggest festivals in the world. Coupled with the fact that guitarist Slash has appeared at multiple Super Bowls now as a guest musician and they absolutely need to play the halftime show to their hometown crowd. This is a no-brainer, as long as somebody remembers to set Axl Rose’s alarm clock. Imagine this:

1. Welcome to the Jungle

2. Paradise City

3. Patience

4. Sweet Child O’ Mine

Then in a move that only they could pull off, they just keep playing. They also get through “November Rain” and “You Could Be Mine” before being forcibly removed halfway through “I Used to Love Her”. Once the field is finally cleared, the Buffalo Bills will continue on to their third consecutive Super Bowl victory fresh off of three consecutive rockin’ halftime performances. Right?