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Grand Funk Railroad - Molson Canal Concert series - Lockport, NY Aug 19,2011

Photos/review- John Jeffrey

Lockport, NY - On Friday, August 19th, Grand Funk Railroad wrapped up the last night of the 2011 Molson Canal Concert Series.  Ending the summer series with a bang, or in this case, a "Bottle Rocket," Grand Funk is one of those bands that when most people hear the name of the group, they can instantly tell you they play "We're an American Band" and "Some Kind of Wonderful," but when they see them in concert, they're surprised that they know so many of their other songs.  They've heard them before, but just didn't know that GFR wrote or performed them. 

The biggest hurdle the band still faces today, is winning over casual fans that are convinced that they can't be any good without original lead vocalist/guitarist, Mark Farner.  A matter of fact, the person who accompanied me to the concert was one of those disbelievers.  It doesn't matter though, because after hearing the first couple of songs, anyone that knows what good music is all about, knows that GFR is still the real deal.  They were ahead of their time when they broke it big in the 70's, and in 2011, they are one of the tightest musical acts playing the circuit today.
Following the current lineup for almost a decade, watching a GFR concert is almost like watching a DVD of one of your favorite movies.  You know when your favorite parts are coming up, and when it's over, it reminds you all over again of why you liked it in the first place.  However, as great as the Grand Funk Railroad 'movie' is, I think it's ready for an updated, new edition.  I know they need to keep the classics in the set, but I think they need to switch up some of the 'b-side' material, in order to keep their song list from getting stale.
While drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher are the two remaining original members (and founders of the group), current lead guitarist, Bruce Kulick, is the 'rocker' of the band, and steals the show every night during his solo spot, before and during the song, "Inside Looking Out."  After speaking with Bruce several times on the subject, he would love to write new Grand Funk material, but even though he's been touring with the band for about 10 years, he's still the "new guy," and Don & Mel call the shots.
Whether it's new songs or old songs, GFR can still rock the house, as the 12,000 fans in Lockport last week were left completely satisfied when the show was over.  So when the Grand Funk Railroad comes to a stop near you, be sure to grab a ticket and do "The Locomotion."
Special Thanks to Anne Leighton for helping RockMusicStar cover this show.

Bottle Rocket
Rock 'N Soul Music
Footstompin' Music
Shinin' On
The Loco-motion
Walk Like a Man
Inside Looking Out
Second Chance
Drum Solo
Devils Daughter
Star Spangled Banner
Electric Blues
Some Kind of Wonderful
I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)

We're An American Band