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Grand Funk Railroad - Seneca Allegany Casino, Salamanca, NY - March 10, 2012

Review and Photos by John Jeffrey
Salamanca, NY - After a brief six month hiatus, the Grand Funk Railroad was once again, open for business,as they brought the "Locomotion" to the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY. The legendary band from the 70's played to a near capacity crowd, comprised of elderly casino clientele, and diehard Grand Funk fans - a very bizarre mixed crowd, to say the least.
Although the band performed the same set list that they've playing for over a decade (throughout the duration in which the current lineup has been together), it was performed with the same enthusiasm and energy, as if it was the very first time the group played together. Perhaps due to the overall age of the crowd, and the fact that the Seneca Events Center isn't the size of an arena or amphitheater, the volume of the show was conspicuously low. Still one of the best sounding live acts performing today, I did note to lead guitarist, Bruce Kulick (after the show), that the sound was just 'loud enough' for the room.
No matter, the crowd was treated to a great show, as they really responded to lead singer,Max Carl's "million selling Motown hit," "Second Chance." Carl wrote and recorded the song while he was a member of .38 Special, and GFR does an amazing version, much better than the version the current lineup of .38 Special performs today. Of course the crowd ate up "Some Kind of Wonderful" and "I'm Your Captain," but the real highlight was when all of the crowd (those who were not restricted to a wheelchair, walker or a cane), made their way down to the front of the stage to rock out to the encore of "We're an American Band."
While bassist Mel Schacher and drummer Don Brewer are the original anchor members of the band, Bruce Kulick still holds rank as the 'star' of the band. Oddly enough, while Kulick was at times criticized for being the most pedestrian stage performer in the lineups he played in with KISS, in GFR, Bruce really owns the stage. Between his Jimi Hendrix inspired instrumental rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner," to his solo spot during the song, "Inside Looking Out," Bruce Kulick adds a rock solid edge to this lineup of GFR.
While the obvious purpose of GFR touring these days is simply for nostalgia, with the caliber of talent that this lineup possesses, it would be nice to see them release some sort of product that represents the band today. Whether it be a Greatest Hits re-record or a live CD/DVD, it would be a great souvenir for their diehard fans, and proof positive for casual listeners, that the current lineup is a valid musical act in 2012.
Special thanks to Tony Astran and Anne Leighton for making it possible for RockMusicStar to enjoy this show.