The ultimate American band, Grand Funk Railroad, made a stop at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on Saturday night, Feb. 13. The band was formed in 1969 in Flint, Michigan, and it is still rocking strong 47 years later.
Original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher put on a great show of classic rock hits. Brewer looks fantastic at age 67 and can still pound the drums with the best of them. His singing voice sounds young and strong. Brewer frequently stood up on the drum riser as he belted out the vocals. Schacher laid down a steady bass for the tight, 70-minute set featuring 13 songs.
Frontman Max Carl is an extremely talented musician. He showed great versatility as the lead singer while also playing the guitar, harmonica and drums. Carl has been with Grand Funk since 2000 and previously played with .38 Special. Lead guitarist Bruce Kulick also joined the band in 2000 after 12 years with Kiss. Kulick’s guitar licks were sharp and solid. Keyboardist Tim Cashion, who Carl said has a Ph.D. in music, rounds out this American band that appeared very comfortable onstage. The player really enjoyed themselves and drew a great response from the crowd.
Grand Funk Railroad played all of its biggest hits while the fans sang along with Carl and Brewer. The band started jamming with “Footstompin’ Music.” The entire crowd stood for No. 1 hit “The Loco-Motion.”
Carl performed a poignant version of his big hit with .38 Special, “Second Chance.” Then it was Brewer’s time to shine with a powerful drum solo reminiscent of the rock super groups in the ’70s and ’80s. Brewer’s stamina impressived fans as he pounded away the long solo. The rest of the musicians showed its chops with excellent solos including Carl on the harp.
Kulick got the crowd on its feet again with a stirring guitar solo of the “Star Spangled Banner” with the USA flag waving onstage. Then Brewer stepped out to the front of the stage to sing lead on a unique version “Some Kind of Wonderful.” Schacher was playing his bass but the rest of the band was just clapping for most of the song.
The was righteously rocking when it played “I am Your Captain/Closer to Home.” Grand Funk Railroad closed the show with its signature hit, “We’re an American Band.” Brewer donned a stars and stripes top hat while Kulick shredded a guitar with a flag image. The entire crowd was dancing in the seats and aisles. It was an outstanding classic rock concert performed by true professionals. Grand Funk Railroad is only performing 40 shows in 2016 and Lake Tahoe was privileged to host one of them.
For the complete set of photos by Larry Sabo, click HERE