A mix tape of retro Buffalo summer concerts from four decades | Music
It wasn’t long before Buffalo’s summer concert season wasn’t sold out unless it was filled with annual classic rock shows led by artists like Peter Frampton, Pat Benatar and Journey.
We liked some bands so much that when there was a separation with a key member of the band, we welcomed them both in concert. (Remember the summers with shows by Styx and Dennis DeYoung or Foreigner and Lou Gramm? We had the best of both worlds.)
These concerts were often sold out and carried a party atmosphere with chants and lighters being raised in unison on the charts. In the theater world, these concerts would be called jukebox shows: the audience came to listen to the hits and that’s what they got.
Well, the 2022 summer concert season looks like another classic rock jukebox show then – except now that the definition spans music from the 1960s and 70s to the 80s and 90s for four decades of Retro hits to take you back to your prime school and college years.
Here’s a look at some of those decade-based gigs with updated band info and songs you’re most likely to hear.
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Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone and the Grassroots. 5:15 p.m. July, Batavia Downs. No one will lead Herman’s Hermits on such fun hits as “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” and “Mrs. Brown, you’ve got a pretty daughter. Grassroots fans can expect to hear the 60s anthem” Let’s Live for Today”, “Temptation Eyes” and “Sooner or Later”.
Earth, Air and Fire. 8 p.m. on July 31 at Artpark. Founded in 1969 by the late Maurice White, the band changed pop music by injecting it with jazz and R&B, among other influences. EW&F continues with Verdine White and Philip Bailey among its members. “Shining Star” and “September” are two of the band’s biggest hits.
Grand Funk Railway. August 12 at the Erie County Fair. Original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher will lead the self-proclaimed “American Band” through Hamburg’s fairgrounds. It’s a stop on the band’s “Some Kind of Wonderful Tour” so expect to hear this song along with “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” and, of course, “We’re An American Band”.
Summer creates a new landscape for gigs as bands move outdoors to amphitheaters, trackside,…
Ted Nugent. 8 p.m. on August 14 and 15 at the Théâtre Riviera. Yes, the Nug dates back to the 1960s when he was a member of the Amboy Dukes before embarking on his solo career. “Great White Buffalo”, “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehood” will most likely be part of the show.
Happy Together Tour. 8 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Erie County Fair. It’s the 12th year for the happiest of tours named after The Turtles’ energetic hit song. This band includes founding member/vocalist Mark Volman and former Archies vocalist Ron Dante. Hits will be non-stop with Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (“Young Girl”, “Lady Willpower”), The Association (“Cherish”, “Windy”), The Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag”, “Don’ t You Care”), The Vogues (“Five O’Clock World”) and The Cowsills with brothers Bob, Paul and Susan (“Hair”, “The Rain The Park and Other Things” AKA “The Flower Girl”).
Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald. 7:30 p.m. June 18 at Lake Darien. This is the first time in 25 years that McDonald’s, Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee have performed together. Expect to hear the first song McDonald sang with the band, “Takin’ It To the Streets,” along with “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.”
Al Stewart. 7:30 p.m. on June 23 at the Riviera Theater. Sit back and enjoy the vibe as the Scottish singer and his band The Empty Pockets perform such sweet folk ballads as ‘Year of the Cat’ and ‘Time Passages’.
38 Special. 5 p.m. July 29 at Batavia Downs. This Southern rock band has always felt like they’ve gone beyond that genre with songs such as “Caught Up in You” and “Hold on Loosely”, heard on their current tour which includes original member Don Barnes.
Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. 4:30 p.m. (doors) Aug. 10 at Highmark Stadium. This heavy metal tour with singers Joe Elliott and Def Leppard (“For Some Sugar on Me”, “Photograph”) also featured Motley Crue with Vince Neil (“Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Smokin’ In the Boys Room” ), Joan Jett (“I love rock ‘n roll”, “Crimson & Clover”) and Poison (“Each rose has its thorn”).
Lionel Richie. 8 p.m. Aug. 26 outside the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls. Richie first rose to prominence as a member of the Commodores, but it was his solo career in the 1980s that propelled him to superstardom. He takes full advantage of his extensive musical catalog and mixes his show with songs from throughout his career, including the ballads “Three Times a Lady”, “Truly”, “Hello” and “Say You, Say Me”.
Totally 80s live. 8 p.m. on June 25 at the Riviera Theater. A night of snyth-pop and New Wave with the Motels led by Martha Davis (“Only the Lonely”, “Suddenly Last Summer”), When in Rome II with founding member Michael Floreale (“The Promise”) and Bow Wow Wow (“I want Candy”, “Will you hold me”).
Spirit of the 80s with China Crisis. 8 p.m. June 26 at Ontario House (358 Main Street, Youngstown). Here’s a chance to see New Wave band Brit China Crisis in an intimate setting. Led by original members Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon, the group sang hits such as “African & White”, “Christian” and “Wishful Thinking”.
Barenaked Ladies, Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket. 6:00 p.m. on July 5 at Artpark. Some of the best pop music of the decade came from this trio: Barenaked Ladies (“Brian Wilson”, “If I Had a $1,000,000” and “The Big Bang Theory Theme”), Gin Blossoms (“Follow You Down”, Hey Jealousy ”) and Toad the Wet Sprocket (“All I Want”, “Fall Down”).
Asia with John Payne. 8 p.m. on July 9 at the Riviera. Note the “featuring” part of this band name as there are two touring versions of the band Asia. Coming to the Riv features Payne who joined Asia in 1992 and was the band’s lead singer for 14 years. He promises all hits like “Heat of the Moment” and “Sole Survivor”. (The “original” Asia, which is still mourning the loss of John Wetton, also tours with Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes.)
NKOTB, Salt N Pepa, Rick Astley and En Vogue. 7:00 p.m. on July 17 at KBC. NKOTB may be the headliner for this “Mixtape” tour, but the song to listen to is Rick Astley’s irresistible “Never Gonna Give You Up” dance number. Some people have waited decades to hear this live.
Goo Goo Dolls. 7 p.m. on September 24 at the KeyBank Center. If you were a music fan in Buffalo in the 1980s, chances are you saw Robby Takac barefoot and Johnny Rzeznik with hair in his eyes rock it all in raw indie-rock club performances. . Within a decade, “Name” arrived and things changed dramatically as the band was jettisoned into stardom. The band’s concerts in Buffalo are always very important. I bet we’ll hear favorites like “Black Balloon”, “Iris”, “Slide”, “Better Days” and, yes, “Name”.
I rule. 5:00 p.m. June 24 at the outer harbor. Debuting in the late ’90s with the hit “Holla Holla,” the rapper spent a busy summer performing with various friends at festivals across the country. He comes here to headline his own show. Could we hear “Holla Holla?” Most likely.
Backstreet Boys. 7:30 p.m. July 3 at Lake Darien. The song says Backstreet’s Back, but fans say they never left. Join Nick Carter and the guys for “Everybody”, “I Want it That Way” and “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”.
Form. 6:30 p.m. July 9 at Lake Darien. Nearly 30 years after forming in San Francisco, this rock band continues to create new music, which means performing mixed with early hits like “Calling All Angels” and “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” at the new tunes “Play That Song” and “50 Ways to Say Goodbye.”
Death Taxi for Cutie. 8 p.m. July 11 at Artpark. It’s hard to believe this indie-rock band formed in college by Ben Gibbard has been around long enough to be considered a retro band. But it’s true. Songs heard at recent concerts include “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, “Title and Registration”, and “You Are a Tourist”.
Paula Cole with Sophie B. Hawkins. 8 p.m. on July 30 at the Riviera Theater. After garnering attention singing with Peter Gabriel, Cole won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1998. Listen to “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” and “I Don’t Want to Wait.” Hawkins is now known as much for her activism as she is for the music “Right Beside You” and “Damn I Wish I was Your Lover.”