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There's always room for America

Palace Theater, Greensburg Pa., June 18, 2023

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

You may have heard about musicians putting in their 10,000 hours. But America has taken it to another level. They have played over 5,000 shows over their 50-year career.

Founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell play with telepathic precision. They opened with "Tin Man" and initially chose songs from their first three albums. So, you didn't have to wait long for "Ventura Highway" and the multitude of iconic breezy ballads that comprise their discography.

Beckley and Bunnell proved themselves more than capable on guitar, but ace sideman Steve Fekete was an absolute monster on electric and stole the show with blistering runs and reinterpretations of songs like the bluegrass tinged "Don't Cross The River" where he somehow injected '90s angst int the vein of Avril Lavigne with whom he used to play.

They gave a shout out to their former producer George Martin who worked on seven consecutive America albums and a few for an outfit you may know - The Beatles. Beckley said, "This is our favorite cover song" and launched into "Nowhere Man "complete with a psychedelic background video.

They also played "California Dreamin'" with a befitting video of vintage Los Angeles and the Laurel Canyon years. Beckley churned out most of the light banter, recounting the time they opened for Pink Floyd with the crowd "going mild."

Sure, the band's demographic is now older. The big arena days may be past them, but to hear how they handle the ache of "Lonely People" followed by the blistering "Sandman" seamlessly is a masterclass in versatility as is their entire catalog. There is always room for legends anytime.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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