With a blink of an eye the 2017 Tuesday in the Park concert series at Artpark came to a close last night. John Kay and Steppenwolf had the honors of putting a feather in this season’s cap. A little of over 3,000 fans enjoyed the solid performance put on by the band. It also marked the smallest crowd of the season part due to the late July announcement of the show.
Many Steppenwolf diehards considered this show a treat as it had been ten years since they had last played Artpark. The band also only plays a limited amount of less than ten shows a year so to have this show at nearby Artpark was a delight.
While John Kay may be the only original member of the band, the rest of his current gang have been aboard for at least twenty some years. The current version includes drummer Ron Hurst, guitarist Danny Johnson, bassist Gary Link and keyboardist Michael Wilk.
The one thing that was evident Tuesday night was how fresh and vibrant the sound was. Hearing those old songs sound so crisp really added to the charm of the show. Kay even mentioned the seldom known fact that he lived in Buffalo during 1963-64. He mentioned how he went to the Buffalo Public Library and came across the name of McKinley Morganfield. He asked who was that? It turned out that was the full name for the legendary Muddy Waters as he introduced “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man”, a Willie Dixon song that was first recorded by Waters in 1954.
Among the highlights were “Hold On (Never Give Up, Never Give In), “Monster” a song Kay said fit right in with all that’s going on in the world today, and of course “Magic Carpet Ride”.
Saving the best for last Kay led the band through a stellar version of the all-time classic “Born To Be Wild”. That was the song everyone was waiting for and it did not disappoint. Even at 73 years old, Kay performed the song with more zest than some artists could half his age.
I had many skeptical colleagues who weren’t too keen when this show was first announced. They felt it was a weak choice to end the season with these guys. By shows end they along with the rest of the small but appreciative crowd were left applauding a job well done by John Kay and Steppenwolf. For one night, the band left the fans with the urge to keep climbing and never wanting to die. Good words to live by. Till next year we are signing off from Artpark. Nanu! Nanu!
Rock & Roll Rebels
I’m Movin On
Who Needs Ya
Hey Lawdy Mama
Hold On (Never Give Up, Never Give In)
Ride With Me, Baby
Give Me News I Can Use
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Rise and Shine
Magic Carpet Ride
Born to Be Wild