Sykesville PA - Badfinger Show
The Sykesville Ag and Youth Fair - Badfinger in concert - August 10, 2001
Well, I just got my photos back from the most phenomenal Badfinger show that I have seen so far! I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. Just where is Sykesville, Pennsylvania anyhow? Well, for aficionados of American culture, Sykesville is just 10 miles up the road from Punxsutawney - the home of the world-famous weather forecasting groundhog - Punxsutawney Phil! Every year on February 2nd, (Groundhog Day) the official groundhog is drug out of his hole and if he sees his shadow, we are all in trouble because winter will have it icy grip on the northeast for another 6 weeks!
Sykesville is a small community tucked in-between the hills of Pennsylvania, just off US-80. [ http://www.sykesvillefair.org/ ]
The Sykesville Ag and Youth Fair is a yearly event that showcases local farm related wares, machinery and animals. There is a small carnival midway and monster truck shows, tractor pulls and demolition derbies. Just like the much larger State Fairs, but at a local level. Actually, they are quite fun.
Joey's Badfinger was scheduled to appear on Friday night at 7:30 PM. So I made the 6.5 hour trip from Ohio to Sykesville to see the show. I knew that I wanted to see Joe and the band at least one more time this summer, and this looked like it would be a good show... And how right I was! There was a second reason for me making this long trip - I was to finally meet up with fellow Badfinger fan and webmaster Brian Fagnano (Brando's Badfinger Page). Brian only lives about 2 hours away and we made plans to see the show together. Great!
I arrived at the fairgrounds a bit early, so I strolled around and became familiar with the area. Tickets for the event were on sale for either $6.00 bleacher seats, or $8.00 floor. The all-purpose building that the show was to be in was quite impressive. It must have been only a few years old, it was huge and state fair coliseum like - four stories tall and completely open with a dirt floor. The stage was set up against the center back wall. The sound system was being tested as I walked in and it sounded really good and clean. The lighting set-up was also in place and a fogging machine was being tested. Very nice effect! Shooting light rays behind the drums and individual spot light for each microphone. Looks like a very professional set-up!
I purchased my floor ticket and went to scope out my seat in the front row... Oops! That huge wooden beam blocking my view of the stage will not do! Back to the ticket office - "I have a camera with a tripod." "May I have a center isle seat even if it is a little further back?" No problem! "How about seat #1, row F?" Perfect! Center stage, on an isle, 5 rows back... I will be able to cover the entire stage with a sweep from my tripod and better still, I can get up and go right to the front of the stage for all those great close-up shots! Should be a good set-up for me. Okay Brian, where are you?
Just a little past 7:00 PM, Joey and the band arrive from the airport. They are running a bit late as they were caught up in traffic. No! Cars, not cows!! ;-) They quickly take the stage and begin the set-up for the show. They do a quick run through of "Come And Get It" and all of a sudden, I notice that quite a few people are now lined up behind me... Hummmm! Seems like I started something! At just about 7:30, they allow everyone to stream into the coliseum to find their seats. I get to mine and begin setting up the tripod as to claim 'my space' around me. After a few minutes as I'm still fooling around with my set-up, a lightly bearded guy with glasses walks up to me and says "Alaska hat. Is that you Rick?" Brian has made it to the show. Excellent! We meet at last...
Brian's seat is just down 4 rows and over 10 seats or so. But there is a seat open right across from me and Brian moves his stuff over to it. We chit-chat a bit until Joey and band take the stage a few minutes later. The concert is about to begin. Joe walks up to the mic, looks out over the audience, (of several hundred) and jokes: "Is everyone else at the school bus demolition?" "When I first heard that it was a school bus demo, I thought that you were going to pick out the new school busses for next year!" (laughs) "I didn't know that you were going to smash them up!" (laughs) Joe has just captured the entire audience. Joe spins around and kicks into the first song - the evening begins...
"Come And Get It" is the opening number and the band sounds great, the lighting is terrific, and the audience is up and cheering! Wow! What an opening! After that song, Joe goes through the band line-up for 2001. Billy Davis - Guitars; Mark Healey - Bass; John Richardson - Drums; Steve Wozny - Keyboards; and Joe Molland - Guitars...
The set list for this evening was the following: (sung by)
Come And Get It (Joey Molland) I Don't Mind (Joey) Suitcase (Joey) Baby Blue (Joey) Meanwhile Back At The Ranch (Billy Davis) /Should I Smoke (Joey) The Dreamer (Joey) Midnight Caller (Mark Healey) Money (Joey & Mark) Flying (Joey) Without You (Billy) Midnight Sun (Mark) Day After Day (Billy) Vampire Wedding (Joey) No More (Joey) No Matter What (Joey) Come And Get It - reprise Encore - Mean Mean Jemima (Joey)
No songs from Joey's new CD, "This Way Up" are presented, but several of the songs feature some excellent extended guitar solo work from both Joe and Billy. The band was really together for this show! Joe and Mark and Billy each took their turns talking with the audience between most of the songs. There were more jokes and lots of banter between the band during the entire show. Everyone: band and audience was having a great time. The crowd knew the songs, and after every number, the audience applause was loud - during the songs, people were up and dancing by their seats. Everyone was in a festive mood, all because of the songs that we knew so well. Joe and the band fed off this energy and gave a performance that reflected that enthusiasm back to us.
The encore song was "Mean Mean Jemima" that Joe announced as, "...a bit of a rocker!" The song exploded across the speakers to an audience that was on it's feet, clapping their hands, and shouting their lungs out! It was the perfect song to close out the show for the evening. The standing ovation continued for several minutes after the last song... Great, great show!
After about 10 minutes, about a hundred people were waiting for Joe and the rest of the band to come out and sign autographs and chat. A table was set up and Joe, Mark, John, Steve and Billy sat down and proceeded to take the better part of an hour spending time with each person in the line. Brian and I talked with several Badfinger fans, including Sandy, who traveled from New Jersey for the show, and her friend, Cary, from the Washington D.C. area! Both have been followers of the band for a very long time. Another great time for all of us, and it is always special to meet new friends.
After the crowd cleared out, Mark and John stayed out on the floor and chatted some more with Cary and Sandy. I popped my head into the hospitality tent and asked Joe if I could come in. He said, "Sure Rick!" I asked Joe about when some of the new songs would be incorporated into the set. He stated that very soon, some of the songs would probably be used. He asked me what I thought about the new CD and I told him that I thought that it was very good, well worth the wait. I then asked him about the recordings that were mentioned some time ago of the 'Sweet Basil' shows in Japan in 1999. Joe stated that at the time, the band thought that the shows went very well and that the recordings would be of a very high quality. But unfortunately, once they were listened to back here in the States, the sonic quality was just not there... Joe also stated that he would still like to do a live album and that he has lots of tapes, especially from several years ago that sound really great. So maybe that will surface someday.
Brian and I said 'goodbye' to Sandy, Cary and the rest of the band. And we each headed off to our cars - Brian to drive back home yet that evening, and me, back to the motel. It was another excellent Badfinger concert and get together - well worth the drive for me.
Credit where credit is due...
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