May 7, 2017
by Michelle Wilson of Rock Legends Photographers
Grand Funk Railroad headlined a picture-perfect Sunday festival at historic Cocoa Village, Florida's Riverfront Park, presented by the Cocoa Rotary Foundation to benefit the Boys and Girls Club. The tunes were cranking, the beer was flowing and the crowd was loving every minute of it. Multiple boats were anchored in the river, taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and the epic music from the iconic band, which still includes founding members Don Brewer (drums/vocals) and Mel Schacher (bass) as well as Max Carl (guitar/harp/vocals, formerly of 38 Special), Bruce Kulick (guitar/vocals, formerly of Kiss) and Tim Cashion (keys/vocals).
Rockin' since 1969, Grand Funk Railroad still possesses the high energy and major fun factor to keep people on their feet, dancing and singing along. Highly interactive with the crowd and hamming it up at every turn, these guys put on one heck of a show. Brewer still has the chops to pound his kit like a 20 year old - I wish I had as much energy as he does! He cranked out a drum solo that would rival anyone more than half his age, followed by a kick-ass Star-Spangled Banner featuring an intense guitar solo from Kulick. Brewer carried an American flag on stage accompanied by two little boys while the band played on in an extremely patriotic showing.
GFR's set list has been relatively consistent over the past several years, including "Bottle Rocket" and "Second Chance," both written by Max Carl (Carl a co-writer on the latter and one that he originally performed with 38 Special). Other songs in the set included the GFR number one hit, "The Loco-Motion," written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and produced by Todd Rundgren, and several songs written or co-written by former founding member, Mark Farner (some with Don Brewer), including "Rock & Roll Soul," "Footstompin'," "Shinin' On," "Walk Like A Man" and "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)." Also mixed in were "Inside Looking Out," originally recorded by The Animals, and the King/Goffin-penned "Some Kind of Wonderful," a fan favorite that had the entire crowd belting out the lyrics.
Sporting a red, white and blue Uncle Sam hat, Brewer and his band mates launched into a rousing rendition of the Brewer-penned, Rundgren-produced number one hit, "We're An American Band," with full audience participation that closed out the spectacular show. Oddly, there was no encore, but the crowd heard what it came to hear and enjoyed every moment. This is a band that still truly enjoys what it does, and that enjoyment surely does come across in their worthy stage performance.
Check out the full gallery of photos taken by me and Michael Yanko from Rock Legends Photographers at the link: