Wednesday, December 5, 2007

America: still rockin'

Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell are in their mid 50’s and have been making music for the past 37 years. They’re the main men of a folk rock band, America…and they rocked The Big Dome last night.

Beckley, Bunnell and Peek were sons of American servicemen stationed in UK. The trio formed the band in 1969 until Dan Peek left in ’77. I lost count of the albums they released all these years but I have their Greatest Hits cd, and if I’ll dig into my baol, I’d sure unearth 1 or 2 America cassette tapes.

The music of America is part of my generation. I discovered the band with their song “I Need You”---one of the first songs I practiced my inept guitar skills on way back in high school, more than half a life ago. It was great to rediscover the music of America last night.

When they sang “Ventura Highway”, the audience sang along. And once the audience started, there was no stopping us! “Ventura Highway” brought me back to the afternoons under the shade of an ancient acacia tree where my classmates and I would sing and play the guitar over a well-worn copy of Mop Top magazine.

Every song brings back memories, and the pleasure came on different levels. It felt like a high school reunion of sorts---nobody in the audience, it seemed to me, was younger than 35!  There was a connection, a kinship and we laughed as we sang along---I guess, each of us remembering the people and places we associated with each song.

My favorites are “Sister Golden Hair”, “Daisy Jane”, “You Can Do Magic” and “Muskrat Love”. It was great to listen to the band’s acoustic trademark live. Beckley’s voice quality was not as good as before but hey, Lolo Gerry is still rockin’! Bunnell still has a strong voice and I love his rendition of the “Sandman”…Funny I’ve been there/and you’ve been here/and we aint had no time to drink that beer/I understand you’ve been running from the man who goes by the name of the sandman…

“Tin Man” reminds of an uncle who taught me to play the guitar. My friends and I giggled while singing “Lonely People”. I also enjoyed their version of “California Dreamin’”, originally done by The Mamas and the Papas, way before my time. 

When Beckley sat on the piano and began singing “All My Life”, all of Araneta took out their cel phones and recorded the performance. How could I forget slow dancing to “All My Life” with my high school sweetheart? We were all sweaty and out of breath after all the “Grease” dance steps…but when “All My Life” played, we were on the dance floor in a flash. Oh, those were the days! 

“A Horse with No Name” brought the house down. Our voices galloped all the way to the rooftop of The Dome. You don’t really know how much you miss these classics until you sing them. My vocal chords still reverberate. 

You can still catch America tonight...but in Cagayan de Oro, the last leg of their Philippine tour.

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