Moondance Jam concluded its 23rd festival on Saturday July 19, and it just seemed the party ended too quickly, even though people have been out there since Wednesday. It’s true when you are having the best time of your life, you really don’t want that moment to end. That’s probably what 25,000 jammers were saying as Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon shouted to the crowd, we really don’t want to say goodbye, so let’s keep this thing going a little longer. And a little longer it did, REO Speedwagon performed right up to 12:30 AM before walking off the stage, with people wanting more.
The final day of the Jam was a perfect lineup. Starting things out were 80’s rockers Slaughter, who stirred up an already excited crowd for an afternoon show. Guitarist Dana Strum really played it up to the crowd, and they went nuts. Mark Slaughter’s vocals sounded strong and clear, that’s quite a feat considering all the screaming he is able to do at any given time. The drummer is something out of this world his ability to toss a drum stick to Slaughter or any other band member and have them catch it and throw it back to him without missing a beat was stunning to watch.
Following Slaughter was Badfinger who had significant following in the 70’s. Although only one original member remains, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist, Joey Molland had some great energy for this Moondance crowd. Badfinger is best known for its anthem, “Day After Day.” And many are probably not aware that they created the hit, “Without You,” which would go on decades later spanning a Billboard No. 1 hit for superstar Mariah Carey.
The Wallflowers would take the stage next and the band since its inception in the 90’s have had numerous personnel replacements. The only original member of the group was Jakob Dylan, who is the son of the legendary singer songwriter Bob Dylan from Hibbing Minnesota. The Wallflowers performed very well together, although the only song that most people were familiar with was “One Headlight.”
One of the most amazing things in the history of the festival would happen next. A service man in the armed forces would be honored on his retirement during the salute to the troops segment and it would be safe to say that everyone got a little choked up too. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. What an honor to be a part of such a wonderful event.
A man needing no introduction after 40 years of hits would follow Dylan. Mr. “I Drink Alone” George Thorogood and the Destroyers. What a class act, the man is a legend in his own right. Such a smooth presentation and audience interaction. He soared through his mountain of songs, and those faces he makes are out of this world. Thorogood said well if someone goes to jail, it might as well be me! The “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” singer ended his set with a stellar performance of “Bad to the Bone.”
REO Speedwagon would close out Moondance 23 with a fantastic show that they are well known for. Songs like “Keep on Loving You,” “Take it On the Run,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” Kept this crowds attention. Lead singer Kevin Cronin paid a tribute to the late founder of Moondance, Bill Bieloh as well. REO Speedwagon performed for a good hour and a half before leaving the stage.
People could be heard singing REO songs on the shuttle buses all night long. The campsite fires burned well until the sun came up, and some people didn’t sleep at all, they didn’t want to forget the memories they made with this amazing festival of music. Millions of snap shots were made, lasting friendships mended, and new friends came along and learned for the first time how to sing the songs of Moondance.