Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Music

‘Mark Farner’ Electrifies Huge ‘Blast Friday’ Crowd in Downtown Clearwater

See also

Mark Farner 'Blast Friday' Concert in Clearwater

Rating:
Star5
Star
Star
Star
Star

Legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Mark Farner arrived in downtown Clearwater on Friday night and impassioned a large audience of Grand Funk Railroad and classic rock music enthusiasts.

More Photos

The occasion was the traditional ‘Blast Friday,’ Clearwater’s jubilant monthly street festival on Cleveland Street, located right outside the front doors of the historic Capitol Theatre. The event showcases concerts by legendary artists from classic rock to country music. The shows are free and managed by Ruth Eckerd Hall. Happening on the last Friday of every month … great food, beer, wine and beverages are available to purchase while restaurants on Cleveland Street stay open for business including outdoor dining. The event is sponsored by Bright House Networks.

The evening began with Tampa Bay’s own Stormbringer taking the stage. Stormbringer dazzled the enthusiastic crowd with cover favorites from Kansas, Styx, The Moody Blues, and numerous other classic rock acts. My personal favorite was their impeccable rendition of “Nights in White Satin.” From 1990-96 Stormbringer featured violinist/vocalist Robby Steinhardt of the progressive rock group Kansas. The band has also opened for countless legendary rock favorites. The Stormbringer lineup is… John Vasalakis (lead vocals), Rick Moon (guitar and vocals), Dana Newcomer (drums), Eddie Pecchio (bass guitar and vocals) and John Zahner (keyboards and vocals).

After their incredible set ….Grand Funk Railroad legend Mark Farner spiritedly took the stage accompanied by Stormbringer. The 65 year old Flint, Michigan native was remarkable as always. Farner opened his setlist with... “Are You Ready” (1969) from Grand Funk Railroad’s debut studio release On Time. Mark looked amazingly strong and fit and his vocals sublime. Mark had a pacemaker implanted in October of 2012. Farner persevered with his powerful and awe-inspiring set … “Rock & Roll Soul” (1972) from Phoenix their sixth studio album followed by an exhilarating rendition of … “Foot Stompin’ Music” (1971) from E Pluribus Funk, Grand Funk Railroad’s fifth studio album. The tune featured a dynamic keyboard performance by Farner. The ensuing anthem and Grand Funk’s signature classic… “We’re an American Band” (#1 Billboard hit in 1973) from the album with the shared title was brilliantly performed by Farner and Stormbringer.

The show entertainingly progressed with… “Aimless Lady” (1970) from the proverbial favorite Closer to Home album …“The Loco-motion” a Goffin/King penned arrangement performed by Grand Funk on the Shinin’ On release. “The Loco-motion” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1974. Mark Farner performed several additional tracks from Closer to Home (1970) including “I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues… the power rock ballad & concert favorite “Mean Mistreater” …and the hard / heavy rocker “Sins a Good Man’s Brother.”

Winding down a riveting and nostalgia evening … Farner performed two top ten favorites from the album All the Girls in the World Beware!!!(1974) … “Bad Time” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.Also included in the set was the early Grand Funk Railroad heavy metal gem “Paranoid” (1969) from the Grand Funk album.

Mark Farner with Stormbringer concluded a beautiful evening in downtown Clearwater with perhaps Farner’s most recognized and cherished song… “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home).” If you close your eyes you could almost relive that magical concert event at Shea Stadium in 1971, when Grand Funk Railroad toppled The Beatles record for selling out Shea stadium.

Grand Funk disbanded in 1983. The band sold over 50-million records worldwide. In ’96 Grand Funk reunited briefly and toured with the original line-up of Mark, Don and Mel.

Mark Farner will be back in Clearwater, Florida performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday June 13th with the ‘Happy Together Tour’ starring The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, Mark Farner formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, Gary Lewis & The Playboys,and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. For tickets visit [HERE] or call 727-791-7400 for more information.

The final ‘Blast Friday’ concert of the season will be on May 30th starring The Edgar Winter Band. ...It’s always a FREE concert!

Mark Farner’s latest single is entitled “Take You Out” (2014) and available to purchase on amazon.com

Mark Farner’s most recent solo album is entitled ‘For the People’ (2006) and also available to purchase at amazon.com

Mark Farner official website

Mark Farner tour dates

Mark Farner on Facerbook

Mark Farner on Myspace

Stormbringer official website

Stormbringer on Facebook

Stormbringer tour dates

Very special thanks to Leisa Farner and Mark Bowsher

Coming up NEXT … My recent interview with Chris Thompson former lead singer and guitarist of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (“Blinded by the Light”)

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at rockraymond.shasho@gmail.com

Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com - Please support Ray by purchasing his book so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.

“Check the Gs is just a really cool story ... and it’s real. I’d like to see the kid on the front cover telling his story in a motion picture, TV sitcom or animated series. The characters in the story definitely jump out of the book and come to life. Very funny and scary moments throughout the story and I just love the way Ray timeline’s historical events during his lifetime. Ray’s love of rock music was evident throughout the book and it generates extra enthusiasm when I read his on-line classic rock music column on examiner.com. It’s a wonderful read for everyone!”stillerb47@gmail.com

Visit Ray Shasho’s classic rock music blogs at www.classicrockhereandnow.com

And www.classicrockmusicwriter.com

© Copyright rayshasho.com. All Rights Reserved

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Ted Nugent
    Ted Nugent concert at Native American casino canceled because of obvious reasons
    Music Buzz
  • NFL
    Pat Bowlen steps down as Broncos owner following Alzheimer's diagnosis
    Video
    NFL Buzz
  • Tina Fey
    See why Tina Fey is possibly the most popular woman in comedy at the moment
    Today's Buzz
  • Mick Jagger
    Mick Jagger promotes 'Get On Up' in New York, including Apollo Theater premiere
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Boyhood
    The new film 'Boyhood' chronicles twelve years of one boy's life
    Camera
    19 Photos
  • Buffy
    We're counting down ten of the finest episodes of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
    Camera
    7 Photos

Related Videos: