It’s been 50 years since the band America was formed in London England by Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek and Gerry Beckley. The three met in London Central High School in the late 60’s as children of United States Air Force personnel and soon began making music together. Dan Peek left the band in 1977 and Bunnell and Beckley have been performing as a duo for over 40 years with a talented group of accompanying musicians. That’s the show that fans were treated to this past Thursday when America’s 50th Anniversary tour stopped at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Windsor.
Opening with Tin Man from the bands 4th studio album Holiday, the duo played a steady flow of fan favourites, mostly from their most successful period of the early 70’s. Bunnell and Beckley mostly stood behind the mics with their acoustics for the first three songs, giving the show a rather mellow and reserved feel.
On the fourth song, 1975’s Daisy Jane, Beckley came out and played keys and the show started to wake up a little. From there it seemed like there was a guitar or bass solo on just about every song. Touring musicians Richard Campbell (bass), Ryland Steen (drums) and Steve Fekete (guitars and keyboards) provided some great instrumental moments and filled the vocal harmonies nicely.
Bunnell and Beckley still have pretty good voices for having done this for 50 years, but, except for a few rare singers (Tony Bennett comes to mind), most performers benefit from a little help from their band as they age. Just before doing a cover of The Beatles, Eleanor Rigby, Bunnell talked to the crowd about how in 1974 the band started a musical relationship with a fellow by the name of Sir George Martin. He joked that he had a short stint with a band called the Beatles before producing 5 albums for America. Two of those albums produced the number one hits Tin Man and Sister Golden Hair.
There were some great retro video and snapshots during a few of the songs. Ventura Highway had some vintage footage of cruising and surfing along the California coast along with some early footage of the band performing. Hollywood had a lot of Hollywood landmarks and old film stars projected on the giant screen behind them and Sandman had clips of the Vietnam War and protests. After some extended soloing at the end of the song Hollywood, Bunnell said to the crowd, “I know what you’re thinking, that came dangerously close to becoming a jam”. There were some other humorous moments such as Beckley telling everyone that Greenhouse was the first rock song written about gardening and Bunnell reminiscing about the early days in England doing a 20 minute acoustic set opening for bands like Pink Floyd and The Who.
The show finished strong with 4 of their biggest hits, Lonely People, Sandman, Sister Golden Hair and for the encore, A Horse with No Name. The near capacity crowd sang along to many of the songs and applauded enthusiastically most of the night. This was a great trip back through memory lane and an overall entertaining evening.
America continues its 50th Anniversary Tour across North America until June 27 in Bethesda MD then heads across the ocean for some European dates starting in July. For more information about America visit https://www.venturahighway.com
More exciting upcoming shows at Caesars Windsor include Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (March 20), rapper and actor Ice Cube (March 26), Mr. Worldwide Pitbull (March 29), REO Speedwagon (April 3), and Jason Derulo (April 10). For a complete listing of upcoming shows visit https://www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor/shows
Photos by Dan Boshart
Dan Boshart is a talented photographer from Windsor, Ontario, who is looking forward to spending more time on concert photography when he retires from his full time job in the automotive industry. In addition to shooting bands, he has an interest in travel, architectural and street photography. Some of Dan’s photos can be viewed on Instagram and he can be followed on Twitter or his 27th Floor Photography Facebook Page.