Sunday, June 03, 2001

Southern rockers roll on at Volunteer Jam

By Scott Moore
Enquirer contributor

        The Ohio River was barely low enough for a concert when the crowd arrived for the rescheduled Volunteer Jam at Riverbend Thursday night. The rain held off until the end, though, for a cool evening of Southern rock.

        Trent Summar and the New Row Mob opened the show, playing through their tunes from the last millennium and proving that there's a little room in the new millennium for their brand of rock 'n' roll.

        The Dickey Betts Band was next with their own recipe of Southern rock fried in a batter of Santana-influenced Latin beats.

        Taking the stage amid a flurry of helicopter-like drum sounds and a sample of Wagner's “Ride of the Valkeries,” .38 Special quickly had the audience singing along on “Rocking Into the Night,” followed by “20th Century Fox.”

        Surprisingly diverse in age, the audience spread out on the amphitheater lawn, but was sparse in the pavilion. Confederate flag T-shirts, red bandanas and cowboy hats were worn with pride by “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” (the band's next song).

        The biggest hit-makers on the bill, .38 Special, took the audience on a trip down memory lane with a medley of from the 1980s, including “Fantasy Girl,” “Somebody Like You” and the movie title hit, “Teacher Teacher.” The crowd was tripping on nostalgia and screaming for an encore, and the band did not disappoint, returning to the stage to play its biggest hit, “Hold On Loosely.”

        Unfortunately, the band was unable to resist the temptation to overstay its welcome and subsequently launched into another medley of old tunes.

        The Charlie Daniels Band rounded out the evening, treating the audience to a fiddle-fest of Southern melodies. Clad in a white button-down shirt sporting red and blue cows, black pants and a silver belt buckle almost as big as his 10-gallon hat, Mr. Daniels rosined up his bow and went to town with his unique blend of down-home country and rock 'n' roll. A virtuoso on the fiddle, Mr. Daniels picked up his sunburst Les Paul guitar and rocked through “Mississippi Mud.” Dickey Betts sat in with the band on “Saddle Tram,” which evolved into an all-out jam session, complete with dueling guitar solos. This left at least one of the three guitarists onstage a little out of tune,

        Mr. Daniels brought the crowd to its feet with “The House Is A-Rockin.” Then he nearly brought them to their knees with a soulful rendition of Lynrd Skynrd's classic “Free Bird.”

        The crowd favorite by far was the finale, the Charlie Daniels Band's one bona fide pop hit, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” It sent a lot of the crowd dancing all the way to the parking lot.


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