Foghat Co-Headlines with John Kay & Steppenwolf for Corpus Christi’s Roar by the Shore, Biker festival

Foghat and John Kay & Steppenwolf
October 11, 2014
Concrete Street Amphitheater- Corpus Christi, TX

The day began under dark thunderhead clouds; you could smell the damp pavement before the rain hit, signaling a storm was in our future. Pulling into Corpus Christi, the humidity reached its point & the clouds could no longer hold the moisture, causing a down pour with the sun shining bright behind us. Just ahead of the car, a rainbow appeared brighter than ever in the sky. Other passengers could be over heard commenting on where the other end of the rainbow lies. About that time it became quite apparent we were at the end of the rainbow due to the cars ahead, pushing a wall of mist over the hood & windshield of the SUV we were in; revealing the aerodynamics of the vehicle. And in this moment, this perfect moment it hit us, not only were we at the end of the rainbow; we were the end of the rainbow, as it could be seen on the windshield of the SUV…

Pulling into the venue to rain stopped for a while allowing the lines to fill up at the front gates. As far as the eye could see were bikers in many different outfits, from around the South Texas area(s), representing their brother-hood & the love for the headlining act John Kay & Steppenwolf’s, 1968 Biker Anthem Born to be Wild. The gates began to open and the media outlets were lead in first. While being patted down & having my camera bag examined, the Concrete Street Amphitheater security team lead in a woman confined to her wheelchair. This tall muscular man dawning a crew-cut & sunglasses asked the lady, “Are you Reverend Lilli McAllister?” The lady nodded her head & answered. The security guard then asked her “I understand you have an Urn with you?” The lady nodded & answered. “This is my son’s father, I wanted to take him along to one more concert… Do you need to see it?” The security guard answered “No ma’am, you are just fine.” He wheeled her into the venue and gave instructions for the other security guards not to search this lady as her Husband calmly pushed her further into the venue.

JHW_6412With no time left to spare, the Corpus Christi natives John Cortez Band was on the pavilion stage faster than the lightning that had previously cracked the sky. They played a tastefully cultured blues set; reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan & cultivated by what could only be described as years of hard work & experience paying off. Complete with blues guitar solos & heavy bass-lines followed by phenomenal drumming, the band played for a very aesthetically pleasing hour long set. John Cortez Band ended their set and the crowd began to take off towards the main stage when the storm came back, but this time 10x’s harder than before; causing the Journey cover-band San Antonio Lights, to cancel their set. The crowd came rushing back to the pavilion stage to seek refuge from the heavy downpour, rumors were already beginning to circulate about the headlining acts canceling their set too, paying no mind to the “Rain or Shine” statement that was printed onto the Ticketmaster tickets.

As the people began to settle back down under the pavilion, the Duke E. Brown band hit the stage to perform for the well-received crowd. This phenomenal Sextet featured a brass section that included a Trumpet & Alto Saxophone that just blew the Corpus Christi crowd away. After their formidable set, members of the Duke E. Brown band walked into the photo pit to shake the hands of the front row. The drummer signed drumsticks and handed them to the anxious fans in the crowd, including the woman confined to her wheelchair, the smile on her face lit up the dimly lit front row. Before the crowd knew it, a bikini contest was underway as nine women were lead onto the stage one by one. The crowd began cheering for their favorite contestant to win. The winner received $1000 while the runners up received $200a piece.

The storm ended again, and the way to the main-stage was well under a foot of water, but this didn’t stop the die-hard fans in attendance on this amazing night of Classic Rock. Hordes of people made their way from the pavilion stage to the main stage, sporting clear plastic ponchos, solidifying the fact they would not let the weather end their night early. The stage lights lit up and the fog machines began to hum, as Foghat began their night on stage. Due to a major delay from weather issues, Foghat only had enough time for a 3 song set. But Foghat pulled out all the stops in their short time on stage. They began their set with Fool for the City… Fool for the City is Foghat’s title track for the English bands 5th studio album that was released in 1975. The album also contains Foghat’s most famous song & their longest running #1 single Slow Ride. The band continued their set with I Just Want to Make Love to You… I Just Want to Make Love to You was originally written by Willie Dixon in 1954 & originally recorded by Muddy Waters. The song being a major hit reached #4 on Billboard Magazine’s Black Singles chart.

Foghat released their version of I Just Want to Make Love to You on their self-titled debut album, in 1972. The track was released as a single & within the same year it reached #83 on Billboard Hot 100 making the single the band’s first hit. I Just Want to Make Love to You was re-released on a 45 rpm along with Fool for the City as a B-Side. The single was edited down from an 8 minute track to a 3 minute track garnering more radio play. The single version reached #33 on the Billboard hot 100…. Foghat’s version was also used on the 1993 hit movie, Dazed & Confused. Foghat ended their phenomenal night with their number one hit single Slow Ride. Through 1975-1976 the track pealed at #20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 & Canada’s RPM Top Singles at #14 & was also featured on the 1993 film Dazed & Confused… The crowd cheered long & hard for Foghat as the members climbed from behind their instruments, to bow & wave at the crowd. The members then began to embrace each other in tight hugs for the wonderful performance & slowly walked off the stage.JHW_6727

Time ticked by slowly, and sky spat on the crowd periodically throughout the event. Foghat’s roadies removed the gear from the stage and all that was left standing was that of Steppenwolf’s… Originally named The Sparrows, the band received their name Steppenwolf from a suggestion songwriter, musician & producer Gabriel Mekler made to John Kay, about a Novel under the same name. Formed in late 1967 in Los Angeles California by front-man John Kay, Keyboardist Goldy McJohn & Drummer Jerry Edmonton. To date, Steppenwolf has sold over 24 million albums worldwide. 8 of them certified gold & garnering twelve Billboard Hot 100 singles, six of the twelve singles peaked on the Top 40 Hits with three Top 10 successes: Born to Be Wild; Magic Carpet Ride & Rock me..

John Kay & Steppenwolf’s night began with a bang as they started off playing Sookie Sookie, the first track of the bands Self-Titled album released January of 1968. The crowd stood from their seats at the amphitheater and began rocking out with the band. Dudes Dancing with Dames, for as far as the eye could see… In the handicapped section the little lady who brought in an Urn was singing behind joyful tears, while her husband held the urn high in the air for “1 last concert event”. Directly after the crowd received the band with standing ovation, screams of joy, cat-call whistles & requests being shouted from the VIP specials eating area… Quickly after the audience calmed down the band went on to play Rock & Roll Rebels & Rock Me before a brief introduction of the band and an explanation of why they were only playing a six song set this night. The fans JHW_6944didn’t mind as Steppenwolf pulled out all the stops and played their 6 major hits for the evening.

The phenomenal night continued as the band played The Pusher… Almost instantly the moment the opening riffs of The Pusher started playing the smell of marijuana hung thick in the air. The crowd began cheering louder than before as the song continued. The crowd sung along with John Kay to the lyrics of “I Smoke A Lot of Grass, Oh Lord I Pop A lot of Pills” The classic rock hit continued full of bluesy guitar & bass riffs along with some light drumming & heavy heart felt singing from front man John Kay.. The night moved right along as the band continued the night with their 1968 hit Magic Carpet Ride off the bands second album titled The Second. John Kay & Steppenwolf ended their night with Born to Be Wild. Born to Be Wild is wildly known as the very first Heavy Metal. Steppenwolf also coined the adjective during the second verse lyric “Heavy Metal Thunder” though John Kay was referring to the sound of the Harley Davidsons rumble as it rides down the road… The crowd gave the band another standing ovation ending this amazing night. What else can be said about this night of two Classic Rock Legends other than We at Soundcheck411 truly feel for you if you have missed out on this phenomenal Tour. Congratulations to Foghat and John Kay & Steppenwolf for almost 50 years of Hard Rocking Hits!

Review by: Jared Wingate 


John Kay & Steppenwolf


Duke E. Brown

John Cortez