By photojournalist Dave Moto
Thursday night two of the most iconic, longest lasting bands in the rock industry, Grand Funk Railroad and Jefferson Starship brought their current tour here to Tampa. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa played host to a completely sold out show.
The bands both boast nearly 50 years in the business and a long list of hits to show why. The Hardrock, in my opinion is the absolute best venue, hands down (pun intended), to see any band in a up close and personal way. Here is where I was going to make a comment about the age of the majority of the crowd, until I realized they were all MY age!! Ironically, my very first concert at the age of 12 was Grand Funk Railroad and having the opportunity to shoot this show was an incredible experience.
In a time where we read about aging bands putting on lackluster shows, and not having the same vocal capabilities as years past, let me tell you Thursday night this 100% was not the case. Max Carl of GFR and Cathy Richardson of Jefferson Starship were both amazing, but Founding Starship member David Freiberg, gave the most impressive vocal show I have ever heard a male vocalist deliver! He sang lead on numerous songs during the night, dedicating songs to past members no longer with us. Each time, he showed a vocal range and clarity that literally left me so mesmerized, I would forget to press the shutter button on my camera and found myself attempting to sing along with the rest of the sold out crowd.
Jefferson Starship delivered a massive set without one pyro bomb, laser light or any other prop. None were needed as they flawlessly played one hit after another. Jane, Find Your Way Back, We Built This City and many more. My only complaint was that it ended way to soon.
Headliners, Grand Funk Railroad hit the stage with a head of steam that left the entire crowd breathless. Led by former .38 Special frontman Max Carl and former Kiss Guitarist Bruce Kulick, the bands current lineup has been unchanged since 2000. We were treated to past hits Locomotion, Some Kind of Wonderful and Bad Time. But it was the shows final song we all waited on. As the band hit the first notes of “We’re An American Band” the entire sold out arena was on their feet and stayed that way until the end. Grand Funk gave us all what Rock N Roll is meant to be. Raw, gritty, loud and most important, timeless.
It was an absolute honor for this to be my last show for Tampa Bay Music News. I am moving on to a new chapter in life next week as I relocate to the mountains of Tennessee after 40 years here in Tampa. I have been blessed to be a part of TBMN and forever thankful to George Hudak for all of the opportunities he has trusted me with and the knowledge he has shared with me. This is Tampa’s premiere music source and some of the most talented photographers and journalist call this home. I will forever miss my incredible team/family. It’s not goodbye, just see you later!!!