America is a pioneer folk-rock band that emerged in the early ’70s, obtaining international success and fame. They formed (initially a trio now a duo) fresh out of high school in 1969. This hippie duo has composed legendary hits such as “Need Me”, Sister Golden Hair Surprise” and the famed, “Horse With No Name”. Many of their songs are still played on rock stations all over the world because they are some of the most treasured classics of all time.
The Videotron stage at the festival was perfect for America’s sound. The stage was nestled in a park behind the War Museum. A grassy hill faced the stage and luscious green trees bordered the water on the other side of the park. The acoustics were exquisite and sweetly enveloped a modest and mellow crowd.
America nailed all those incredible harmonies they are famous for. Whether they were singing one of their own tunes, or, when they covered “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas.
They didn’t disappoint their fans tonight because they put on a great show with passion and pleasure. It was also informative and fresh when Bunnell shared some background about their history and beginnings. He has a great sense of humor and wit, saying, “We were seventeen sitting on stools…opening for bands like The Who…then when we went on, the crowd went “mild!”
Bunnell took a moment to recognize Sir George Martin, (renown producer), and how grateful they were for his influence. Then, they paid tribute to Martin and played the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”.
They took us down a nostalgic bittersweet trip, with background projections of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, as they sang “Sandman”.
From being inducted into the “Vocal Group Hall of Fame” and being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to regularly touring and recording, the band has made their mark in history.
Beckley and Bunnell are still fabulously active and will continue their 50th-anniversary tour into the US for “as long as you will keep coming to see us”, said Bunnell.
Gerry Beckley –vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, harmonica
Dewey Bunnell – vocals, guitars, percussion
Richard Campbell – bass, vocals
Ryland Steen – drums
You Can Do Magic
Don’t Cross the River
I Need You Here
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles cover)
Only in Your Heart
California Dreamin (The Mamas & the Papas cover)
Sister Golden Hair
A Horse With No Name
Photo Credits: Greg Kotz