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Lew Bundles

EC Concert Review w/America

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America is returning

America, comprised of Dan Peek, Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, returns to Philadelphia in concert at The Spectrum on Friday, April 23, 8 p.m.

Also appearing will be Arista Recording artist Eric Carmen. Tickets are $7.50, $6.50 and $5.50.

As America is celebrating its Bicentennial, the group America will be seven years old. It’s been nearly six years since their first hit single, "Horse With No Name,”  topped the charts.

Eric Carmen is now a star on his own. His hit single, "All By Myself" still is selling even after it reached a million units in sales. Carmen was formerly with the "Raspberries."

—Bucks County Courier Times, April 18, 1976

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America, Eric Carmen and Weather Report: Color them all average
By John David Kalodner

Two adequate but far from outstanding concerts graced the area this weekend, both, however, playing seemingly fulfilled SRO audiences. Friday evening, America and Eric Carmen brought their pop pabulum to the Spectrum, and Saturday the progressive jazz-rock of Weather Report filled the Tower Theater.

Along with the Eagles, America has reached the top of the highly lucrative folk-rock pop market. With hit after hit since their first offering, "Horse With No Name" in early 1972, the group is one of the industry’s biggest record sellers, abetted by the production talents of former Beatles producer George Martin.

Therein lies the group's greatest problem. For no matter how hard Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley try, they are just unable to approach the feel or energy of their exquisite recordings.

 The group's outstanding songs were the focal point of the show, with "I Need You," "Lonely People," "Ventura Highway," and "Tin Man" the real highlights. Most of the time, however, their slightly off-key harmonies, mushy playing, and acute lack of energy marred their impact. As pop songwriters and studio musicians, few can match the potency and perfection of the trio, but on stage, America could only be considered average.

Opening for America was fast-rising pop singer-songwriter Eric Carmen. Reviewed here recently, he has since had a number one single, "All By Myself," and is on his way to a string of top-ten hits. In concert, Carmen's performance is fine, but his show is ravaged by a misfit back-up band. As previously noted, until Carmen surrounds himself with musicians of his own caliber, his stage success will continue to fall short of his recording achievements.

Moving to the other side of the contemporary music scene, Weather Report's convoluted, atonal jazz was the focus of Saturday's musical offerings. Changing directions many times since their formation in the early 1970's, and retaining only two of their original line-up, Joe Zawinul on keyboards and Wayne Shorter on sax, the group has lost some of its purity.

Considered virtuoso players as individuals, the five members seem to be just a handful of musicians on stage at the same time, instead of a cohesive group. Compared to a group such as Return To Forever, Weather Report has become a group of second-class citizens in the musical genre that they created.

—Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 1976

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Soooo... the interesting part of the review is that it was written by John David Kolodner. The same John David Kolodner that signed Eric to the Geffen label eight years later!


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