Marshall Tucker Band Takes the Highway to the Jupiter Seafood Festival
By Steve Muzzy, Space Coast News
The weather was perfect, the food fantastic, and the beer was cold. The crowd at the 2nd annual Jupiter, Florida Seafood Festival was the type of crowd you would expect in this small town on Florida’s east coast – friendly, happy, and ready to hear some great music. The people came to not just hear any music - they wanted to hear some great southern rock from an old favorite - the Marshall Tucker Band. Since MTB was announced as the headlining act back in January, the buzz around town made this a must see event.
The band arrived at the festival about 45 minutes before the show began to do what they always do – take the time to meet old friends and spend time with their loyal fans. Original member, Doug Gray, has been the lead vocalist since The Marshall Tucker Band exploded onto the scene in 1972. On this night, it was obvious that even after 41 years; he still brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm as the front man for the Marshall Tucker Band. Now 65, Gray also takes on the role of CEO of the Marshall Tucker Band. In this role, he skillfully utilizes the considerable talents of all members of the band in a manner that leaves this writer to believe and hope that MTB will continue to entertain their fans for many years to come.
Before the show, Doug commented that he had celebrated his daughters 21st birthday the night before and by all accounts he cut loose with gusto that will not soon be forgotten. When I spoke with the other band members before the show on what may be on the set list for the show, they simply said “we will know when you know”. With a vast catalog available, it is no wonder that no two MTB shows are the same.
With Long Hard Ride serving as the intro music, the show started with “This ‘Ol Cowboy’ from the Where We All Belong Album. Based on the crowd’s reaction and appreciation to have the band on stage – it did not look like too many folks would be spending the night alone. The classic southern rock anthem Take the Highway was next up and featured the incredibly skilled Marcus James Henderson on Saxophone and Lead Vocals. The Chris Hick’s tune “Dog eat Dog World” followed and was served up as a tribute to all of the hard working folks in the audience. Hicks, Henderson, and long-time drummer B.B. Borden were noteworthy for the their quality musicianship and were warmly received by the Florida audience on this beautiful April Saturday night. They, along with guitarists Rick Willis and Pat Elwood provide all of the evidence needed that the Marshall Tucker Band, under the guidance of Doug Gray, will continue to please their fans for many years to come. Other songs on the set for this night were Heard it in a Love Song, 24 Hours at a Time, Fire on the Mountain, and Can’t You See. Can’t You See, recently recognized as the best Southern Rock song of all time, was met with thunderous approval as the crowd happily and loudly joined in whenever prompted by Doug.
Sensing this great crowd was not ready to call it evening, Doug and the band decided to stick around even longer. All true Marshall Tucker Band fans would revel in what followed. Before I list the songs that came next, it is important for this long-time Marshall Tucker Band fan to offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Doug Gray for keeping the Marshall Tucker Band alive for 41 years. Each and every show, Doug Gray pays tribute to his former bandmates from the early days. Many times, this tribute will be in a form of a story or sharing a memory. The late and beloved Caldwell brothers –Toy and Tommy, and George McCorkle remain in the minds and hearts of many long time fans such as myself due to hard work and dedication of Doug Gray. The naysayers, and even former band member families, who fail to recognize this is saddening. Thankfully, Doug sees the big picture and knows the best way to honor all of the past contributions of this great band. That best way to pay tribute was in plain sight on this Florida night as evidenced by the good times had by all. The final 3 songs? Blue Ridge Mountain Skies, Midnight Promises sung by Chris Hicks, (from Toy’s solo album in the early 90s just prior to his passing. If that is not honoring Toy, what is?), and as a closing song and real treat for true Tuckerheads: I’ll be Loving You, from the Together Forever album.
As I talked to Doug after the show, I mentioned to him that I have sung all of the MTB tunes so many times and I felt confident that I could carry a tune or two if ever a pinch singer was needed. He stopped and said: “it’s not singing the songs that are important; it’s feeling the songs’. Well said Doug. Let’s hope the Marshall Tucker Band will keep going on strong for many more years to come.
You must login to post comments.