I’m With The Band (Perry)

This summer marks my seventh summer in the Quad Cities and while I’ve been to the Mississippi Valley Fair all seven years for work to present live weather, I’ve never gone to one of the Grandstand concert shows.

Usually, the roster features mostly country music acts and this year is no exception.  Rodney Atkins kicked off this year’s concert series Tuesday night and Montgomery Gentry close out the Fair Sunday night.  The only non-country act this year is the 1980’s pop band, REO Speedwagon.

It’s August and I was expecting hot weather.  It was sunny and toasty when we arrived Wednesday evening.  Luckily, temperatures had fallen into 80s as the sun set just in time for the concert.

Bob Fox, the  Mississippi Valley Fair General Manager, always does a spectacular job bringing in great concerts, vendors, and rides.  He’s a great guy and I actually got to socialize with him a little longer this year.  We talked about his family and his dogs while we waited backstage before the concert to meet The Band Perry.

The second picture is me and my sister, Tammy, with The Band Perry.  Ray and Gretel got to meet them, too, and their pictures will be featured tomorow on the band’s website and then I’ll add it to this blog.

All three Perry siblings, (from left to right:  Reid, Kimberly, and Neil) were very polite and warm.  It seems that they enjoy meeting the fans knowing that they made them platinum selling country music stars with just their first album.

I saw The Band Perry for the first time last October at the iWireless Center when they opened for Reba McEntire.

That show was full of energy and I didn’t expect anything less for this one and I wasn’t disappointed.

The show opened with an album cut, which was the first of the eleven songs from their 2010 #2 debut album, The Band Perry.   While many attending were waiting for the songs they were familiar with from radio, I enjoyed “Quittin’ You”, “Double Heart”, and “Miss You Being Gone”.

Kimberly Perry definitely has a down home persona true to her southern roots (born and raised throughout the South in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) when she talked to the audience between songs.  She definitely knew she was in Davenport and the Quad Cities.

The crowd definitely livened up when the band performed their first radio hit, “Hip To My Heart” as the second song of their set.  While that song only peaked at #20 in 2010, it introduced us to the sensation that would become the Grammy nominated, Country Music Association Award winning group, The Band Perry.

One problem a new band faces when it headlines its own show is the limited amount of material they can do.  When The Band Perry opened for Reba last fall, they filled their 45-minute set with their radio hits, a few album cuts, and covers.

Last night, they performed their hits including the #1 smash, “All Your Life” and their current hit on radio, the #7 song, “Postcards From Paris”.  The band also mixed in many classics like Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin”, John Cougar Mellencamp’s  “Jack and Diane”, “Me And Bobby McGee” from Janis Joplin, and Don McLean’s “American Pie”.

They also performed a gospel medley that I really enjoyed and Gretel’s eyes lit up when Neil sang Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls”.  She knows the song from “Glee’, so the cool factor was there for her and also, during the meet and greet, Neil called her “pretty lady”.

Gretel also commented on middle child, Reid’s hair and his tight jeans.  She told me that he wore the same jeans in the meet and greet and the show because they were so tight, he probably couldn’t get them off.  But, she also said that she likes tight jeans.  Our little girl is growing up!

After all of the album cuts, the cover songs, and the hits, the band closed with their #1 country song and their biggest pop crossover hit, “If I Die Young” allowing the audience to sing along before Kimberly finished off the song.

The encore was a peppy 10-minute set that opened with the current pop hit from fun., “We Are Young” and closed with “You Lie”, which they took to #2 last year.  The only down side was something I referenced earlier about having only one album to perform.  The concert was just about 70 minutes.  But, it was 70 mostly energetic minutes and Kimberly, Reid, Neil, and the rest of the band had a great time in Davenport, Iowa.  So did Gretel, Ray, and Tammy.

The Band Perry were amazing.  If you missed them last night, don’t worry.  I’m sure they’ll make another trip to the Quad Cities soon and they’ll likely be performing new songs from a second album that’s probably being worked on right now.  That’s only speculation since they’re already on their fifth radio hit from their debut album two years ago.

My friend, Bob Fox was very hospitable and the weather turned out perfect.

While I had a great time in the outdoor concert setting, I think I’m still more of an indoor concert person even though I’ve seen Reba outdoors twice and Britney Spears was outdoors last year, too.

And, being at the Fair, it gave us a chance to enjoy some delicious food.  Gretel had deep-fried cheddar cheese bites and we had hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches with mustard, onions, and pickles.  Ray and I were good and we split the sandwich to make room for dessert — Red Velvet Funnel Cake with cream cheese icing.

Although the grown-ups split it (Gretel had a caramel apple), I could very well have eaten the whole funnel cake by myself.  But, it would have been detrimental to my diet and healthy eating.  Maybe next year, I’ll go the Mississippi Valley Fair several times and try different fair food every day!


P.S.  Here’s a little segment of “If I Die Young”.  The audio is great, but just ignore the video. 🙂


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