Thursday, May 04, 2006

My state fair is the rockin'est state fair

In today’s A&E section of the SJ-R, Nick Rogers weighed in on the Grandstand entertainment lined up for the 2006 edition of the state fair. There isn’t much that interests me. This leads me to believe that I should be booking acts for the fair. I doubt that many of my picks would break the 10,000 attendance mark, but after years of avoiding the grandstand due to an aversion to crap, I think they can indulge me for just one year. So here it is. Nine nights of music magic.

Since there is a tradition of booking recently reunited oldies acts, the fair will kick-off with the triumphant return of the Replacements. Paul, Tommy, and Chris will resurrect the drunken tunefulness of the Mighty Mats with fellow Minnesotan Bob Mould filling in on guitar for the duly departed Bob Stinson. Opening up will be the already reunited Pixies, with Kim Deal given ample time at the lead mic.

The indie rock continues on Saturday with something for the younger set, at least the hip ones. Franz Ferdinand, the Hives, and the White Stripes will bring their minor radio hits and major chops to ensure that our kids learn the meaning of rock from someone of their generation. We’ll throw a couple of American Idol winners in the beer tents for those youngsters who like their rock and roll sanitized.

For all of you honky-tonk types with a penchant for dark lyrics, night two of the fair will go country with a troika of women artists who all make Shania Twain sound like a Hee Haw cast-off. Maria McKee, Emmy Lou Harris, and Lucinda Williams will have you eating crackers with your gin and drinking in your Sunday dress.

In an act of civic mindedness, locals will get the spotlight on Monday. I’ve lost touch with the local music scene since fatherhood has beckoned, so I’m going to have to call on some bands from my bar-hopping hey day. The Ingrates, They Came in Droves, the Belinda Chaire, and nil8 will make the jump from On Broadway to the capital city’s biggest venue. Someone will probably try to get me to book the Cherry Stoners as well, but she’ll just have to head over to the Ethnic Village if she wants to hear them.

To prevent debilitating culture shock from ravaging the community, we will have some traditionally bad Grandstand fare on Tuesday. That sniveling ferret who sings “You’re Beautiful” will take the stage fifteen minutes after I board a plane for somewhere less annoying. Since they’ll probably show up anyway, Central Illinois’ own REO Speedwagon will give their fans what they deserve. If I can get David Copperfield to do a couple of card tricks to kick things off, the evening of lameness will be complete.

I’m back on Wednesday to catch what will surely be an emotionally-charged evening as two estranged Illinois boys put their differences aside for the show they said would never happen. Jeff Tweedy and Wilco will headline after an opening set from his former friend and bandmate, Jay Farrar, accompanied by the original lineup of Son Volt. I may need Dr. Phil to help negotiate this booking, but if all goes as planned, we’ll be treated to a 90 minute encore of Uncle Tupelo songs.

Thursday night I give to my children. The original cast and voice extras from the Disney Channel's runaway smash "High School Musical" will perform all of the songs and dances that made them this summer's flash in the pan.

Aimee Mann will play on Friday, accompanied by the Illinois Symphony. I can’t take credit for the idea of pairing one of our generation’s most articulate songwriters with an orchestra. In the last week of June, Aimee will be playing two shows with the Boston Pops in Boston. The same week my family will be just a mere 170 miles away in Peachum, Vermont. Just a week before my birthday. And I’m a big Aimee Mann fan. What a present that would be. If any of you out there is my wife, I hope this wasn’t too subtle a hint.

It’s awful white, this Grandstand of mine. I don’t know from rap so we’ll go the rhythm and soul route for some music of color. Chaka Khan will sing us something good and the lunatic antics of funk-it-up Fishbone will make sure it isn’t a sunless Saturday. Where Prince? If the millionaire musician promises not to write "slave" on his cheek, he'll be given the prime slot. If I can be shown that Earth, Wind & Fire hasn’t turned into a cheap parody of themselves, they’ll be added to the bill as well.

Since I stole the symphony from its traditional spot on the last Sunday, I’ll atone by bringing in George Gershwin and orchestra to perform an extended, 75 minute version* of Rhapsody in Blue, one of the greatest songs every written. I want George himself on piano, which presents some obvious booking difficulties. But I figure if I can get Uncle Tupelo to reunite, I shouldn’t have any problem raising the dead.

So there you have it. Something for everyone, but mainly for me. Of course, I’m interested in hearing who will play when it’s your turn to book the acts.

*And no In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida-style drum solos.


Monkey Boy said...

Wasn't Stinson the bass player, and Mould is a lead guitarist? How would that switch work? (I could be very wrong on this)

Anonymous said...

Hey - The Cherry Stoners Rock!

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Monkey Boy,

Tommy Stinson, who later joined Axl in GNR Mach II, was the bass player. His brother Bob, who later died after years of drug and alcohol abuse, was the lead guitarist. Some would say that Tommy suffered a more disgraceful death, at least career-wise. I hope this clears things up.

Is that all you have? I wanted to hear who would be playing the Grandstand if they put a monkey in charge. Monkey Boy, that is.

Michelle, I mean anonymous,

I didn't get my Cherry Stoners fanzine this month. I know that my fan club dues are paid up. Could you look into this for me?

Thanks for commenting,

Laura said... almost out-did yourself. Just one suggestion. If you can re-unite Uncle Tupelo (a show which I would pay any amount of money to see, by the way), and raise George Gershwin from the dead, can you also please make Michael Stipe roughly 20 years younger, and add an REM set from the Murmur/Reckoning/Fables of the Reconstruction era?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...


Yeah, I could probably fit REM in on Monday between the Pixies and the Replacements. While I’m reversing Michael’s male pattern baldness and restoring his curly locks, do you want me to make him not-gay too?

Thanks for commenting,

Michele said...

You have shamed me into using my name. Thanks Dan!

I agree with Laura's suggestion. Add REM - I would take Michael Stipe now though. I think he has improved with age. Also add Indigo Girls. Would love the hear a special someone in the audience singing Galileo at the top of her lungs.

The 26th Man said...

Michael Stipe is gay?

If I weren't procrastinating at work right now, I'd post my own Grandstand lineup. I will allow that we enjoy some of the same rock bands.

And thank you for mentioning The Ingrates, They Came In Droves, nil8 and Belinda Chaire. Those names take me back to high school. Don't forget Dead Reckoning, the Aquavelvets or the greatest early-90s Springfield rock band of them all, Liquid Blue.

Ah, the memories.

Monkey Boy said...

Why, you care? really care what I think?

Bands I would like to see;

Frank Black (still kicking myself for missing him open for The Ramone's in St. Louis back in the 90's) He is a millionaire you know.

Original line-ups of Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, and Kiss. I don't care how old they are it is good drunken fun.

The Replacements and Pixies would be fun.

Neil Diamond, The Smithereens (kicking self again for missing them here), and many others as long as the price is right.

Laura said...

Actually, Dan, no one really knows if Michael Stipe is gay or not...not that's there's anything wrong with that. Just that he's been my celebrity crush since I was in high school and some dreams are hard to let go.

Rich Miller said...

Great post. I become more disillusioned with the State Fair's musical tastes with every passing year.

caron said...

give the kids some kanye west...tie the state together...and what about APPROPRIATELY sufjan stevens?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...


Kayne West don't like Ag people.

Sufjan Stevens is an interesting case though. When I first read about him, I thought he was a third-rate folkie who hit upon a gimmick. But lately I've been reading that he's a favorite of New York hipsters and Dave Eggers' fans from Nebraska. I think I may have to give him a listen.

Thanks for commenting,