America at Wild Horse Pass Casino, 7-15-2011

Wild Horse Pass Casino
Friday, July 15, 2011

Sure, the venues that America is likely to play these days have gotten smaller, but it doesn't mean that the band isn't still capable of putting on a good show. The crowd of folks who came to watch them perform at the Wild Horse Pass Casino on Friday night can attest to this fact, as the band delivered not only the hits, but also a couple unexpected covers. 

Unfortunately, things at Wild Horse Pass last night did not get off to the smoothest of starts. Halfway through the band's opening song "Tin Man" a fire alarm went off. The band and the audience ignored it, though, and fortunately for everyone it was a false alarm and the rest of the show went on without any further hitches.

While America is celebrating forty years together as a band, this wasn't just a performance of their greatest hits. Tunes like "Ventura Highway," "A Horse With No Name," and "Sister Golden Hair" did get played, but the band also ventured into "deep cuts" territory as well.

"If you're following closely you'll notice that we've entered the 'oh, I forgot they did that song' collection," joked vocalist/guitarist Gerry Beckley after they played some lesser known tracks like "Hollywood" and "Cornwall Blank."

In addition to the band's original songs, the set included a couple surprising (and not so surprising) cover songs. America is set to release a new album entitled Back Pages later this month that features the bands own take on songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and others. America performed a few tracks from the new record, which included covers of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" and Valley favorites The Gin Blossoms' "Til I Hear It From You."

Surprisingly it was a pretty short set from the group. With no opener I was expecting that the band would take an intermission after the first hour and come back for at least another forty-five minutes, but as it turned out they called it quits after just a little over an hour. They did manage to squeeze in a good amount of songs, but given the bands extensive discography, there was probably a few more songs they could've gotten out of their set. They didn't even play "Muskrat Love" for crying out loud.

Despite the short set, most fans who came for the show seemed to walk away happy. It may have also had a little bit to do with the fact that everyone who came to the show got a voucher for ten dollars in casino money. But more likely it was due to the music, "Muskrat Love" or not.

Critcs Notebook:

Last Night: America at Wild Horse Pass Casino

Personal Bias: I love classic rock and America is definitely a favorite of mine.

The Crowd: Mostly older but I was surprised to see a few younger folks in attendance as well.

Random notebook dump: Trying to Google song lyrics by America is not very easy.

Set List:

"Tin Man"
"You Can Do Magic"
"Daisy Jane"
"I Need You"
"Ventura Highway"
"Woodstock" (Joni Mitchell cover)
"A Road Song" (Fountains of Wayne cover)
"Cornwall Blank"
"'Til I Hear It From You" (Gin Blossoms cover)
"The Border"
"Woman Tonight"
"Only In Your Heart"
"California Dreaming" (The Mamas & the Papas cover)
"Lonely People"
"Sister Golden Hair"


"On The Way Home" (Buffalo Springfield cover)
"A Horse With No Name"

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Mike Escoto