By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Senior Photojournalist
Venue: Busch Gardens Wine and Food Festival Concert Series, Tampa, Florida. Saturday, March 19, 2022
I couldn’t say it better than their website does: “For 38 Special, being onstage is a celebration of camaraderie and brotherhood, a precision unit bringing the dedication and honesty to a long history of classic songs, as well as surprisingly fresh new material. The current lineup includes Guitarist/vocalist DON BARNES, keyboardist/vocalist BOBBY CAPPS, drummer GARY MOFFATT, bassist BARRY DUNAWAY, and guitarist JERRY RIGGS.
Okay, I know what you’re going to say, heard it more than once before the show: “But they only have one original member!” How many companies do you know of that have any original employees left after nearly 50 years? Does it really matter, if they still sound the same? Well, they do, and I’m old enough to have heard the original crew: I graduated high school in 1973, and they started in 1974! Don Barnes is that original member, but Bobby Capps has been on the boards since he started touring with them in 1989, Gary Moffatt has been smacking the skins since 1997, Barry Dunaway has held the bass line since 2014, and “the new guy,” Jerry Riggs, started pinging strings with them in 2019. However, these were already seasoned pros: Gary “Madman” Moffatt was formerly with the rock outfit Cactus; Barry Dunaway is a veteran of many classic rock outfits, including Pat Travers Band, Yngwie Malmsteen and Survivor; and Jerry Riggs first came to fame with his band Riggs (two of their songs were featured in the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal), then joined up with Pat Travers. So it’s not like they recruited kids from the local music school!
And the band came with two obvious goals: Rocking the crowd and having a damn good time doing it! Seriously, you can see it in their smiles, and other facial expressions let you know they’re lost in the joy of the music. Well, except for Gary, he just looks pissed all the time, I think he was trying to beat those drums to death! I’m awful glad I wasn’t a drum!
Of course, they played the big hits, Hold On Loosely, Rockin’ into the Night, So Caught Up in You, Fantasy Girl, If I’d Been the One, Back Where You Belong, Chain Lightnin’, Second Chance, and more. Speaking of which, most Busch concerts are only one hour long, but they played over an hour and a half! Another sign they were enjoying themselves as much as we enjoyed them! Their tour continues criss-crossing the USA all summer, from Wisconsin to Texas, California to North Carolina and the states between!
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