Fairgoers had a swingin’ time with John Anderson

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 5, 2002

Fairgoers Saturday night had the chance to catch a star who was definitely not falling &045; country artist John Anderson and the John Anderson Band.

The grandstand was packed with cheering Anderson fans for the 7 p.m. concert, despite darkening skies and dropping temperatures.

The band opened with Anderson’s boisterous hit &uot;Somebody Slap Me,&uot; after which they slid into the more mellow &uot;I’ve Got it Made&uot; and &uot;I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday). Anderson then introduced the rest of his band: steel guitarist Glen Reeve; lead guitarist Vernon Pilder; Fiddle, guitar and mandolin player Joe Spivey; Drummer Tom Irivelli; bass player Michael Anderson and keyboard player Darrell Decanter.

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The fourth song of the set was the instrumental &uot;Small Farm in Kentucky,&uot; for which Anderson shed his guitar for a banjo. The down-home bluegrass flavor had the audience clapping along, enjoying the tune even more as the tempo picked up. Anderson’s voice and guitar were back, though, for &uot;Money in the Bank.&uot;

Next up was the slower and determined &uot;When it Comes to You,&uot; followed by another big hit, &uot;Straight Tequila Night.&uot; A cover of Floyd Cramer’s 1960 piano classic &uot;Last Date,&uot; followed that, to the cheers and whistles of approval from the crowd.

&uot;Bend Until It Breaks&uot; was sandwiched between &uot;Last Date,&uot; and what is arguably the definitive country/bluegrass instrumental song of all time, &uot;Orange Blossom Special,&uot; which was originally recorded in 1939 by the Rouse Brothers.

Anderson pleased the crowd next with one of his earlier hits, &uot;Your Lying Blue Eyes,&uot; followed by a trip down memory lane, &uot;1959,&uot; recalling a time when cigarettes were a quarter. Following those were &uot;Chicken Truck&uot; and &uot;Would You Catch a Falling Star?&uot;

Next up were a pair of early John Anderson hits, &uot;Wild and Blue&uot; and the very well known &uot;Swingin’,&uot; during which Anderson walked around the stage waving to members of the audience. The classic song drew what was at that point the most enthusiastic applause of the night, second only to the end of the show.

Anderson rounded out his well-received performance with &uot;I Wish I Could Have Been There for That,&uot; and &uot;Seminole Wind,&uot; a fan favorite.

&uot;His best song was the last one,&uot; said Gail Rassmussen of Albert Lea, who attended the concert with her husband Jerry. &uot;He’s a good entertainer; I like his music.&uot;

&uot;It (the concert) was good,&uot; Jerry agreed. &uot;He’s a good singer.&uot;

At the end of the show, there was expectedly an already long line formed for the second show. Louise Pederson of Adams, N.D., who got in line for the second show at 5 p.m., was the first person in that line.

&uot;I came here to see the stars,&uot; Pederson said. She said that her sisters suggested that she wait until 6 p.m., but Pederson wanted to be first in line, prompting her sisters to joke that the only thing she remembers on a date is a fair.

Shari Staude of Albert Lea attended the concert after hearing a CD and cassette of Anderson’s. She was third in line for the second show, arriving at the gate at 7 p.m.

&uot;Well, I wanted to get a good seat,&uot; she said.