I’ll be the first to admit I had some doubts about the size of this year’s turnout for the South Dakota Music Association Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and concert. We hadn’t arranged to have a big name headline act appear as in year’s past with such groups as Bobby Vee, The Flippers, The Red Dogs and The Mob. Don’t get me wrong, each group we inducted enjoyed much success in their heyday, several even had songs that made the national charts such as The Gestures (Run, Run, Run) and D.J. and the Runaways (Peter Rabbit) but I was concerned that those musicians who hadn’t played together for nearly half a century may not be able to pull it off. Would anybody remember them? I need not have worried.
The huge Ramkota Exhibit Hall was sold out two weeks before the show. Most inducted bands and individuals brought along their own cadre of adoring fans; many dressed in special tee shirts that expressed their loyalty and love. Those musicians who hadn’t played in years and those who still play regularly, traveled here early from all parts of the country to rehearse with bandmates in hopes of achieving the pure sound of rock and roll they’d been known for back in the sixties. Combine that enthusiasm with the huge stage, state of the art sound and light system plus 16 hundred cheering fans and it was….well, magical.
The performers, many of whom are now in their 60’s and 70’s, were blown away by the experience. Here’s just a small sampling of the reaction we’ve received from both musicians who took the stage and fans who loved every minute of it.
Travis Hutchinson (DJ and the Cats)
My brother Terry and I really looked forward to the 2012 Hall of Fame event. But it even exceeded our hopes and dreams. Wow! What a night!
I was pleasantly surprised at how many people came to and danced to the music of D J & the Cats back in the 50’s and 60’s. It was a great time of hearing their stories and memories. A lady told me about when she just turned 16 and on her first official date, came to a town in Iowa ( where she and her husband still live) and danced to our music. In her 16 year old mind, you would have thought we created the moon! I am 72 and my brother Terry is 73. We have done so many dances and clubs together back in “The Day”. If the festival was our last time to perform together, what a tremendous high to go out on! My sons who backed us up are still hyped that they had the honor of playing the festival and backing up their Dad and Uncle.
From Larry Gruseth of Scotty Lee and the Stingrays.
In the middle of the show, I looked around at all my fellow band mates, and even though we were heavier, grayer, and perhaps had a couple of wrinkles, I didn’t see anyone over the age of 18! We got to be kids again…and for that we thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Larry Gruseth and I started making music together when we were little kids. One of the highlights of the evening for me was joining my cousin on stage once again to present the plaque inducting him into the Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees and thanks to all those of you who turned out for the big show. “Oh, what a night.”