A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
It would be nice to see what fans of, say, Evanescence, or in that young adult age group, might have thought about the Who’s first visit to Central Arkansas in the band’s 43-year history. But we didn’t see any, other than teens that accompanied their parents. It was maybe the first concert in several years that we felt we fell below the average age of the concert goers. Considering the little bit of original music released by the band in the past 25 years, maybe that’s to be expected in these parts.
That said, we found ourselves almost in awe seeing Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend performing a few hundred feet away from us, and that proved to be the reaction we got from everyone we encountered afterward. The show drew 5,892 fans, apparently par for this tour but quite a bit below what we would’ve expected from an iconic Brit rock band. The Rolling Stones, for instance, sold out the arena a year ago. Maybe Central Arkansans relate better to the “it’s only rock and roll but I like it” feeling the Stones exude, but for us the Who is clearly the more talented musically.
The band recalled its visionary style of music with a mini-opera from its newest album, and the encore was a lengthy portion from the stupendous rock opera “Tommy,” beginning with “Pinball Wizard” and finishing with the “Listening to You …” climax to “See Me, Feel Me,” songs that managed to find themselves high up the pop charts.
The video screen behind the band was perfectly coordinated to the show and the 20-plus songs, from a ’60s montage of photos that accompanied “The Seeker,” to the religious icons that backed the wonderful “Man in a Purple Dress.” The “fireworks” and acrobatics here were simply the buff 62-year-old Daltrey flinging his microphone around and Townshend giving his trademark windmill strumming of the guitar. Though Daltrey had battled throat problems earlier in the week and appeared at the start to be in a little discomfort, he gave a yeoman performance.
The Who delivered everything we expected to see, and then some. Colorado’s Rose Hill Drive opened with, coincidentally, a show that at times reminded us of early Cream, another iconic Brit band, with its power trio approach and the jamming on a theme. They said they drove 16 hours straight when they found out the show was on, like the rest of us, to be part of a show with their idols, even to play about 40 minutes.
— Jim Harris
Evanescence with Finger Eleven and Chevelle
While opening acts Finger Eleven and Chevelle appeared to attract quite a lot of their own followers, it was pretty clear who the 7,231 fans came to see when Evanescence took the stage on Sunday night.
The band started out with a few songs off of their newest album, “The Open Door,” but it seemed the fans were more familiar with Evanescence’s earlier tracks. When lead singer Amy Lee broke into “Going Under,” the crowd rose to its feet and sang along word for word. The audience quickly lost its intensity, however, as Lee sat down at the piano and gracefully delivered “Good Enough.”
The show quickly picked up speed, though, as Lee belted out several more songs from the group’s first album, “Fallen,” including “Tourniquet,” “Imaginary” and “Haunted.”
During a set change, the band jokingly played AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” much to the audience’s approval. Lee then sat back at the piano for “Bring Me to Life.”
The group obviously was happy to be home. Sitting toward the side of the stage, I could see many people milling about backstage. Later, Lee told the audience that the band had given all their family and friends backstage passes. She quickly added, however, that everyone in the entire arena was part of their family. Then she sang “All Things I’m Living For,” dedicating it to all of Evanescence’s fans. The show ended with an encore of “My Immortal.”
Finger Eleven played a 30-minute set that ended with its hit “One Thing.” Chevelle followed, playing several of its popular tracks, including “The Red” and “Send the Pain Below.”
— Whitney Creel