Each year the San Diego County Fair seems to get better and better; better food, better rides and better music. However, it’s always seemed, at least to this writer, that the fair’s music lineup could use a little help. It’s understood that you’re not going to get major acts like Kings of Leon to play at the San Diego County Fair when they’re selling out arenas across the world, but it does seem like you could get a few more B-list bands instead of so many of the usual D-listers of year’s past. But after reviewing the lineup for this year’s fair, it looks like we have a pretty good mix of bands playing.
Then again, there’s Bret Michaels, who just played there June 17. Wow, Bret Michaels. Really? I would have thought his killer VH1 show would have boosted him up out of the ranks of musicians who are relegated from playing arenas down to county fairs, though apparently I’m wrong.
So aside from catching Bret Michaels and his bandana playing at the fair, let me showcase some of the better shows coming to the fair that are pretty exciting. First off, I’ll be catching country superstar Loretta Lynn on the 19th but that will have already passed by the time this goes to print.
Flash back to the 1980s on June 25 with the B-52s. Come on, everyone loves the B-52s, no matter what age you are. “Love Shack,” “Rock Lobster,” “Private Idaho” — it doesn’t get much more American than these guys. The B-52s created the dance-rock genre that’s so popular today. If you’re a fan of 3OH3!, The Black Kids and Dance Gavin Dance, you need to go see the B-52’s and see what started it all.
San Diego natives Switchfoot will once again take to the stage June 26. Switchfoot released a greatest hits album in 2008 titled “The Best Yet,” and have continually been involved in community projects including their annual surf contest, the Bro-Am, which will be held at Moonlight Beach on June 27.
CCR, oops, I mean Creedence Clearwater Revisited, will play June 30, and although I’m a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival with John Fogerty, I suppose seeing Revisited will be the next best thing to hearing the legitimate CCR. I caught John Fogerty play about two years ago at Humphrey’s and the man without the band sounded just like old CCR; so I imagine that the band without the man, just won’t be the same. However, despite all this, I’m sure it’ll be something decent to listen to while sipping down an ice cold beer and eating funnel cake on a warm June evening. The band will be set to play some of the original CCR hits, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain.”
Playing July 3 will be the legendary Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. These guys have been hard at it since the 1980s with hits like “I Love Rock N Roll,” and my personal favorite, “Bad Reputation.” If you really want to delve deeper into music history, check out Jett’s first band The Runaways, which she began playing with when she was just a teenager. The Runaways included Lita Ford, who went on to become a huge female powerhouse during the 1980s as well. The opening act for this show will showcase the finalists of the fair’s Musicpalooza contest where the best band and best singer will each win $25,000.
Most of these shows mentioned are free with entry to the fair. There will also be several other concert series at the fair, including the Solid Gold Series featuring ABBA. With the Chevy Paddock Concert Series bands like Foghat, Super Diamond, Original Parliament Funkadelic and Iron Butterfly will be featured throughout June and July.
Another interesting music feature is the aforementioned Musicpalooza Contest featuring local bands pining for the top spot and a $25,000 purse. One of the local bands in the contest is “Scene and Heard” featured band Arm the Angels. Check back for an upcoming column profiling some of this year’s contestants.
In the meantime, for a complete lineup and other fair information, visit www.sdfair. com. Get out there and check out some live music!
Filed Under: Scene and Heard