.38 Special at the Illinois State Fair, 1995.
The former wild-eyed Southern boys, weathered and bloated, unenthusiastically slogged through their set of late ’70s/early ’80s hits. But by mid-show–and after a few beers, perhaps–lead singer Max Carl (or was it Don Barnes?) was itching for some rowdy audience participation, 1981-style. Launching into the raucous chorus of “Rockin’ into the Night,” he roared at the crowd to sing along, put his hand to his ear, and thrust his microphone toward blank yuppie boomers in Bermuda shorts. But instead of mass off-key shouting and fist-pumping, only crickets chirped. Tumbleweeds blew across the Grandstand. The faraway sound of a carousel rang through the summer air.
As if opening for a splintered Beach Boys lineup wasn’t bad enough.