On December 28, 1966, The Yardbirds played a show in Peoria at Expo Gardens. That very same evening in Keokuk, Iowa, a 19-year-old Craig Moore was recording a single with his band, Gonn, called, “Blackout of Gretely.” In thost pre-internet days, news traveled slow and he didn’t hear about The Yardbirds show in Peoria until long after the English quartet had packed their bags and moved on to the next show of their long and winding tour of America. Craig told me if he had known about the show, he’d have crawled through broken glass to get there, as he was such a rabid Yardbirds fan. 22 years later, their paths would finally cross...well, Yardbirds drummer, Jim McCarty’s path would be crossed by Craig’s at a gig in London. You can read about that meeting in this post that Craig wrote last Saturday.
Jim and Craig have worked on many projects and shows together, the latest one being the album, “Frontman” by Jim which was produced by Craig. It’s a double album of Jim’s solo material that was made for Record Store Day last April and you can read about it here: Frontman.
The Yardbirds have been on an American tour this year and the last stop of this tour was none other than, Peoria, Illinois and the show was put together and promoted by Craig. It’s the only show of the tour that not only has The Yardbirds on the bill, but those who had V.I.P. tickets got to see a special, “Frontman” show. After “Frontman”, Brainchild came on to open up for the Yardbirds.
Craig graciously invited me to stop by early to catch the sound check and to hang out with the musicians. And of course, I came camera in hand to document it all for MBIP and I’d like to invite all of you to enjoy it via the photos below! Come along, a guaranteed time is splendid for all...wait a minute...strike that...reverse it.
I arrived at LImelight at 3:30PM and walked in the back door in time to hear the closing few minutes of The Yardbirds soundcheck.
They sound great! My only question right now is...where’s the beer?
There’s founding member, Jim McCarty on drums, who I traveled to Memphis with back in 1992, when he and Craig recorded an EP at Sun Studios. He saw me, didn’t miss a beat and shouted out, “Oh no, who let him in here!” Jim’s a great guy and it’s always a pleasure and lots of fun to hang out with him.
They were winding down at this point and next up for soundcheck is Jim, Craig and The Frontman band.
Roy and Pony Boy from Brainchild were hanging around near the stage. They’re the opening act before The Yardbirds and I’m anxious to see them, I’ve heard they’re amazing live. We’ll see soon!
There’s Josh Bradshaw who’s not performing tonight, but he was helping out with sound and equipment. We last saw Josh onstage when Jim played a couple shows at Younger Than Yesterday last year.
The Frontman band has taken the stage and are plugging in.
There’s the back of drummer Matt Warren’s head and Craig and Jim are talking and looking out at the empty seats.
Everyone’s plugged in and Jim and Craig are getting ready to start a tune.
There’s a discussion here about a chord change in one of the songs. I’m still wondering where the hell the beer is.
The problem seems to be worked out...
And Jim launches into a song. He sounds great and for those of you who just know of Jim as The Yardbirds drummer, he’s got an amazing backlog of wonderful songs he’s written.
Jim’s sounding great and I’m really looking forward to the show.
There’s the enitire band working out with the stage lights lit up. Meanwhile, I’m still on the prowl for a beer!
I wandered back to the other side of the room and found these two pretty women and asked them if the bar was open. They said it could be if I wanted it to be. What a couple of angels of mercy, beer was finally had, thanks to Lynda and Michelle!
The band’s finishing up and it’s just about time to let the crowd in for the V.I.P. Frontman show.
Look, it’s Jim’s cousin, Matt McCarty who came to the show because it was rumored that Mick Avory was going to be making a surprise visit.
I call this shot, “Stairway to McCarty.”
The band is now tucked away in their dressing room as the V.I.P. crowd files in for the special Frontman show.
Craig Moore is back in black. He takes the stage to welcome the crowd and introduce Jim and the Frontman band.
And here they are onstage for the first time in Peoria, Illinois, Frontman! The Frontman band is: Jim McCarty, lead vocals, guitar and percussion; Curt Caudill, keyboards; Rich Teegarden, keyboards, bass, guitar, percussion, backing vocals; Don Mabus, guitar, backing vocals; Craig Moore, bass, 12-string guitar, backing vocals and Matthew Warren, drums and percussion. The band sounds great from the first note played and the crowd is loving this.
There’s the Frontman, Jim McCarty. He goes for the jugular in true Don McMinn fashion.
Here’s a shot of the group from a backstage perspective.
Drummer Matt Warren keeps the band locked in a solid groove.
The Frontman show is a fun combination of songs and stories that Jim tells relating to the songs.
Don Mabus is cranking out a solo here, always amazing to watch him in action. One of the highlights of Craig’s Beatles show he put on here was Don’s incredible solo in, “A Day In The Life.”
There’s Curt Caudill tickling the keyboards.
Rich Teegarden did multiple duties on keyboards, bass, guitar and here he’s backing Jim with some percussion on the conga drums. Hello, Bongo!
There’s the entire Frontman band in full swing.
That was a great show. If you missed it, they’re playing a few more Frontman shows in the area and here’s the schedule: July 3 - Donnie's Homespun, Springfield, IL (with 'Good Companion' at 5PM, 'Illinois Nationals' at 7, 'Frontman' at 8.) - July 5 - The Grand Theater, Keokuk, Iowa (hometown of Craig and Gonn) - July 9 C2G Music Hall Fort Wayne, Indiana - This show is being filmed for later broadcast on the local NBC affiliate.
Here’s MBIP pals and Contributing Writers, Jeff Putnam and Bob “The Whale” Miller. Always great to see the both of them. We chatted for a while and then it was time for Brainchild to hit the stage.
Here’s Craig back onstage introducing, Brainchild.
The band wastes no time and rip into musical action. I was completely blown away by Brainchild. I had heard good things about them, but had no idea. They are one of the best and most original bands I have ever seen. The only way I can describe the sound is Frank Zappa with a huge dose of soul and funk. If you haven’t seen these guys live, check them out!
Brainchild is: Jake Schultz, guitar; Brandon Mooberry, bass, vocals; Pony Boy, drums, vocals...
And Roy Ponce, guitar, vocals. Roy is a treat to watch onstage, he’s constantly jumping around and is a ball of excitement.
The crowd really got into their set.
A few songs into the set, they were joined by two horn players, who’s names I don’t have. If anyone knows, please leave the names in the comments section or email me. UPDATE: Roy from Brainchild just left word that the horn players are: Pat Nelson on trumpet and Jimmy Curless on saxophone.
There’s Roy giving us the high five! What a great show by Brainchild!
Craig is back onstage with WIRL’s Lee Malcolm to introduce the stars of tonight’s show, The Yardbirds!
This is The Yardbirds set list, just about showtime...
Ladies and gentlemen...The Yardbirds!
There’s Jim behind his drum kit keeping that Yardbirds beat that we all know so well!
Original Yardbirds guitarist, Top Topham has rejoined the band and is sounding great on stage.
There’s Top with lead vocalist and harp player, Andy Mitchell. Andy plays a mean harmonica and he just started playing five years ago when he joined the band!
There’s Ben King who plays guitar.
David Smale plays bass and here he is deep in a groove onstage.
Jim is amazing on drums, as always and it’s great to hear The Yardbirds tunes live.
Here’s a shot from backstage.
The crowd is really into the show.
Andy takes a turn at the tom toms as the band launches into, “For Your Love.”
And then the band thanked the crowd and filed offstage, is it over?
Nope, it ain’t over till Craig says it’s over! Craig whips the crowd into a frenzy and it appears an encore may happen...
There’s Top and Ben filing back onstage...
And Jim’s back in place behind his drum kit...
Andy’s back and fired up...
And The Yardbirds are back onstage rocking and the train is still rolling!
After several encore songs it was time for the final bow...
And it’s time to call it a night after a spectacular show! Thanks to Craig for letting me hang out early and to all the bands on the bill for a wonderful show and night out on the town. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Related Posts: The Yardbirds Through the Eyes Of A Garage Band Bass Player, The Jim McCarty Experience With The Temporary Tribute Band At Younger Than Yesterday and Playing In Peoria: Jimmy Page and The Yardbirds at Expo Gardens Youth Building, December 28, 1966.