Singer-Songwriter Fogelberg Alive and Well

By George Bennett

Dan Fogelberg, the Colorado-based bard, put on an excellent performance before a near-capacity crowd at The Palace on September 21. He has assembled a crack band and has been touring for the better part of the past year in support of his 14th album, River of Souls.

He opened the show with the album's first track, "Magic Every Moment." Fogelberg wrote the song after a dove flew through a window pane at his Maine home. The "poor broken dove" had somehow managed to fly out of the window. That incident broke a serious case of writer's block for Fogelberg because, as the lyric says, "It made me realize how very fragile is this life that we so love."

Fogelberg then performed a four-song acoustic set which earned him three standing ovations from an elated crowd. "Run for the Roses" (about the Kentucky Derby) brought the crowd to their feet, as did "Make Love Stay" and "Same Old Lang Sync." He also did a rendition of "Leader of the Band," written for his musician father.

Fogelberg's entourage on stage included Robert McAtee on guitars; Mark Andes, former bassist for the band Firefall; and drummer Joe Vitale, who has worked with Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Crosby, Stills and Nash, among numerous others.

Andes stepped to the microphone and sang the Firefall hit "Cinderella." McAtee followed with a cover of Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues," on which Fogelberg demonstrated his electric guitar prowess and versatility.

Fogelberg has been developing a more soulful delivery and interest in the blues the last several years of his career and a recently written tune,"Don't Let That Sun Go Down," was delivered in a thundering, soulful voice. The ending feedback slid into the set-closing "Part of the Plan," which had a revised intro and totally different acoustic arrangements. This technique worked well for two other songs in the set, "Forefathers" and "Faces of America," the latter being a thoughtful take on homelessness and poverty.

Fogelberg did not encore, which caused somewhat of a stir amongst the faithfully gathered. He usually throws in at least three different blues numbers when McAtee covers the Johnson song. and almost without exception ends each and every concert with an audience sing-along on "There's a Place in "the World for a Gambler." There were several explanations suggested for the lack of an encore, including that Fogelberg was sick. This was likely the case, as he did appear somewhat fatigued at times.

Nobody went away totally disappointed, however; Fogelberg is too meticulous and passionate to let an audience down. While the singer-songwriter may have been sick on this evening, he sure as heck ain't dead.