Their music inspired generations of people dancing to their beats, humming their songs and clapping to their grooves. Blondie, Devo, Kool & the Gang, the Commodores, Charlie Daniels, Lonestar, Spyro Gyra and other acts will come to Citrus Heights over the next few weeks as part of Sunrise MarketPlace's Sunrise at Night concert series, hoping to attract and inspire their once-huge followings.
Sunrise MarketPlace's 2,500-seat outdoor pavilion will host six concerts between Aug. 10 and Sept. 14 as a way to promote interest in the hundreds of businesses in the MarketPlace district, said marketing director Jamie McDaniels. They wanted "bands that trigger that emotional connection from years ago," she said.
In interviews with The Bee, both Robert Bell, known as Kool from Kool & the Gang, and Charlie Daniels promised to deliver the famed songs that made people attached to them.
"We like a high-energy crowd," Bell said. "It's kind of hard for people not to get into what we do. You start doing 'Ladies Night,' 'Get Down on It,' 'Celebration' people are ready to party."
While Daniels is always writing something new, he said people come to his shows to hear what they sing along to on the radio. (Remember "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?) That's what he has in store for his audience.
"My first goal is to entertain people," he said. "If it happens to fall under the context of something that I think is meaningful, then I will do it."
The Pavilion's size is one of the concerts' selling points because it makes concerts more intimate, McDaniels said.
Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, which has a smaller concert venue of around 4,500 seats, also holds a summer concert series. Thunder Valley spokesman Doug Elmets agreed with McDaniels that smaller performances may be more enjoyable because every seat has a good view.
"One of the reasons that we have the summer concert series is because there aren't a lot of entertainment opportunities in the region in a venue about that size," he said.
McDaniels said Sunrise Marketplace has spent $800,000 to produce the series and hopes to make it an annual event. She said it hopes to break even this year, but the series could be a way to generate revenue and they foresee it as a trend in the future, she said.
After their long careers, Bell and Daniels said, they are still inspired to make music and perform.
"It's what I do. It's what I love to do," Daniels said. "I just thank God that I get to do what I love to do."
Kool & the Gang just finished touring with Van Halen, which Bell said people originally had some doubts about since their genres are so different, but he said he loved touring together. Bell also said he and his brother are working on another album. Also, there's a possible musical in the works to be titled "There's a Celebration," written by Ben Elton, who also wrote the Queen musical "We Will Rock You."
"Sacramento, it's a good market for us," Bell said. "We play it at least once a year. It's a high-energy show. The crowds in Sacramento, they come out to party. They're a party crowd."
SUNRISE AT NIGHT CONCERT SERIES
Where: Sunrise MarketPlace Outdoor Pavilion, 6041 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights
When: Aug. 10-Sept. 14, 8 p.m. except children's entertainers the Doodlebops, 11 a.m.
Cost: $19.50-$82.50 at www.shopSMP.com; parking is free
Aug. 10 Lonestar and the Charlie Daniels Band
Aug. 18 Spyro Gyra with Lee Ritenour
Aug. 25 Three Dog Night with America
Sept. 1-2 (11 a.m.) The Doodlebops with Caillou
Sept. 8 Kool & the Gang with the Commodores
Sept. 14 Blondie with Devo