Kansas and The Doobie Brothers take over Fort Knox, dodge bad weather [Music]

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Last Saturday's monsoon-like thunder storm parted ways and went around Fort Knox. At least so it seemed as I made the trek down Gene Snyder Freeway en route to one of the U.S. Army’s most iconic military installations to see Kansas and the Doobie Brothers. With each passing mile the sky became more clear and the wind more calm. The show must go on.

Arriving at Fort Knox’s main gate traffic was quickly directed right into Godman Airfield where you were actually allowed to drive right down the main tarmac some several hundred yards. “What the hell?” I thought to myself as I pushed my gas pedal to the floorboard and took advantage of the desolate airstrip before me.

A massive stage was positioned right next to the air traffic control tower and air hanger #1, which helped give a bit of an authentic vibe for seeing a concert on a military base.  

As expected, MP’s were just about everywhere you turned and ushering people along like cattle in between a maze of yellow barriers. Once led into the stage area those yellow barriers then became blockades several hundred feet in front of the stage and was reinforced by a neat row of MP’s behind them. The production staff was still finishing their sound checks. Then, over the PA system, a stage announcer says “All right folks, were gonna open the barriers up here in a second. Please make your way to the stage in an orderly fashion.” Yeah, right. As soon the barriers were removed a mad dash of several thousand people equipped with folding chairs, beers, and hot dogs ensued as everyone vied for a front row seat. Not hardly the “orderly fashion” requested.  

Kansas, not Dilana, led off the night to an eager crowd who had just stampeded their way to get an up-close glimpse of the classic rockers.


Kansas - photo by Ross Lister

With a pinkish twilight of the sun setting as their stage backdrop, Kansas took their audience through their somewhat limited, yet popular, handful of hit singles that the original Kansas had written in the late 70’s and 80’s. “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Point Of No Return,” “Fight Fire With Fire,” and of course the song that made Kansas a household name in classic rock “Dust In The Wind” were amongst the songs performed. The best part of Kansas this day and age? Violinist David Ragsdale. He’s one bad mofo on the fiddle.  


Kansas - photo by Ross Lister

The crowd was good and “primed” by the time the Doobie Brothers were set to take the stage and had only logged one skirmish that MP’s had to break-up. Once the Doobies appeared onstage the crowd erupted in anticipation as the band opened with “Jesus Is Just Alright.”  


The Doobie Brothers - photo by Ross Lister

The Doobies are known for their perfect mix of harmonious vocals and blazing guitar solos by both Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, two of the band’s original and founding members who are still the heart and soul of the band. Their performance on this night offered no shortage of the Doobies iconic style as they performed songs from their early days like “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “Black Water,” and “Long Train Runnin”.


The Doobie Brothers - photo by Ross Lister

They also threw in a mix of newer songs from their 2010 album World Gone Crazy with the title track, “Chateau” and “Nobody” which came with an impressive guitar solo by Johnston.  

The only regret for the night was the sudden and untimely canceling by Lynyrd Skynyrd due to an ailing Johnny Van Zant. Hopefully they will schedule a make-up show because I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in the crowd that was just dying to have a valid reason to scream out “Play some Skynyrd man!” Maybe that chance will still be in store in the not-so-distant future.  

*Photos by Ross Lister & Jason Ashcraft

** Jason Ashcraft is a freelance music writer who focuses on Kentucky's original music scene. Visit his blog at LouisvilleScuttlebutt.com or you scan this QR code on your smart phone to view the mobile site: