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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Entertainment wish list

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"There's nothing to do here," is a common gripe heard in cities of all shapes and sizes across the nation.

In cities with performance spaces and live entertainment venues, that should not be a legitimate complaint, especially when events are taking place.

With the Clay County Regional Events Center, Clay County Fair and Spencer Community Theatre, among other venues, Spencer is a place that should be able to compete for big-name acts.

First of all, the Clay County Fair grandstand is one of the largest venues in western Iowa. It has hosted a lot of performers worth boasting about and organizers should continue to set their goals high.

Just last year, Spencer -- up against thousand of larger cities -- placed somewhere around 70th in a contest to lure KISS to the Clay County Regional Events Center. Is it possible to try again, this time requesting their presence during "The World's Greatest County Fair?"

KISS has mass appeal across generational gaps, from 16 year olds to 60 year olds and beyond. Of course, the suggestion would be to have them on a weekend night. If Three Dog Night could be heard from front lawns more than a mile away, think of the long-range damage KISS could unleash.

Of course, a nice consolation prize in the rock genre, though not quite as hardcore, would be the Goo Goo Dolls. They came to fame in the 1980s and have survived to not only tell about it, but continue to have sold out shows.

If Sioux Falls and Des Moines can attract them, why not Spencer (at least during fair time)?

Shifting genres only slightly, think about the sell-out success Bret Michaels had this summer. Love him or hate him, he is making his money off Poison songs and even remakes of songs by bands like Sublime and Guns and Roses.

He is still a big name. However, a big name who is still making hits -- and bending genres to do so -- is Kid Rock. Though not all of his new stuff has been amazing, it is still being played and fans of many different ages are still listening.

Country is popular in this neck of the woods. Kenny Chesney has been one of the hottest names for a while now. Just as women of all ages came out for Michaels and would come out for both the Goo Goo Dolls and (potentially) Kid Rock, they would definitely come out in force -- sporting cowboy hats and boots -- to cheer on Chesney.

However, comparing to recent country acts, Billy Currington may be more realistic and still very entertaining. His success is growing, similar to recent performers like Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins and Rodney Atkins, just to name a few. On a trivial note, his last name is just a letter off from Rodney Carrington's, the country comedian who sold out the events center earlier in the year.

Obviously, the fair would not be complete without a comedian. This year, it was Vegas headliner and ventriloquist Terry Fator. Last year, it was Bill Engvall of Blue Collar Comedy fame. To follow in those footsteps, puppet master Jeff Dunham or Jeff Foxworthy could fit the bill and also fill the seats.

Perhaps looking ahead 10 months is too much.

What is going on in the meantime?

Professional Bull Riders are stampeding into the events center Dec. 3 and 4, and Ronnie Milsap will be filling it with Christmas cheer 15 days later. For the little kiddos, Barney is bringing his love to the area Dec. 28.

Further big-name acts are yet to be released.

Christian rock is sure to be on the docket. Suggestions include Thousand Foot Krutch, Red, and maybe Newsboys, for old time sake.

Perhaps alternative rock will be represented as well, with this summer's Papa Roach concert reaching expectations and making both the hosts, promoters and band happy. Let's see, would Three Days Grace, Shinedown or Breaking Benjamin be feasible? What a rocking fun time any of those bands would be.

In between those two genres are bands like Anberlin, Switchfoot and Kings of Leon, though the latter two may be "too big" for northwest Iowa, but it sure would not hurt trying.

Country will continue to be popular and enticing an act like Lady Antebellum or Sugarland should be possible, considering the success of the Miranda Lambert show.

As Carrington proved, comedians are popular, too. Anyone who has been featured on the Bob and Tom Show should be targeted.

Any of the acts that are brought in over the next year or two will, of course, bring people to the community. Those acts also complement the local talent already here and anytime local talent could open for national acts would be a win-win situation.

Nonetheless, these are humble requests for organizers to keep inviting top-notch performers and for patrons to support the performers when they accept those invites and bring their talents to this area.

Gabe Licht
Junior Moments