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Illness and weather might have caused some snags, but when Saturday night rolled around, the people were ready for some music.
Thousands filled Godman Army Air Field at Fort Knox on Saturday to see classic rock groups Kansas and the Doobie Brothers take the stage. Kansas was a last-minute replacement for southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band had to pull out of the performance after an illness sidelined lead singer Johnny Van Zant.
There were audience members who were disappointed at not getting to hear “Free Bird” that night, but the decision by the post’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation department to refund tickets and let in others for free went a long way in easing any dissatisfaction.
Amber Stewart, 17, of Radcliff had been to Fort Knox concerts in the past and was looking forward to seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd. But she said she was excited to be there nonetheless.
“I love concerts,” Stewart said.
Drew Freakley, son of Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, was attending his first Fort Knox concert, saying he’s generally away attending the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Freakley also said he had originally signed on for Skynyrd, but admitted one couldn’t really beat the price tag.
“A free concert is nice,” he said.
A burst of rain delayed the show, and opening act Dilana didn’t perform to get the concert back on schedule.
But once Kansas hit the stage, no one could tell that their performance wasn’t part of the original plan. Audience members danced and sang, and the band got big reactions from their two biggest hits, “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry On Wayward Son,” the latter being the song with which they closed the show. Other numbers included “Point of No Return” and “Hold On.”
The band acknowledged the schedule rearrangements, with bassist Billy Greer sending well-wishes to Van Zant.
“I hope we can kind of make up for it and have a good time anyway,” he said.
The crowd erupted when the Doobie Brothers came out, starting off immediately with one of their most well-known songs, “Jesus is Just Alright,” following it shortly with “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” and “Clear as the Driven Snow.”
Event coordinator Mark Wicker said they were fortunate to book Kansas on a tight schedule, and said he and his colleagues felt they owed it to the community to make the concert free.
Wicker said that while they lost out on ticket sales, the free tickets brought in even more people who were buying food, beverages and merchandise. He said about 3,600 people attended.
Wicker said providing quality entertainment is the highest priority.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.