YONKERS, N.Y. – A timeless rock band brought a small taste of Southern comfort to Yonkers on Sunday night.
Nearly 1,000 fans crowded into the trackside seats at the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to see The Marshall Tucker Band perform as part of the casino’s Summer Concert Series. Much of the sold-out crowd said they have been fans of the group for years, dating back to the days of eight-track tapes and vinyl records.
“I’ve always been a huge fan, ever since the late ’80s,” Putnam County’s Liz Gademan said, sitting in her car an hour before the show began. “Their music transcends generations.”
“Listening to them brings back a lot of memories,” said Diane Longo, who made the trip from White Plains with her husband, Ed, to see the show. “They are a fun band and really good performers.”
In an interview with The Yonkers Daily Voice on Friday, Gray said the loyal crowds were part of the reason he has been leading the group for 41 years now.
"It’s always a rockin' feeling to hear your lyrics being shouted back at ya," Gray said in an email. "Our music takes folks back in time to their youth, and I think that is why they keep coming out to see us."
True to form, Gray interacted with the crowd throughout the show, making jokes and engaging with audience members. Many of the fans said they appreciated the band’s down-to-earth nature and willingness to interact with fans.
“I definitely feel they appreciate their fans,” Ossining’s John Orza said, adding he had met Gray on a Rock Legends Cruise in 2011. “Doug has a genuine nature and loves what he’s doing, and it really shows through.”
Carl Salonen was one of about a dozen fans who were able to meet the band before the show as part of a VIP contest sweepstakes. After getting his backstage pass signed by Gray and even singing a short tune with the band, Salonen said meeting the group was even better than what he expected.
“They are funny and they like to be around people,” the Astoria man said. “It was more than what I could have asked for.”
The Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway Summer Concert Series welcomes Frankie Avalon next weekend and continues every Sunday until Aug. 26.