"If a picture paints a thousand words," then I won't rave on too long about the appearance of David Gates & Bread in Arlington on August 9, 1997 as part of their worldwide reunion tour. Getting to the concert right on time, I was informed that the Will-Call booth which was holding my ticket was back at the park's entrance – wherever that was! Six Flags over Texas is quite the place to get turned around if one does not take the time to figure out "Which way am I facing?" upon consulting the "You are here" maps conveniently posted around the park. Twenty minutes later I finally settled in as James Griffin and Larry Knechtel were in the midst of their award-winning set: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (for which Larry's piano arrangement won a 1970 Grammy) and "For All We Know" (which won James a 1970 Academy Award for songwriting). Arriving late, I mistakenly thought I might have missed hearing "Everything I Own" which is to me one of the most sorrowful pieces of music – another being the Navy Hymn which I heard the next day being played periodically at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
Bread has been one of my favorite groups now for quite a few years, and I always knew there was more to them than what radio stations had on their playlists. (Yes, there is more than one lead singer, and they can get metallic and kick mighty butt on occasion. Check out the discography herein for a little more about their diversity; that's what it's for.) All told, their total years in the music industry add up to well over a century, and watching these veterans work on stage – notably the multi-talented and legendary Larry Knechtel – was quite the lesson on professionalism.
Bread featured some new songs, including future classics "Just Say When" by James, "Mirror Mirror" by David and also "The Wait" – a rocker by Mike Botts who really should have come down from his drum set, strapped on a guitar and wailed away front and center! There's no way I can describe the concert song by song, and I wouldn't want to give away any of the stories (just in case they might be used again)! But the voices still sounded young, the instrumental work was flawless, and the strings (hired for the occasion at each of their stops) really frosted the cake. Why two major area papers (Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth/Arlington Star-Telegram) totally ignored Bread the next day, I can't figure. It seems they ran out of ink after covering the appearances of (1)The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, (2) John Lydon formerly known as Johnny Rotten and (3) Jennifer Pena, the new Selena. Well, Bread is still Bread after all these years – fresh as always.
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|1 and 2: David (left) and James heaping praise upon one another during the acoustic set which featured "Just Say When" by James and "Mirror, Mirror" by David.|
3, 4 and 5: David with strings, Mike behind his drum set and Larry at the keyboards.
6: Filling out the sound: Scott Chambers (bass) and Randy Flowers (lead guitar).
7: Final bows as Mike addresses the string section.
A closing note – looking back from 2006: Musically perfect – a flawless performance by one and all throughout the concert. Neither the frequent, dissonant (not to mention out-of-rhythm) and totally unnecessary intrusion by the nearby rollercoaster nor the excessive heat and humidity could have upset the enjoyment of the evening. An experience that can't ever return.
This page originally was put on the web in August, 1997.