Ted Nugent, Riverfest and the Rock River

Ted Nugent, Riverfest and the Rock River

By By Lisa Palmeno, Staff Writer

For those of you who are always complaining, “There’s nothing to do around Rockford,” listen up.

Beloit Riverfest and the Rock River were highlighted last week, beginning with a booksigning at Borders by guitar legend and outdoorsman Ted Nugent. Nugent came to Rockford Borders with his entourage to autograph copies for hundreds of fans on Thursday, July 11. Promising to stay until each person’s book (Kill It & Grill It), album, CD and other memorabilia were signed, the band still took the stage at Beloit Riverfest right on time at 8 p.m.

The weather was as temperate and climate-friendly as it gets in the stateline area in the summer, and Nugent directed the audience to take notice of the landscape of the mighty Rock and the sunset hanging over it, commenting on how he “loves the pink part” of the scene.

Joined by Monster bass guitarist Marco Mendoza and 22-year-old power drummer Cluetso, Nugent, the meat-eating madman, the original Amboy Duke, rocked thousands loud and proud.

Decked out in a Confederate flag shirt, hunting hat and a guitar with the American flag on the front, he made his customary comments about his relationship with God, nature and his country.

(Rockford’s WNTA radio talk show host Chris Bowman aired an exclusive interview with Nugent earlier that afternoon. Nugent is very upset with the political climate and deviant path American politicians are taking from the U.S. Constitution, especially on gun rights issues. Nugent, ever the political activist, told WNTA listener’s that newspapers are the “voice of the community” and to express your opinions by writing letters to the editor.)

Nugent’s hard rock anthems rang out across Beloit’s Riverfest grounds, offering thousands the most solid of Nugent’s classic originals including “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Hey Baby” (thanks for playing that one this time, Ted), and “Journey to the Center of Your Mind,” an old Amboy Duke’s hit.

The high-energy, three-piece band moved on to a few oldies cover tunes and then to new originals by Nugent. The new songs were a nice surprise, songs as hard-driving and full of attention-getting guitar riffs as “Stranglehold,” and fans received them well.

After the show, local Beloit bands played at neighboring stages to keep the party going. Pop rockers Video Stars played to their own crowd as well as the spillover from the Nugent concert with cover tunes from Bow Wow, Blondie, Pat Benatar, Cheap Trick along with their own tune “I’m Gonna Steal My Boyfriend Back.” Delinquent 7 took the Pavilion stage, serving up some heavy metal and offering free sample CDs to the crowd.

Saturday night featured Blue Oyster Cult and America’s boys next door, Grand Funk Railroad, cranking out their heavy party tunes.

Sunday afternoon was a bit calmer with Montage at the River Pavilion Stage, soothing and uplifting passers-by with funky jazz and vocals.

Many more bands performed over the four-day festival, and there’s never enough space to mention them all, or enough time to see them all, but one can certainly try.

Sometimes dreams do come true on the Rock River, and sometimes they’re pink.

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