The big, brass sound of Blood, Sweat And Tears opened this season’s Park City Performing Arts Foundation’s St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert series on a clear warm night in the clean, crisp air of Deer Valley. The Park City mountains rang with the horns, sax, guitars, harmonica and raspy, male vocals of the legendary smooth rock and jazz band.
Utahns of all ages brought their coolers, blankets and libations to the base of Deer Valley Mountain Resort. Here they sat on the grassy slope facing Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheatre, under the perch of construction of the new St. Regis Deer Crest Resort and Residences, which is in its second year in sponsoring the concert series (Deer Valley Resort and Summit County are co-sponsors).
Blood, Swear And Tears founding father, Steve Katz, reminisced about the beginnings of the band in New York City’s Greenwich Village, reminding the old-timers in the crowd about the band’s appearance at Woodstock — an appearance which arguably catapulted the group to world-wide fame. Known for ‘picking up’ band members and vocal artists from the late Sixties to the present day, Blood, Sweat And Tears has had ten Grammy Award nominations, of which they won three, including Album of the Year, for their self-titled album in 1969.
The band played many classic, smooth rock covers, highlighting the talent of current musicians. They also played their hits “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die,” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” By the end of the night, everyone in the audience had loosened up and was dancing to the hits, even bringing the band back on stage at the end of night in appreciation.
The Big Stars, Bright Nights series will present four more summer concerts at the Deer Valley Snow Park Amphitheatre. These include Simone, the daughter of Nina Simone, who will perform with Ryan Shaw on August 2. Shaw opened for Joss Stone two years ago during the same series and brings his Grammy-nominated, eclectic R&B sound together in a double billing with singer-songwriter Simone’s range of pop, jazz, soul and funk stylizations for a blend of young talent and experimentation.
August 16 will brings another double billing, this one of Lucy Wainwright Roche, the younger half-sister of Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, and Madeleine Peyroux, the French-American singer-songwriter. The two will perform back-to-back sets in their specific styles — Wainwright Roche her brand of folk music, and Peyroux her blend of blues and jazz storytelling.
Rock legend Chuck Berry will grace the stage on August 29 with a special guest to be announced. The last concert of the summer will be a triple bill of singer-songwriters, including country-alternative Robert Earl Keen, ironic folk story teller Jill Sobule, and John Doe, founding member of the Los Angeles punk band X. Doe has transformed his vocal interests to country rock, and currently has been working with Canadian indie rock group The Sadies. This concert should be an interesting mix of different styles and genres, including spoken word, poetry and comedy. It is scheduled for September 7.
Reserved seating includes a metal chair in the middle section of the audience area. The less expensive lawn seating sandwiches this middle section on either side. A nine-inch high chair restriction applies to lawn-sitters, and sections exist for those who only bring blankets or flat-floor seats, so that everyone can see the stage without straining.
Deer Valley Resort provides a menu for meat eaters and vegetarians, including beer and wine menu items. However, all attendees are allowed to bring any refreshments in coolers. Deer Valley Resort also sells gourmet picnic baskets, which must be reserved 72 hours in advance.
Each concert goes on in either rain or shine and tickets are non-refundable. Gates open 90 minutes before each concert, but most folks start arriving a couple of hours before the concert to get in the line. There are ‘ins and outs,’ so arriving and setting up camp is allowed, as is returning at a later time after getting your hand stamped. Parking is free and the season pass holder’s parking lot opens to everyone fifteen minutes before show time.
The Park City Performing Arts Foundation is non-profit arts organization dedicated to presenting world class performances to the greater community through two venues: The George S & Dolores Dore Eccles Center for the Performing Arts (for performances held from September through April) and Deer Valley Resort for performances during the summertime.
Ticket prices are $56 for reserved seating and $31 for general admission or lawn seating, with discounted tickets available for seniors and children 12 and under. Tickets are available for purchase online (except discounted tickets) or at Park City Performing Arts Foundation offices, which have moved to Main Street in Park City. For more information, go to ecclescenter.org or call (435) 655-3114.