A Summer Jam in the Virginia Mountains
July 5, 2003

Over the long July 4th weekend, the Atlanta Rhythm Section traveled north to the mountains of Virginia to headline Summer Jam 2003 at the Massanutten Ski Resort. The mountain setting provided a beautiful venue, with the stage set up at the bottom of a ski slope and the audience sitting up the hill from the stage. After a three song sound check in the hot late afternoon sun, the crowd started to arrive. Clouds gathered and a few raindrops fell before the show, but the clouds broke up and it turned into a beautiful evening.

Dusk settled over the mountain valley and ARS took the stage - opening with the long time favorite Back Up Against the Wall. The opener featured the tight ensemble playing that has become an ARS trademark along with a couple of fine guitar solos by Barry Bailey. Andy Anderson then called for “a little Jammin’” and guitarist Steve Stone struck the opening chords which turned into a high quality ARS Champagne Jam. Lead singer Andy Anderson encouraged the crowd - as he would throughout the evening - and the band took a round of solos - with bass player Justin Senker featured. Next up was the rocker Homesick. As Andy pointed out, Travis Tritt did a cover of this tune, but ARS showed they own it. Next came the first hit, Doraville, which featured Andy, keyboard player Dean Daughtry, Steve providing backup vocals (and a fine harp solo), and some impressive guitar work between Barry and Steve . The band slowed it down with Not the Only One from the Eufaula CD - an understated song that is given new life onstage with Steve, Barry and Justin all featured. Conversation opened at a slower pace with Steve’s acoustic guitar and Andy’s vocals, but built to a crescendo with Barry’s solo work. They picked up the pace again with Large Time. Barry opened it on guitar along with drummer Jim Keeling with Justin providing one hearty rebel yell.

Next up was I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight. Clearly the crowd agreed as they filled the area directly in front of the stage - where it was too damp and rough for sitting - and started dancing. There was great ensemble playing throughout with Barry really kicking it up a notch with his solos. So Into You featured another hit song and more great playing. The band featured some of their musical roots and kept the energy level high with the next two songs, Jukin’ and Lois Malone. The classic Spooky was next up. Andy provided an energetic vocal performance as he did throughout the show, Barry played some great solos, Dean’s keyboard work was excellent and Steve played some mean slide. Imaginary Lover brought another hit song to life, with original members Barry and Dean jamming and the band briefly breaking into the Stones’ Miss You. Jim was featured center stage in a fine drum solo that lead into the classic Outside Woman Blues. There was excellent guitar work by Barry and Steve, and Steve and Justin appeared to be dancing in circles—or perhaps they just got their cords tangled up. The band thanked the appreciative audience and came back for the traditional closer Georgia Rhythm, featuring another great group performance.

As the band left the stage, a fan nearby exclaimed “Damn, I had no idea—they were hot!” The crowd turned to look up at the top of the mountain for the post concert fireworks display. With the musical fireworks complete, it was clear the Georgia Rhythm had won over another crowd.

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