38 Special – Down by the Riverside – Rochester MN – August 15th 2021

Down by the Riverside presents 38 Special

Review and photos by Kate Klaus

When 38 Special opened up the final concert in the Down by the Riverside series in Rochester, MN with “Rockin’ Into the Night”, it was a foreshadowing of the night they had in store for the 12,000+ fans in attendance for this free concert, presented by Rochester Civic Music (the city of Rochester music department).  This series of 6 free concerts is held throughout the summer in Mayo Park, along the Zumbro River in downtown Rochester.

The night was set up to be impressive, with lighting set up on scaffolding throughout the park, free neon light sticks being handed out by title sponsor Think Mutual Bank, and a huge crowd, some who had been staking out their front row spots since early in the day.

Original 38 Special guitarist and lead vocalist Don Barnes took the stage with a fire in his playing that had the crowd screaming.  It was instantly apparent that this was going to be night of high energy, loud, rock music, and amazing performances.  Guitarist Jerry Riggs captivated the crowd with his dramatic guitar solos which were matched by his eye-catching jacket and whipping hair.  Along with bassist Barry Dunaway, keyboard/vocalist Barry Capps, and drummer Gary Moffatt, they filled the park with classic hits like “Fantasy Girl”, “Caught Up in You”, and “Back Where You Belong”.  Mid-show, Jerry Riggs and Barry Capps took the stage alone, with a haunting guitar/piano solo, shrouded in mysterious light and fog.  The band also performed “Ride the Storm”, the title track off of Don Barnes previously un-released solo album (recently released more than 20 years after it’s original recording!).  Toward the end of the show, Gary Moffatt pummeled the park with a pounding drum solo, synched up to strobe lights and clouds of smoke.  They closed the night with their hit song “Hold on Loosely” and an encore of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band”, ending the 2021 Down by the Riverside season with a spectacular finale.