They came via 'Ventura Highway'
Ron Gower/TIMES NEWS Dewey Bunnell, left, and Gerry Beckley from the band America perform Saturday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
The band America took a large Penn's Peak crowd back in time on Saturday night - back to the days of the Vietnam War; to the era when pop was tops.
Lead singers Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell put on an incredible show, singing the hits that made them famous, songs from their most recent project, and videos that accentuated their musical era.
It was about the fourth appearance at Penn's Peak for America, and like the previous concerts the auditorium was packed with fans of all ages.
The concert opened with vintage footage of America when they embraced the hippie movement.
Beckley told how he and Bunnell grew up in London, the sons of American fathers and British mothers. They met while playing in different bands, and brought many American hits to the concert halls of England.
At the Penn's Peak show, they got the crowd in the groove immediately by opening with the hit "The Tin Man."
Unlike their appearance in the early 70s, the two men are now clean-cut. The wore casual attire on the stage and were backed by a four-piece band.
They went through a 24-song set, saving their biggest hit, "Horse With No Name," for the encore.
Another number one hit, "Sister Golden Hair," was saved for the finale of the regular portion of the concert.
Of course, no America concert would be complete without "Ventura Highway," which was part of their road to success in 1972.
"Ventura Highway" was their third hit. Their signature song is "Horse With No Name," a tune which obviously the audience was waiting for. When performed, audience members stood and danced at their seats and sang along with the band.
They sang songs from their 2010 project, "Back Pages," which is a compilation of favorite songs by other artists. Among them were "Til I Hear It From You" by the Gin Blossoms, "Woodstock" by Joni Mitchell and "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and Papas.
Other songs sung included "The Border," "I Need You," and the title track from "The Last Unicorn."
Bunnell told the crowd the band has been doing over 100 shows a year for the past 43 years. He said, "As long as you come out, we'll keep doing it."
Judging from the performance at Penn's Peak on Saturday, the size of the crowd, and the incredible response the band got from that audience, America is far from retirement.
Next up at Penn's Peak is the Led Zepellin tribute band, "Get the Led Out," which will be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday.
• 9 - Get the Led Out, 8 p.m. Tickets $33 Pit, $28 reserved seating, $23 standing room only.
• 16 - .38 Special, 8 p.m. Tickets $37 pit, $32 rserved seating.
• 22 - Robert Randolph & the Family Band, 8 p.m. Tickets $22 advance, $27 day of show.
• 27 - Dark Star Orchestra, 8 p.m. Tickets $24 advance, $29 day of show.
• 6 - Travis Tritt, Travis Tritt, 8 p.m. Tickets $37 and $42.
• 14 - Christmas with the Celts, 8 p.m. Tickets $22 and $27.
• 11 - Phil Vassar, 8 p.m. Tickets $22 and $27.
• Fran Cosmo, former lead singer of BOSTON, 8 p.m. Tickets $20 advance, $25 day of show.
• 21 - Vince Gill, 8 p.m. Tickets $49 and $54.
• 22 - Bruce in the U.S.A., 8 p.m. Tickets $17 advance, $22 day of show.
• 22 - Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, 8 p.m. Tickets $22 advance, $27 at the door.