Mayer Theatre
Madison, Wisconsin
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

At one point during the concert, Fogelberg had to ask the crowd of about 1500, "Hey, is anyone there?" At one point I wondered if the crowd's quiet demeanor was due to its age -about 40 and older. But then Dan's demeanor wasn't how I remembered from two previous concerts I had attended - at the Taste of Minnesota in the '80's, and in the '70's in Minneapolis when Dan was supposed to be backed by "Fool's Gold", but came solo with guitar and grand piano, and offered one of the best solo music performances I've ever witnessed.

I nearly panicked when Dan and his band opened with "Part of the Plan" - the sound system's treatment of the vocals was awful. It got better, especially when Fogelberg did his acoustic set, but throughout the evening it was hard to distinguish at times what he was singing unless you were already familiar with his songs.

If Dan didn't seem all that interested in us (he did poke fun at his band of California musicians for preferring California cheese over Wisconsin cheese, and he did have some fun with the audience as he claimed to be the only songwriter to have ever used the word, "exhume", pausing every time he came to it in "Make Love Stay"), he did gain our interest with his soulful vocals (after all these years he sounds as he did in the '70's), his acoustic guitar picking, piano work, and taking the lead guitar licks on "The Raven" and "The Power of Gold." The jamming he and the band did on those numbers brought a number of folks to their feet, with "The Power of Gold" being the final song before his first and only encore. The audience was interested to hear more after "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler," during which Dan did have us sing "...let it shine..." But as soon as he waved and said, "God bless you!" the house lights immediately came up.

Perhaps like "the leader of the band," Dan, too, has grown tired. Then again, as he had once told his old lover and sang once again to us, it may be that "the traveling is hell."

Chris and Heidi Schwanz