August 19, 1995

Star Power Neal Mccoy Bringing High-Energy Show To The Fair

Bekka Rauve Correspondent

This year’s fair takes off with the help of some energy from a major star.

Neal McCoy finished 1994 with more weeks at No. 1 one on the country music charts than any other artist. “Wink” stayed at the top for a whopping four weeks. “No Doubt About It” and “The City Put the Country Back In Me” were also hits.

But McCoy’s paid his dues as a singer.

“I met Neal years ago at a club in Minneapolis,” said KDRK Radio’s Tim Roberts, the station’s operations manager and afternoon drive personality. “He was one of the most exciting live shows I’ve ever seen. A born entertainer.”

KDRK will be presenting McCoy’s Aug. 23 concerts: one at 6:30 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 for grandstand seats and $20 for stageside seating. They’re available at the fair office, Bass’ Western World, or any G&B; Select-a-Seat outlet.

All other entertainment at the fair is free, once you’re in the gates.

Roberts remembers McCoy as a star in the making - a dazzling performer who simply hadn’t found the right material. Rick Blackburn and Barry Beckett of Atlantic Records changed all that.

McCoy signed with Atlantic in 1991, and the company believed in the singer enough to stay with him until his big success last year.

“He’s a natural entertainer, a guy who was working 250 dates a year without a hit. You can’t abandon somebody like that,” Blackburn told the Chicago Tribune last summer.

McCoy is one of few entertainers confident enough to go onstage without a written list of songs. He’d rather feel out his audience and tailor his songs to its tastes.

“No one ever leaves his shows unhappy,” said Roberts. “His energy and enthusiasm just leave you with a smile.”

Opening for McCoy are the unforgettable Gentlemen Jugglers. They and several other professional stage performers can be seen at the fair daily for free.

Gentlemen Jugglers’ magic results from the contrast between the technical skill of straight man John and the whacky shenanigans of comic Roberto the Magnificent. Their props liven things up, too - look for torches, knives, even unicycles.

The two have opened for Conway Twitty and recently appeared on TNN with Reba McEntire. Catch them at Steinley’s Stage at 3 p.m. Wednesday; 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

How can the same guy sound like both Elvis Presley and Anne Murray? You have to see Charlie Walhof in Charlie’s Goodtime Funtime Show to find out. In show business for more than 30 years, Walhof has opened for Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Reed and many other big names. His John Wayne and Ronald Reagan impersonations are not to be missed.

Watch Walhof on Steinley’s Stage at 1:30, 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; 1:30 p.m. Thursday; 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday; 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m., 1, 3, and 5 p.m. Sunday. He’ll also be doing walkarounds. Keep your eyes peeled for him at noon and 8 p.m. on Wednesday; noon, 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday; noon and 6 p.m. Friday; and noon and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

For great music that ranges from rock and pop standards to rhythm and blues, you’ll want to catch Lip Service, a five-piece band that features that guitar, sax and harmonica of lead singer Daryl “Lippy” Lipska, also the band’s lead singer.

An expert crowd-pleaser, Lip Service has played the hotel circuit across the country. How can you go wrong with a band whose nickname is Preacher of Party?

Performing on the U.S. Bank Stage, Lip Service will sing at 3, 6 and 9 p.m. Wednesday; 3:30, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2, 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Webster & Company is a one-man MTV station, pretending to be everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the Traveling Wilburys (all of them). He transforms right on stage - with the help of hats, wigs, costumes and his musical director Terry Henry, who can make as much music as three or four regular musicians.

Webster & Company has opened for Alabama, Roger Miller, Pam Tillis, and others. The act will be on the U.S. Bank Stage at 1:30, 5 and 7 p.m. Wednesday; 2, 5 and 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 3:30, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Finally, on Thursday only, don’t miss the Red Hot Mamas, appearing on Steinley’s Stage at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

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