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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

50 years ago in Expo history: The not-so-funky Grand Funk Railroad didn’t impress an S-R critic

 (Alayna Shulman / The Spokesman-Review)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Grand Funk (aka Grand Funk Railroad) was one of the lowlights of the Expo ’74 concert scene, at least according to The Spokesman-Review’s critic.

He said that lead guitarist Mark Farner “did his poor Mick Jagger imitation” and drummer Don Brewer “resembled a drowning man while he emaciated his drums.”

He said the band, while once solid, had metamorphosed “into the realm of bubble gum.” He described the Coliseum crowd as “8,000 junior high enthusiasts.”

The Chronicle reviewer was slightly more generous, praising the band’s hit song “We’re an American Band.” She also noted that “three male streakers pranced across the stage in front of the unsurprised Grand Funk members.”

The S-R would later note that city officials were sending a cleanup bill to Expo because Grand Funk band members “threw catsup and mustard all over their dressing room walls and ceiling at the Coliseum.”

In other Expo news, Donald C. Dagman, manager of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said Spokane was beginning to see the “payoff” from Expo, in the form of increased convention bookings.

The convention trade in Spokane was projected to hit $10 million for 1974, compared to $6 million the year before. And the outlook for 1975 was also projected at above $10 million.

Dagman said 1974 would have been an even bigger convention bonanza, but the city had to turn away some of the larger conventions because they would have tied up the accommodations needed for Expo visitors.

“But they are coming back next year, and we are going to keep bringing them back,” he said.