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Steppenwolf brings out the ‘wild' in everyone during opening night concert

March 03, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Americana was out in force at this year's first concert of the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta on opening day Friday.

Taking the stage among lots of denim, leather, Harley-Davidsons and T-shirts with logos from oil companies, racing cars and football teams were John Kay and Steppenwolf.

The concert drew people of all ages, including the children of El Centro resident Maria Castellanos — Ruby, Crystal and Julio.

Crystal, 16, said she was looking forward to hearing Steppenwolf play "Born to be Wild."

"It's been played on many movies," she said.

Ruby, 14, said the youngsters were at the concert at the urging of their mother.

"We grew up listening to this kind of music," she said.

All of the Castellanos children have been to other concerts at the fair and elsewhere, including to performances by Antonio Aguilar, Los Malos and Journey.


"I'm looking forward to the concert being fun and the band having a good beat and being loud," Julio, 13, said.

The band was punctual, and just before it took the stage more than 100 Harley riders from motorcycle clubs throughout the Valley roared into the grandstand area to the music of Montrose's "Bad Motor Scooter."

The crowd likely exceeded 1,000, and the band — which has been in existence for more than 34 years — built the audience to a climax by playing "Rock 'n' Roll Rebel," "Rock Me," "Straight Shootin' Woman," "Sookie Sookie," "Hootchie Kootchie Man," "Monster" and "Hey Lawdy Mama."

About halfway through the concert people began to gather at the rail in front of the band, ready to hear the band's best-known hits: "Magic Carpet Ride," "Born to be Wild," and for the encore, "The Pusher Man."

By that time, people were dancing in the aisles and fathers with daughters.

Plenty of people at the show remembered Steppenwolf from earlier times.

Brawley resident Mike Wood said he's been to plenty of concerts, but Friday was his first time to see Steppenwolf.

"They were pretty big when I graduated from high school in 1977," he said, adding that he was at the event to support the efforts of fair chief executive officer Bill Blair.

Steppenwolf has an Internet site,

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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