An amazing weekend kicked off by a Welcome Party hosted by Jean Fogelberg, Deb Jelinek and Laurie Williams
at the Hotel Pere Marquette. Fabulous artists from across the country paying tribute to Dan entertained the guests.
Saturday started off with tours of significant DF locations aboard the Princeton Trolley, narrated by Eric Mills.
The glorious weather served as the backdrop of the Memorial Dedication Ceremony in RiverFront Park.
The celebration continued as the Peoria All-Stars honored Dan's songs at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
Hugh Higgins, Marc Fogelberg, Jean Fogelberg, Deb Jelinek, Margaret Fogelberg
Margaret Fogelberg, mother of the late singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg, spoke softly attempting to contain her emotions at the unveiling of the honorary street naming of "Dan Fogelberg Parkway" in Peoria on September 9th, 2008. "We (the Fogelberg family) have been a part of the East Bluff for such a long time, and we can't believe they think so highly of us to do an honor like this."
The selection of renaming Abington St. was chosen for several reasons. Abington St. was the connector from Glen Oak grade school where Dan attended and his mother was a music teacher, and Woodruff High School where Dan graduated from in 1969. The convenience store at the intersection of Prospect Ave. and Abington was the location where Dan Fogelberg met his old lover on Christmas Eve. This chance meeting served as inspiration for the popular song Same Old Lang Syne. And just 100 yards away is the Glen Oak Amphitheater where Dan played his "Coming Home" concert in August of 1975.
Peoria city councilman Bob Manning, who coordinated the unveiling initiated by ArtsPartners director Suzette Boulais, said the street designation was named in honor of the entire Fogelberg family for their contributions to the East Bluff and the Peoria region.
Billed as an outdoor, day long family event to be held in Glen Oak Amphitheater on September 13th 2008, livemusicpeoria.com hosted a concert opening with Disney artist Ralph’s World in the afternoon- followed by a Dan Fogelberg Tribute show with the Peoria Acoustic All Stars- and the headliner for the night was Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, John Sebastian from the Lovin’ Spoonful.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not get copied on the event, and incessant rain began on the 10th and showed no signs of letting up the entire week. By Friday September 12th a decision had to be made. Rather than taking the easy road and cancelling, a new location was secured and a media blitz ensued to direct ticket holders to the alternate site.
In what can only be construed as a fluke of nature, the alternate location selected was the Opera House at Exposition Gardens. In Peoria’s music world of the 60’s and 70’s, the Opera House at Expo was “the place” where musicians aspired to play and announce their arrival as top dogs in the music scene.
Within the entourage of talent in the Peoria Acoustic All Stars was Barry Cloyd. Barry was a musician friend of Dan’s back in those days of yore. He told us the custom was that when you finally “arrived” and got to play the Opera House, you would sign your name on the side stage wall. When we arrived at the Opera House that day of our concert, many eyes scoured the walls and we were sublimely pleased to see the ornate signature Dan Fogelberg inscribed on the wall in Olde English script… his “coming of age” had been realized in the 60’s with The Coachmen.
Dan’s signature is now a part of the photo collage from our performance in his honor.
The Peoria Acoustic All Stars was a gathering of 17 musicians and singers from some of Peoria’s finest acoustic folk bands. In addition, we had 4 members of the Central IL Youth symphony to provide string accompaniment to our opening song "To The Morning."
The Peoria tribute show was a unique concept that offered 14 songs from Dan’s career presented in chronological order according to album release. The idea was to present the progression of styles that signified Dan’s evolution as an artist. Every effort was made to replicate studio production quality in a live environment. It took 6 guitar slingers, 4 string players, a mandolin, bass, 2 keyboard players, an exemplary percussionist, sax man, flautist, banjo and 3 additional vocalists to attempt to recapture Dan’s sound. A script was written so that our master of ceremonies could tie the thread between the songs and announce the players as they came and went.
We began our show with our master of ceremonies setting the stage by detailing Dan’s early career and letting everyone know that even though we changed locations, this was still Dan’s house. After the introductions were concluded, we paused for a moment of silence to honor Dan. When an appropriate time had passed, our conductor signaled the string players, and the haunting chord that ushers in the beginning of "To The Morning" raised everyone’s heads to listen in captured silence.
As the show progressed, so did the rain. So much so that the ground could absorb no more. The parking lot outside the Opera House became a lake that was in search of an escape, and the raked floor of the Opera House was the only exit for the deluge. After 3 songs, the sound reinforcement company had to stop the show to pull the subwoofers from the floor that was now a foot deep with rain water pouring in under closed doors. A well meaning patron called the fire department in hopes they would pump the water out, but instead, they threatened to close the show down for safety concerns. After an hour delay of frantic attempts to pump more water out of the theater than was seeping in, the show was allowed to continue.
John Sebastian was now in the house and exercised his rightful option to play at his designated time, and the Fogelberg Tribute show was put on hold until after John’s set was over. The audience never abated and waited faithfully for the tribute show to continue. The concert resumed with new energy like a Phoenix without the flames, and Dan’s music once again filled the Opera House to the enthusiastic response of passionate fans.