Rain threatens tribute bands concert
Argus-Press Photo by Michael Peterson RYAN CLIFFORD, lead singer of the Dave Matthews Tribute Band, performs at the Chesaning Showboat Music Festival Saturday night.

CHESANING - Two tribute bands played at the Chesaning Showboat Music Festival Saturday, despite threatening weather looking to rain out another night of concerts.

Vertigo USA, a U2 tribute band, and the Dave Matthews Tribute Band, took to the stage Saturday night as the rain grew stronger.

The Wednesday night Sugarland concert was canceled because of thunderstorms.

Instead of canceling the show, it was decided to move Vertigo USA to stage two next to the hospitality tent, with hopes the weather would clear up by the time the Dave Matthews Tribute Band was scheduled to play.

With the rain still pouring, most of the audience chose to stay under the tent, while a select few journeyed near the stage to dance in the rain. One man even took off his T-shirt and dove headfirst into the mud, sliding across the ground.

"That will be on YouTube tomorrow," Vertigo USA lead singer Alan Lewis said.

Lewis, who played Bono, even dressed the part. His costume was complete with a cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses.

"This song is called 'Beautiful Day.' I'm confused," joked Lewis, referring to the bad weather as they prepared to play U2's famous hit song.

The Chicago-based band played many other famous U2 hits, such as "New Year's Day," "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." They finished the concert off by playing "Walk On" from U2's 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind."

After Vertigo USA finished, Showboat chair Denise Ebenhoeh came onstage to publicly thank the band for being good sports.

"Vertigo was extremely flexible," Ebenhoeh said. "(The Dave Matthews Tribute Band) had larger sets and more equipment. It would've taken two hours to move their stuff to the other stage."

At 9:15 p.m. the Dave Matthews Tribute Band began playing at the Showboat main stage. By this time, the rain had completely stopped.

The band, hailing from Chattanooga, Tenn., played a lively and energetic show - something the real Dave Matthews Band is known for.

After an hour and 45 minutes and 100 guitar, violin and horn solos later, the band called it a night.

"Thank you so much for your patience with the rain and thank you to Vertigo USA for coming out and sharing the stage with us," lead singer and guitarist Ryan Clifford said before leaving the stage.

Despite setbacks, Ebenhoeh said she felt the night was a success.

"I think the people who were here really enjoyed it. It's too bad there weren't more of them," Ebenhoeh said. "There might have been a few more if the rain hadn't come in and dampened the whole atmosphere."

She estimated they sold about 400 tickets for the concert.

"We were pretty worried. After going through Wednesday night we thought, 'We can't go through another rain-out,'" Ebenhoeh said. "Sometimes you need to have a little more faith and mine was tested tonight. But, hey, it worked out."

- Contact Michael Peterson at 725-5136 extension 223 or mpetersonarguspress@gmail.com.

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