by Jamilyn Hiskes
LANSING, Ill. (May 29, 2019) – “There’s a lot of happy people here,” Mayor Patty Eidam said as she looked around at the roughly 500 people surrounding her. “I’m so thrilled that people are having fun.”
There was certainly a lot of fun to be had during Fox Pointe’s May 29 summer opening night. Whether they were driving, walking, or riding their bikes, Lansing residents of all ages turned up to welcome summer with a lively performance by 1980s glam rock cover band Hairbanger’s Ball.
People began gathering on Fox Pointe’s main lawn and under the pavilion more than an hour before the show was slated to start. They set up their lawn chairs and blankets, purchased their dinners and beverages from the concession and settled in for a night of entertainment and community building. Even though the freshly-trimmed thick grass was still damp from rain earlier in the week, it didn’t dissuade attendees from getting close to the stage.
Even before the music started, the event felt energetic and welcoming. The number of Lansing businesses and organizations involved helped to solidify the strong community feeling for the evening—volunteers from the Lansing Copper Muggers Club donned yellow vests and acted as event staff, while officers from the Lansing Police Department provided security. Food was supplied by Lynnie Ques Airport Bar and Grill and J.J. Kelley’s. Members of the Lansing Village Board came out to support Fox Pointe, including Mayor Eidam, and everywhere people were talking and laughing with each other over food and drinks.
Hairbanger’s Ball took the stage soon after 7 p.m. and immediately launched into a rock ballad. The band was decked out in classic 80s attire, including big hair, sleeveless tees, and ripped red jeans. Standing in for ill lead singer Mick Jäger was Pete Greco of Lounge Puppets, another local cover band. His soaring vocals—accompanied by those of keyboardist Polly Pantz, guitarist Rikki Rhoads, and bassist Rod Viper—encouraged people to sing along, while the kickdrum played by Kidd Khaos thumped away in every chest.
As the show progressed with well-known 80s hits such as Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer,” Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” Fox Pointe came alive. People began to stand up from their chairs to clap and dance, and some even moved to the very front of the lawn to get closer to the band. While Greco sang his heart out and Rhoads shredded effortlessly through beloved Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses riffs, the crowd cheered and applauded.
Before playing “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Greco said from the stage, “Can we get everybody to stand up for this song?” The crowd responded by doing just that, and almost everyone remained standing for the last hour of the show. The dancing, fist-pumping and cheering got more enthusiastic as the night went on, proving just how unifying good music can be.
Besides enjoying the show, event attendees also discussed Fox Pointe—what they thought of the venue, how they believed the night was going. The general consensus—especially when it got dark enough to turn the pavilion and band shell lights on—was that the venue was beautiful, and the event was well-run. Feedback regarding the food, the amount of security and the music was overwhelmingly positive. While there were some tailgaters before the event and some attendees disregarding Fox Pointe’s no smoking policy, everyone from toddlers to retirees appeared to have a great night.
This event was free to the public, as will be most of this year’s Fox Pointe events. The Village is using this year to iron out logistics, develop policies, and build recognition. As early as next year, Fox Pointe events may require paid admission. Toward that end, Village Communications Director Ken Reynolds said that plans to put a permanent fence around Fox Pointe are moving forward.
After the last guitar chord was strummed, attendees began to flow out of the venue, many of them smiling. Others lingered for several minutes to either meet members of the band or mingle with each other, laughing and strengthening neighborly bonds.
Lots of expectant, curious people came to Fox Pointe that night, and even more happy people left.
To view more photos from the first summer concert at Fox Pointe, visit the following Facebook photo album:
About Hairbanger’s Ball
According to the band’s website, Hairbanger’s Ball was formed in 2001 to re-create the magic of the 1980s glam rock era. Since then, they’ve played sold-out shows across the country and are available for booking at clubs, festivals and traditional venues. For more information, visit their website at www.hairbangersball.com.
About Fox Pointe
Located at 18138 Henry St., Fox Pointe is Lansing’s premiere entertainment venue. Throughout the summer, there will be events at the venue every Wednesday night, as well as several Saturday night events. For more information or to book the venue for an event, email director Tony Troncozo at [email protected] or visit www.foxpointe.org.