by Steve Muzzy
Photography by Steven Hicks
The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, aka the “King Center” is widely recognized by locals and visitors alike as an outstanding venue for hosting national musical acts.
The evening of November 10, 2017 was no exception when the Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) played to a sold-out crowd on a tour celebrating 45 years
The Marshall Tucker Band is among a group of bands that established their own music genre in the 1970s- Southern Rock – with six gold records and two platinum records to their credit. Along with bands such as the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, and the Charlie Daniels Band, MTB was part of a sound that has created an extremely loyal fan base and influenced a wide range of popular country acts today.
Prior to the show, we were able to catch up with the band’s original lead singer and founding member, Doug Gray, about the appeal of the Florida area and his appreciation of the King Center as a venue for touring musicians. “The Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando areas have always been very important to the Marshall Tucker Band,” said Gray. Regarding the King Center, Gray was effusive in his praise of the center and its staff – “A fantastic place for musicians with a very hospitable staff. I would gladly make this a regular stop as part of our Florida swing in future tours.”
Along with lead vocalist (and Tambourine) Doug Gray, the rest of the longtime current MTB members consist of B.B. Borden (Drums), Chris Hicks (Guitar and Vocals), Marcus James Henderson (Keyboards, Saxophone, Flute and Vocals), Rick Willis (Guitar and Vocals), and Tony Black (Bass and Vocals).
As the band entered the stage with the Grammy winning “Long Hard Ride” instrumental, they opened with the title track from their “Running Like the Wind” album. Gray frequently shared personal stories during the show at one time commenting “the last 25 years I have had the same set list but have yet to follow it – and I don’t plan to tonight either.” MTB deep tracks such as “Midnight Promises” and “Bob Away My Blues,” along with favorites “Fire on the Mountain,” “Desert Skies,” and “Hillbilly Band” were also included in the set.
The final song of the set was the southern rock anthem “Can’t You See,” recognized by Ultimate Classic Rock as the all-time #1 Southern Rock song – had the fans dancing in the aisles. The band returned for an encore song, “Heard It In a Love Song,” that delighted the audience as evidenced by virtually everyone singing along.
After the show, the famously fan-friendly and humble bandmates, led by Gray, expressed gratitude for keeping MTB alive after 45 years and provided no sense of slowing down anytime soon. Judging by the reaction of the fans, the feeling was mutual. With so many songs in the MTB catalog and Doug Gray’s penchant for different set lists each show, let’s hope a return visit to the Space Coast is on the horizon.
For a complete list of upcoming shows at The King Center, visit KingCenter.com. SpaceCoast Living highlights many events each month in “The Buzz” section of the magazine, and by weekly emails. To subscribe or sign up, visit SpaceCoastLiving.com.