’80s & classic rock bands to headline
Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for its fourth “Rockin’ the Downs” concert series, which will take place outside on the racetrack, with eight Friday dates starting in June and running into August.
Mark Farner’s American Band will perform June 18. The legendary all-American frontman and guitarist was the engine that pulled his band down the tracks to the top of the charts. Known for performing such hits as “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home),” “We’re An American Band,” a recut of “The Loco-Motion,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful,” Farner has been delighting audiences for over 40 years.
Continuing the series Friday, June 25, is former Journey frontman Steve Augeri. He returns after playing one of the most enjoyable concerts from 2019’s series. The lead vocalist for the rock group from 1998-2006, Augeri headlined an eight-year tenure that included three albums, and will perform hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin,’ ” “Separate Ways,” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Faithfully” and “Anyway you Want it.”
Next up, on Friday, July 2, Batavia Downs welcomes southern rock legends Molly Hatchet. Originating in Jacksonville in 1978, the band has gone on to release 14 studio albums. Molly Hatchet will perform hits such as “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” “Dreams I’ll Never See” and “Whiskey Man,” among others.
Friday, July 9, will see Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles, perform at the track. As a renowned former lead guitarist of The Eagles, Felder has helped write and perform many iconic classics. His 2008 memoir was a New York Times bestseller. He will perform solo and Eagles’ hits during his set, including “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride),” “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “The Long Run” and “Tequila Sunrise.”
Performing Friday, July 16, is Tommy James and the Shondells. Hailing from Niles, Michigan, James rose to stardom after his song, “Hanky Panky,” went to No. 1 in Pittsburgh. Other hits in his catalogue include “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Crimson and Clover,” “Sweet Cherry Wine” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”
Rocking the stage Friday, July 23, is heavy-metal rockers Skid Row. After forming in New Jersey in 1986, the band has performed all over the world with hard guitars and a unique songwriting style. Hits include “In a Darkened Room,” “We Are the Damned,” “Youth Gone Wild” and “18 and Life.”
The Grass Roots perform Friday, July 30. The groups originated in the mid-’60s and charted with such hits as “Midnight Confessions,” “Let’s Live for Today,” “Sooner or Later” and “Temptation Eyes.” The current band lineup of Mark Dawson, Dusty Hanvey, Larry Nelson and Joe Dougherty has been playing together since 2012.
America’s top Pink Floyd show, The Machine, hits the stage Friday, Aug 6. Over 30 years, musicians have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd, while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched hearts and souls with stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting and video performances.
Closing out the series Friday, Aug. 13, is rock band Queensrÿche. With more than 30 million albums sold worldwide, Queensrÿche continues to tour the globe to sold-out audiences. The band has earned multiple Grammy Award nominations, and won the MTV Viewer’s Choice Award for the chart-topping hit “Silent Lucidity.” With 11 Gold and Platinum plaques and several Top 10 hard rock anthems under their belt, Queensrÿche consistently delivers high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen.
Friday, Aug. 20, sees American alternative rock band Puddle of Mudd return to the Downs. Rocking the stage here in 2018, the post-grunge band was one of the highlights of the entire summer. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, the band has sold over 7 million albums. Concertgoers will be sure to hear hits such as “She Hates Me,” “Blurry” and “Control.”
Tickets for all nine concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com once guidance is received from New York state on the holding of outdoor events. Tickets will also be available for purchase at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the Lucky Treasures gift shop located in the lobby.
“Preliminarily, we’ll be looking at having a ‘pod’ setup, which has been utilized in many other locations. It allows patrons to be with those in their circle and socially distanced from other concertgoers,” President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek said. “If restrictions are lifted, then we will adapt as necessary with our concert setup. Tickets will go on sale once we have more guidance from the state about how we can safely conduct these events.”
Debuting this year will be a chair rental option. There will be 500 chairs available for rental for $5 each. All net proceeds for chair rental will benefit Make-A-Wish Western New York. Volunteers from Make-A-Wish will also be distributing foam drink holders in return for a donation.
“We are eager to welcome music lovers back to the facility,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We’re looking forward to bringing musical icons back to Batavia Downs for all to enjoy. After not having shows last summer, we’re excited to finally launch our partnership with Make-A-Wish Western New York to help raise funds to help them transform lives.”
Concerts are held rain or shine. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.
Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corp. is a public benefit entity with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 17 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated over $220 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.