Concert Review: The Rainmakers 6/4/11, Krug Park in St. Joseph, MO

The Rainmakers re-united in early 2011 and recorded a new album of material. The reunion wasn’t a true full one as guitarist Steve Phillips elected to remain in his band the Elders and Jeff Porter would take Phillips place. The band released a new record, 25 On, their first album of new material since 1996.

The band played a couple big shows in Kansas City and took a quick trip to the geographical hotbed of Rainmakers fans in Europe, also known as Norway. They showed up to The Krug Park Amphitheater in St. Joseph on Saturday 6/4/11 to a very respectable crowd of anxious fans.

My newly signed copy of The Rainmakers new album "25 On" (top to bottom) Jeff Porter, Bob Walkenhorst, Rich Ruth(left) and Pat Tomek(bottom right)

My newly signed copy of The Rainmakers new album "25 On" (top to bottom) Jeff Porter, Bob Walkenhorst, Rich Ruth(left) and Pat Tomek(bottom right)

Most of the band played the same show last year. The only problem was that it was in a steady rain and the band was missing bass player Rich Ruth. Jeff Porter had not formally become a Rainmaker at the time either. That night was an enthusiastic show but was only seen by a few fans, possibly under 100 people.

2011 was different. The band was officially billed as The Rainmakers and were ready take St. Joseph by storm. A light rain shower cooled the crowd right before the band started their set that lasted close to 2 hours. The band blasted into possibly their best song right away, “Downstream.”

They would play a 25 songs set that would hit both their first and last albums very hard and fill in the gaps in-between with some well chosen songs from the rest of their catalog. They would go on to play 10 of the 11 songs from their debut album. The would also plug their new disc appropriately by playing 6 songs from it. They would do 4 from “The Good News and the Bad News” and another 2 from “Flirting With The Universe” and 3 from their sophomore effort “Tornado.” The only album to not get represented was the 1996 concept album “Skin” that really works better as a complete album as opposed to individual songs.

I found myself wondering how this show was any different than the other four times I have had the pleasure of watching Bob Walkenhorst play. The addition of Rich Ruth on bass being the most notable difference. There was definitely a different energy to this Rainmakers show in comparison to the Walkenhorst shows I had previously seen. I had never seen them billed as The Rainmakers before this St. Joseph show.

Walkenhorst was very animated, not that he isn’t always. He is a very good entertainer and adds a lot of energy to the show. He took it to another level when fronting the band that brought him his musical success. Bass player Rich Ruth and guitarist Jeff Porter frequently visited each-others sides of the stage to sing harmonies and backup vocals. The three members used much of their time on stage to move around and appeared to be having a very good time. Rich Ruth and new guitarist Jeff Porter had a ton of fun with each-other and if you didn’t know better you would have thought they were both original members of the band. The only member to stay put was drummer Pat Tomek who was understandably tied to his drum kit.

The absolute shocker for me was when bass player Rich Ruth took over lead vocals to sing a Rainmakers song I didn’t think I would ever hear, “Nobody Knows.” The song is from the Rainmakers first album released in 1986 and I had never seen it because Bob Walkenhorst didn’t perform lead vocals on the track so he had never done it. The trick is that Rich Ruth didn’t perform lead vocals either. It was guitarist Steve Phillips who wrote and performed the song on the album. Ruth took the mic and bravely took on the song. He couldn’t sing it quite like the young Steve did 25 years earlier but did a very good job and made it the highlight of my night.

The Rainmakers returned for the encore by doing a surprising a cappella version of “Turpentine” off of their new album 25 On. They then busted out one of their better known songs that I had never seen. The first album also contained the tounge-in-cheek “Big Fat Blonde” that Walkenhorst refused to perform for several years during the Rainmakers hiatus. The song was busted out to close the evening and made it really really feel like a true Rainmakers show.

The Rainmakers pose for a picture with a fan after the show. The graciously stayed to sign everything for everyone that wanted a signature or take a picture. Left to right: Jeff Porter, Rich Ruth, a fan, Bob Walkenhorst, Rich Ruth

The Rainmakers pose for a picture with a fan after the show. The graciously stayed to sign everything for everyone that wanted a signature or take a picture. Left to right: Jeff Porter, Rich Ruth, a fan, Bob Walkenhorst, Rich Ruth

The Rainmakers the 25 song setlist from the Krug Park Amphitheater in St. Joseph, MO on 6/4/2011

  • Downstream
  • Hoo Dee Hoo
  • Shiny Shiny
  • Long Gone Long
  • The One That Got Away
  • Given Time
  • Small Circles
  • Rockin’ At the T-Dance
  • Like Dogs
  • Nobody Knows
  • Kansas City Times
  • The Lakeview Man
  • Drinkin’ On The Job
  • The Wages of Sin
  • Reckoning Day
  • You Remind Me Of Someone
  • Missouri Girl
  • Spend It On Love
  • Government Cheese
  • Another Guitar
  • Last Song of the Evening
  • Information
  • encore break
  • Turpentine (a cappella)
  • Let My People Go-Go
  • Big Fat Blonde
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2 Responses to Concert Review: The Rainmakers 6/4/11, Krug Park in St. Joseph, MO

  1. Tubby says:

    Once again, another well written evocative show review.
    Keep ’em coming Clinton!

  2. Thank you sir, perhaps Pompous Pilot could be the subject of a wandering review someday…

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