top of page

38 Special
Brings Back
Memories At
Packard Music Hall

November 13, 2021

It's funny how music can take you back to a different place and time.

Being a concert photographer and music critic for the past seven years has given me the opportunity to see hundreds of shows over that time.  Getting to see bands that I've seen several times, to artists that I wouldn't normally see is always a great experience.

However, this past Thursday night 38 Special helped me bring back memories that I haven't had since 1984.

Don Barnes and the rest of the boys from 38 Special brought their southern/classic rock sounds to Packard Music Hall.  From the opening chords of "Rockin' Into the Night," I was taken back to a warm summer night at Blossom Music Center where my mother loaded me, my brother and some of our friends into the car and took us to see 38 Special and Night Ranger for a night out under the stars.

This was the first time that I have seen 38 Special since that night nearly forty years ago. 


A lot of things have changed since that summer of '84.  Band members have come and gone, but one thing that remains is that Don Barnes' voice still sounds the same.

Each song brought back memories of putting on their Special Forces and Tour de Force albums on the turntable in my parents basement. 

As the band played, I caught myself saying several times, "I forgot about that song" or "I remember this song!"  These tunes included "Back To Paradise," "Somebody Like You," "You Keep Running Away" and "Like No Other Night."

It wasn't just 38 Special songs that were played either.  The band did a great job of covering Chicago's "Feeling Stronger Every Day" and The Easybeats "Good Times" which was made popular in the '80s by INXS and Jimmy Barnes.

The biggest hits were saved for the end of the show as "Caught Up In You" ended the first set.  As the band then left, the fog machines filled the stage with smoke and sounds of thunder echoed in the arena as flashing white light beamed across the stage.

Once again, I was taken back to Blossom Music Center when the band did the exact same thing right before they tore into "Chain Lightening."  

I thought it was cool as a fourteen year old, and it's still a pretty cool effect today.

Everyone then got out of their seats dance and sing along to "Hold On Loosely" as those wild eyed southern boys closed the show with CCR's "Traveling Band."

What a great trip down memory lane and a big thanks to my mom for taking me and my friends to see tons of concerts at Blossom and the Coliseum in my youth!

Jackson Dean opened the show with some solo acoustic country-esque tunes.  He ended his set with a song that is going to be featured in the second episode of Yellowstone this season.

Review by Greg Drugan

bottom of page