Gladden Fields at the Cotati Bandshell, April 19, 2008

The Saturn Return of
Gladden Fields and Aircastle
is a Re-Sounding Success!

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Click here - Concert clips of Gladden Fields 30 Year Reunion Concert April 2008 - Click here

Illustration by Gary Hallgren

Cotati , CA April 19, 2008 People in this usually sleepy Northern California town awoke on Saturday to find these two long forgotten bands playing their collective hearts out. Day two of the Be There Now Festival in La Plaza Park had all the energy of a LIVE 60’s DEAD show. The evening before at Sonoma State University marked the official reunions of Gladden Fields and Aircastle at the place where it all began for both groups back in the late 70’s. Aircastlestarted their show as an acoustic duo featuring Bob Gilmore (flutes, vocals) and Dave Godet (guitar, vocals). Bob's flute solos were full of breathy quick staccato runs and Dave's clean picking and crisp rhythm guitar kept it all glued together. Then they added original members Jeremy Cohen of Quartet San Francisco playing virtuoso violin solos and the sweet ethereal vocals of Pastor Karen Stokes of Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, CA. Those two additions really made day one something special. Aircastle finished their set with a rousing round of applause for what can best be described as their unique brand of Renaissance folk inspired acoustic music. The Be There Now Festival 2008 or “HippieFest”, as Frank Hayhurst of Zone Music and DJ at "The Krush" KRSH 95.1 Wine Country Radio re-named it on his Friday morning show, was off and running.

The Gladden Fields crew followed with a tuneful and deeply felt set of Julie Ann Layne’s folk rock to kick it off. Then Alan Watt (lead and rhythm guitar), who plays mandolin in Bottle Shock, followed with a blistering set of mostly original material which included a fabulous lead vocal by Steve Berry on the Motown style “Quota”.

Steve Berry stated "It's been thirty years since we guys have actually even seen each other. This has really been very special for all of us." He played solidifying percussion throughout and took over on drums for “Bees in the Honey” and “Good Lovin’”. Dan Goitein on electric bass and one of the main songwriters of Gladden Fields’ surprisingly strong original material was holding down the bottom with his silky smooth bass lines. While the only non-original member Scott Gartner (keys) was amazing filling in at the last minute for Libby Harrison (jazz guitar) who unfortunately got stuck at her weekly Brazilian jazz gig in Coos Bay, Oregon. Scott came all the way from West Palm Beach, FL and raised the level of musicianship in the band to new heights with rollicking solos and rock steady riffs. Yet still at large are Mike Cunningham (lead guitar) and Steve Stang (saxes) the only other core members who still could not be found. Steve Gabe the other main songwriter, lead vocalist, drummer and harp player who spent over two years organizing the festival kept the big beat on drums and sang vocals like there was no tomorrow.

Is there a tomorrow for these bands? Let’s certainly hope so. The videos, artfully shot by videographer Anne Paule Picker, prove that these bands should be back for good. Anne also designed the BTN website that chronicled Gladden Fields' glorious past and searched the web finding almost all the band members. Steve G. BACK