Lawton Constituion Newspaper

Lawton, Oklahoma


Charles Clark

"Legendary band play sweet 'Summertime' music

MEDICINE PARK - Foul weather south of the Red River on Saturday caused

a flight delay for the lead singer who was flying from Dallas to Oklahoma


then driving to Southwest Oklahoma, so Big Brother and the Holding Co. was

on hold for two hours.

Taking the stage at the Medicine Park Music Hall at 11:05 p.m., the legendary

band proved its show was worth the wait. Nearly 400 fans spanning a wide

age range rocked in their seats, on the dance floor and standing on chairs

before rushing the stage to feel the notes on "Piece of My Heart" and

"Mercedes Benz."

The San Francisco-based Big Brother - sans Janis Joplin - was a local

favorite in the mid-1960s. But the band really took off with a string of

hits after the Port Arthur, Texas, singer joined up. During their few short

years together before Joplin's death, Big Brother and the Holding Co.

racked up a number of rock classics.

Following in Janis Joplin's tracks is not an enviable position. Andra

Mitkovich, the group's current songbird, also a native Texan, not only has

a beautiful voice that can travel the scales, but she can belt one out to

the back of a beer hall.

Perhaps most pleasing to fans is that Mitkovich's delivery of Big Brother's

repertoire rings true. Without being a Joplin clone, she makes the songs come

out the way they should, the way they are remembered, the way they were

made famous.

Helping out in that endeavor are three original members of the group, Sam

Andrew, Peter Albin and David Getz.

Andrew on rhythm guitar and Albin on bass occasionally took the lead, but

more important, they kept everything going in the right direction and kept

it fun. No lulls, some bits of history, lots of rocking. Not piling all the

hits up at the end, the psychedelic, guitar-frenzied "Combination of the

Two" was done early in the set.

Another latecomer to Big Brother is guitarist Bill Ganaye, who elicited from the

crowd comments like "He has the fastest hands I've ever seen" and "He is

without a doubt the best rock guitarist I've heard."

With such heavy hits as the mournful "Summertime" and "I Need a Man to

Love," it's easy to forget that the band has a psychedelic vanful of perky

ones, too, including Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and the

hauntingly melodic "Women is Losers."

After a 90-minute, no-break set that included all the hits and some of the

band's more recent songs, the band bowed out, except for Mitkovich, who

remained on stage to do "Mercedes Benz" a cappella. She brought down the

house and floor-shaking applause brought the rest of the band back for two

encores, which included a righteous rendition of "Ball and Chain."

But the real "feel the love tour" didn't end there. Members stuck around in


lobby to autograph anything from jeans to T-shirts to their latest CD

(selling at the very reasonable price of $10).

Hats off to the Burt Herrin Blues Band, the opening act that was expecting to

do an hour but managed to pull off three hours without repeating a song.

Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King, Freddy King, Santana and lots of other artists

would have been proud of Herrin's renditions of their classics.

And music hall proprietor David Lott had to feel good when Sam Andrew said,

"He is the coolest promoter I've ever worked with."

The Medicine Park Music Hall has it going on."