There’s nothing like a great rock show, and that came to Valpo in the form of Chuck Prophet and his four piece band. For the second installment in this year’s Imagine Music Concert Series, the Memorial Opera House was host to Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express. The San Francisco-based group took the venue by storm by providing an electric and interactive two-hour long set.
For many of the acts in the Imagine Music Series their stop in Valpo would of been their first, but Saturday night’s gig marked the second time Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express has played the Opera House. They were first invited to play two years ago and now have come back to blow the roof off the theater once again.
“We’re always glad to come back to Valpo.” Chuck Prophet stated. “We had a great time last time, and this town has treated us well. It’s always nice to see that the community is so invested in these concerts and the shows [Imagine Music] puts on, and we’re want to be a part of an effort that pushes music within a community that might not always have that.”
As the audience started to arrive and file in their seats they seemed just as excited to see the band as much as the band was excited to get on stage. Local Valpo residents made their way to see the band, but there were just as many people who traveled quite a distance to be there. Jerry Hunley and Arngy Deverall came from Lafayette to the Opera House to see Chuck Prophet again, but this marked the first time they saw him with his band.
“We have both seen Chuck four times before when he made stops in Lafayette, but this is the first time we’ve got to experience the Mission Express.” Hunley explained. “Chuck Prophet’s a great writer and musician. He’s an amazing performer even without the band, so the show will be incredible. I’ll see him any chance I get.”
Linda and Whitey Petty also traveled a great distance to be at the show, but they came from a different state to see the band perform for the first time. They had heard of Chuck Prophet and decided it was time to see him live.
“We actually heard him on the radio while we were on vacation in Florida and decided that we needed to be here, so we traveled from Tinley Park, Illinois to come.” Petty explained. “We had been meaning to come to the Opera House for a couple years but never really got the opportunity to, and Chuck Prophet drew us. We can’t wait to see the show, it’ll be amazing.”
Once the band stepped on the stage it was easy to see the audience’s expectations were going to be met. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express powered through new, older, high octane, and slower songs. Throughout the night they switched things up, talked to the audience, and did a few call backs to keep everyone on their toes. Prophet’s wife Stephie Finch also took a hold of the mic for a few beautiful songs to put her right in the spotlight. Chuck Prophet even made his way out to the floor to really get everyone to experience him first hand. They played a long set, but ended up coming back on stage for a two song encore.
Looking back on the audience there were dancers, sway-ers, and singers that enjoyed every second of the set. It was apparent to not only to the band, but to everyone who had a second to look around them.
Rob Harkel, co-founder of the Imagine Music Series, said that was all due to the band’s ability to put on a great gig.
“We had them here two years ago and we were anxious to have them back to play another incredible show, and they did.” Harkel stated. “They tour relentlessly, and are a road tested band, so it makes sense that they put on a great show because they play so many. They have that chemistry that’s so important to a good show because they’re so tight and some have been with Chuck for seven or eight years. It really makes the difference when you see a band enjoying themselves because that allows for the audience to have just as a great time as they are.”
In just three weeks Imagine Music will welcome rock legend Roger McGuinn to the Opera House stage, and after him there will be three more acts for 2015’s series. But looking at Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express’ performance it will be a tough act to follow a show as engrossing as Saturday night’s was.
For more information on the Imagine Music Series please visit their website here: http://www.imaginemusicvalpo.com/