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Lee Greenwood To Headline Holiday Concert

By Staff | Jul 3, 2008

As Palo Alto County gears up to celebrate its Sesquicentennial this weekend in conjunction with the Independence Day Holiday, there will be a wealth of activities to not only participate in but also to enjoy. One event sure to please young and old alike, and a most fitting event for our nation and county’s birthday, will be the appearance of country music legend Lee Greenwood.

Greenwood, who is most well known for his patriotic classic, “God Bless the USA”, will perform in concert on Saturday night, July 5, at 8:30 p.m. at the Wild Rose Casino and Resort in Emmetsburg. The concert will take place on the outdoor stage at the Wild Rose complex on the east edge of Emmetsburg.

For Lee Greenwood, being known for one song is OK, in his words.

“I’ve always reached for songs that had a meaning,” Greenwood said late last week in a telephone interview from a concert stop in Wisconsin. “God Bless the USA had a meaning to me, and if that’s the song that I become known for over the ages, then I’m pleased with that.”

Greenwood has run the gamut in the music industry, learning how to play a variety of musical instruments while in elementary school, and then starting his own band, “the Moonbeams,” while still in high school. Performing was so important to Greenwood, that when faced with the choice of attending his own high school graduation or playing at the Golden Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nev., he chose the gig “I needed to put my next foot forward, so I skipped graduation and headed for Nevada.”

After attending the College of the Pacific on a music and track scholarship, Greenwood became a musician at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, and was soon touring, but hard times would fall, and Greenwood ended up back in Las Vegas, where he honed his skills as a songwriter. Working in Vegas, Greenwood says he learned how to ‘read’ an audience, and how to play to a crowd, skills he says serve him well today.

“I’ve performed in venues from lounges in Las Vegas to Carnegie Hall and Yankee Stadium,” Greenwood says. “It’s easier to get a feel of the audience when you’re in a smaller venue or indoors, but the excitement of a live show, outdoors or inside, still brings out something from the crowd and the performers as well. I just enjoy performing for people, and with this being over the Independence Day weekend, and the fact that we’re at a casino, I hope people will be excited and upbeat on Saturday.”

Greenwood has become one of the perennials of the country music industry, reeling off a series of top songs, ranging from “It Turns Me Inside Out”, “Going, Going, Gone” and of course, “God Bless the USA.”

While the song has been around since the 1990’s, it was thrust back into the national consciousness with the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

“I never dreamed when I wrote it how important the song would become to people, and how much it would mean,” Greenwood admitted. “I wrote the lyric, ‘I’m proud to be an American’ because I really wanted to give back to my country and help bring pride back in America. To me, the song represents my family, my community, my American and all Americans who are proud of their country.”

Greenwood’s pride in his country is another reason why he has devoted so much of his time to performing for the Department of Defense and the United Service Organization, entertaining troops all over the world, where, to no one’s surprise, “God Bless the USA” is the most-requested song by the troops.

When he’s not entertaining troops or touring, Greenwood writes songs and enjoys the life of a family man.

To be an entertainer of Greenwood’s fame, travel is a huge part of life. When he appears in Emmetsburg this Saturday night, Greenwood will have traveled halfway across the United States in one night to appear at the Wild Rose. Greenwood played a show Wednesday night, July 2, at the Planet Hollywood Towers Resort in Las Vegas, and then jetted to Orange Beach, Alabama for a show Friday, July 4.

“We’ll finish a show Friday night, then the band and I will catch a private jet and fly to Iowa for the appearance in Emmetsburg,” Greenwood said. “When we finish in Emmetsburg, our next show is back in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on July 10 and 11, so you can see life on the road gets a little crazy, but its still fun.”

As the Wild Rose is sponsoring the concert, Greenwood is excited to be coming to Emmetsburg and the facility. “Being it’s the Fourth of July weekend and the concert is at a casino, I want to invite everyone to come out and join in the fun,” Greenwood said. “If you come out to the casino, please remember to gamble responsibly and have fun. I hope the folks will come out, take a break from their lives, bring their children, join us in honoring our soldiers and veterans and just have a good, old-fashioned American Fourth of July with us. This will be a good, family show that everyone will enjoy and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Lee Greenwood’s concert is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, July 5, at the Wild Rose Casino and Resort in Emmetsburg. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the Palo Alto County Cattlemen will be serving burgers and ribeye steak sandwiches prior to the concert. The Wild Rose will then sponsor a free fireworks display over their lake at the conclusion of the concert.

For tickets, contact the Wild Rose Players’ Club at 1-877-720-ROSE or go online at www.wildroseresorts.com.