If 7 Bridges didn't know how popular it was in Trumbull County before, the Eagles tribute band learned it in 2012, when it was booked for three different shows at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.
"I remember telling our agent, 'Tell 'em they're crazy to have us that many times,'" said Jason Manning, who handles Glenn Frey's parts in the band. "That last show (in October), it was 41 degrees and still over 3,000 people showed up. We didn't think anyone would show up."
7 Bridges returns to the venue on Saturday to open up the 2014 River Rock at the Amp concert series. The band will make a second appearance on Aug. 23, the next-to-last concert of the summer season.
The Eagles tribute band 7 Bridges has attracted big crowds for past appearances at Warren Community Amphitheatre.
Ken Haidaris, co-promoter of the River Rock series with Marty Cohen, said, "People talk about every concert, but the band they mention nine times out of 10 is 7 Bridges. They draw a lot of people, and when they keep talking about it, you keep doing it."
Manning said the musicians are happy to come back.
"We look forward to it every year," he said. "Being as big as it is, everyone is so close. You're still able to interact with the crowd. At a lot of the bigger venues, there is a gap, this void space of 20, 30 feet. There it's just not that way. The people are right there on the same level you are."
2014 River Rock at the Amp 2014 Schedule
June 14 - Wish You Were Here
(Pink Floyd tribute) and
Karri Fedor & Kerosene
June 21 - Head Games (Foreigner tribute), Straight On (Heart tribute) and Madam Weez
July 5 - ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute), Sideshow and Wet Lemon
July 11 - Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett tribute) and Rudy and the Professionals
July 12 - 52nd Street (Billy Joel tribute), Captain Fantastic (Elton John tribute) and Evil Ways (Santana tribute)
July 19 - Runnin' with the Pack
(Bad Company tribute) and
Evolution (Eric Clapton tribute)
July 26 - Elevation (U2 tribute) and
Jersey (Bruce Springsteen tribute)
Aug. 2 - Mr. Speed (KISS tribute) and
Thunderstuck (AC/DC tribute)
Aug. 16 - Draw the Line
(Aerosmith tribute) and
Vicious Cycle (Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute)
Aug. 23 - 7 Bridges (Eagles tribute) and Human Nature
Aug. 30 - Hollywood Nights
(Bob Seger tribute) and
The ReBeats (British invasion)
Admission is $8 for Wish You Were Here and Fins to the Left and $7 for all other
The band - Manning, guitar, keyboards and vocals; Keith Thoma, drums and vocals; Bryan Graves, bass and vocals; Blake Hall, guitar, mandolin and vocals; Tony Haan Jr., guitar and vocals; and Vernon Roop, keyboards, percussion and vocals - formed in 2008 from the remains of another Eagles tribute band, Tequila Sunrise.
Its popularity has continued to grow. Manning said 2014 will be its busiest summer yet with bookings every weekend but one. Most of those, like in Warren, are return engagements.
"As entertainers, when you play a show, the ultimate goal is to be invited back to play next year or sometime in the future," he said. "We always try to make it a win-win for the buyer and the consumer and for us and the person that's booking us. That's always our goal."
7 Bridges is one of several returning favorites on the 2014 schedule, joining Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd tribute) on June 14, ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute) on July 5, Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett tribute) and Mr. Speed (KISS tribute) on Aug. 2.
But as tribute bands become more popular and lucrative, it gets harder to find the ones like 7 Bridges, that are proven crowd pleasers.
"There are lot of musicians who can't get hired in bars who decide, 'Let's become a tribute band'," Cohen said. "Booking people have to be more discerning, checking them out closer to see what kinds of venues they're playing, making sure they're the caliber of a headliner."
The 2014 lineup features several new attractions. Head Games, a Foreigner tribute band, will be joined by Straight On, a tribute band for Heart on June 21. Two more newcomers, Runnin' with the Pack (Bad Company tribute) and Evolution (Eric Clapton) will be featured on July 19, and a U2 tribute band called Elevation will perform on July 26.
"The Bad Company group is spot on and has a good look," Cohen said. "The Clapton act, that guy is good. He could be a main act. Head Games have a great reputation. We've had a lot of requests over the years for Foreigner, and they came highly recommended."
Haidaris said there will be a couple new food vendors at the amphitheater for the concerts to try to give audiences more variety, and Cohen said he believes the series still is growing.
"I suspect we're still building audience in places like Sharon (Pa.) and south of Youngstown. I really think we're getting more traction in the outlying areas. I don't think we've reach the saturation point."