Bid July goodbye with a band that ruled the ’80s charts and still brings the house down four decades later. The Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center kicks off its 2023-24 season with roof-raising Southern rock sensations 38 Special on Sunday, July 30.

After a remarkable run that saw them produce a boatload of hits, 15 albums and more than 20 million in record sales, 38 Special remains just a group of “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys” who started a band more than 40 years ago. Guitarist/vocalist Don Barnes, keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Capps, drummer Gary Moffatt, bassist Barry Dunaway and guitarist Jerry Riggs still pride themselves on rocking the house at each of the 100 cities that 38 Special plays every year, a news release stated.

“We never wanted to be one of those bands that had maybe gotten a little soft or complacent over the years,” Barnes stated. “We’re a team, and it has always been kind of an unspoken rule that we don’t slack up, we stack up. We go out there every night to win.”

Formed in the 1970s, 38 Special paid its dues playing bars and one-night venues across the South and Midwest. Their dynamic sound caught the attention of A&M Records and before long, 38 Special was opening for the pre-eminent rock ‘n’ rollers of the period, such as Foghat, Peter Frampton and Kiss. Their first hit, “Rockin’ into the Night,” hit the Billboard charts in 1980, a news release stated.

Their experience as an opening act taught them how to balance arena-rock energy with their signature Southern sound. It led to a host of ’80s-era hits, including “Hold on Loosely,” “Caught Up in You,” “Fantasy Girl,” “If I’d Been the One,” “Back Where You Belong,” “Chain Lightnin’,” “Second Chance,” and more.

Gold and Platinum albums are great, Barnes said, but the driving force behind 38 Special is a love of music and live performance — forged in their honky-tonk days — that remains with them still. “The magic’s still there,” he said. “It’s an emotional high for us to keep ‘bringing it’ after all these years. When those lights go down and we all walk up those steps to the stage and hear that crowd roar, it’s a real rush to the head. It feels like we’re getting ready to strap ourselves in and it just takes off from there.”

Tickets for 38 Special start at $69. The Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center Ticket Office is located on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, 1100 E. Sheldon St., and open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. For reservations or more information, call 928-776-2000 or visit www.ycpac.com.

Information provided by the Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center.

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