June 17--The recent ranking by a nonresident blogger bestowing Cleburne high marks in the boredom department rang false Saturday night given the crowd who were on hand at Market Square celebrating the opening salvo of the city's free summer concert series with local band the R.C. Trio and classic rock cover band Incognito.
A crowd, Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey pointed out, would likely have been much larger absent Cleburne's other entertainment options last weekend.
"Considering we had the rodeo, Relay for Life, Dancing with the Stars and shows at the Songbird going on the same time I think we drew a pretty good crowd," Bailey said.
Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain agreed.
"We had a great concert and a great crowd in spite of a certain report saying Cleburne is boring," Cain said. "If there was any problem at all Saturday it's that the town had so many entertainment opportunities occurring at once."
A healthy cross breeze tempered the warm weather making for a comfortable night in the square as the R.C. Trio took the stage about 7:30 p.m. for a rousing bout of country and '70s rock.
The 1970s and '80s revisited downtown Cleburne for a couple of hours at least starting about 9 p.m. courtesy of Incognito's faithful renditions of classic hits by Boston, the Eagles, Guns N' Roses and more. Several mature attendees were spotted dancing and singing along like the teenagers and young adults they would have been when these songs were new.
The crowd of five or six dancing in the square grew substantially after singer Shelley Porterfield beckoned everyone stage front. Moments later, Brittany Darling of College Station hoisted her 2-year-old daughter Andi Darling on stage to mug for the crowd and shake a tambourine while Porterfield sang.
Darling said she and Brittany were in town for Father's Day. Darling's father owns Mill Street Coffee & Computers, and decided to catch a show as well.
Several teens and pre teens took the stage shortly after to dance and sing along while the band tore through Blondie's "One Way Or Another."
Others contented themselves with singing and dancing in the back of the crowd or simply enjoying the music from the comfort of their lawn chairs.
The night benefited Morris Neal's Handy Hamburgers and other nearby restaurants who remained open late.
"It wasn't as big a crowd as the shows last summer, probably because of the rodeo and all going on," Morris Neal's owner Johnnie Jordan said. "But we had our homemade ice cream and hamburgers and got busy off and on. I'm thinking the upcoming shows will have big crowds again."
Band members invited long-time friend Bailey on stage for acoustic accompaniment through five songs.
"I'm hoping we can get [Incognito] back in the future," Bailey said. "There was so much going on Saturday night, which probably hurt attendance some. But next time I'm sure they'll fill the place up especially once word gets out how well they performed."
Incognito's return will have to wait. In the meantime, two more free concerts remain this summer.
Kraig Parker'sElvis Tribute Band performs on July 26 followed by a night of Texas country from Brandon Rhyder on Aug. 23. Both shows include an opening band at 7:30 p.m. with the main act at 9 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and coolers. In addition to local restaurants, several vendors will be on hand.
"Cleburne certainly isn't boring," Cain said. "We have two more free concerts scheduled and a lot of other entertainment opportunities scheduled in town this summer."
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