"Carry on my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don't ya cry no more."
The lyrics to Kansas' timeless classic drifted above the crowd of tens of thousands of race fans at NH Motor Speedway on a cloudy day in June of 2008. The joint was jumping to the supergroup from the 1970s that still tours to this day. You could hear people sing along when the band performed "Dust in the Wind".
Pre-race brings in major acts from today and yesterday, and if speed drives the excitement of the race, then music drives the anticipation during the pre-race concerts.
If you've never been to see a live race, then you've never enjoyed an outdoor concert quite like the one we put on for the crowd in the grandstands every year. The tractor trailers pull the stage right to the center of the front stretch, the speakers aim in every direction and the music lifts the spirits.
NHMS Events loves to mix it up year to year. Our fans clearly enjoy a variety of music, from country to classic rock and many things in between. That's why fans have enjoyed so many different styles of music groups over the years.
"We have so many great groups to pick from," explains Jessica Ferreira, Director of Events at NHMS. "We like to spread the joy. One year, we will pick a classic southern rock band, and then we'll come back with one of the rising stars in country, and after that, we'll do something completely different like host a game show and give away ten Toyotas. It's never the same."
FOGHAT, Three Dog Night, O.A.R, Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry and Steel Magnolia are just a few of the major names that have revved up the audience before the green flag flew.
"Well I don't miss much if it happens on the dance hall floor. Mercy look what just walked through that door. Hello T-R-O-U-B-L-E, tell me what are you doing A-L-O-N-E?"
That Travis Tritt song had 'em dancing along the fence line back in September of 2012. The southern boys have a strong following up in New England. The aluminum seats were shaking when Montgomery Gentry belted out their hit "Where I Come From."
"Where I come from there's a preacher man in a cowboy shirt. Where I come from, a couple boys fight in the parking lot, nobody's gonna call the cops where I come from."
Last year, one of the nation's top young rock groups made a first ever race day appearance in Loudon. O.A.R performed their Top 40 hit "Shattered".
"How many times can I break till I shatter? Over the line, can't define what I'm after, I always turn the car around."
The flute in the song "Can't You See" by Marshall Tucker Band echoed around the grandstands in July of 2012.
Three Dog Night had us wash away our troubles with the rain and "Shambala" in the summer of 2009.
Over the years Eddie Rabbit, Vince Neal, 38-Special, and Diamond Rio have all entertained the masses on Sprint Cup Sunday at NHMS. This year, we have new faces on the rolling stage. Recycled Percussion will wow the crowd when it performs things you have NEVER seen before on a stage. It's loud, it's cool, and it's kind of like watching a construction / demolition crew turn all of its tools into a rock concert. It is like nothing you have ever seen before.
You can catch Recycled Percussion from your seats, and trust me it will look and sound amazing. But there's a way you can get as close as you want. You can buy pre-race pit passes, which give you racetrack access to the show. Stand on the Granite Stripe, right next to the stage and sing along like you are part of the performance. Get more information on pre-race access here.