Boogie Wonderland: ’70s tribute act brings dance music Saturday to Corn PalaceMost people have heard of a “winter wonderland,” but there’s another wonderland out there — the disco kind.
By: Candy DenOuden, The Daily Republic
Most people have heard of a “winter wonderland,” but there’s another wonderland out there — the disco kind.
Boogie Wonderland, also the name of an Earth, Wind and Fire song, is a six-person band dedicated to performing the high-energy, unmistakable disco dance music that helped define the 1970s. That sound will make its way to Mitchell when Boogie Wonderland performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said tickets are general admission, so it’s hard to gauge how many people will attend, but he hopes for about 700 to 800.
“We’ve had many calls about the event, so we’re looking for a good walk-up crowd,” he said.
The concert is part of an ongoing effort to bring more and more diversified entertainment options to the Corn Palace, rather than beginning and ending the offerings with the traditional summertime Corn Palace Festival concert lineup.
“(Boogie Wonderland) was just something to target a different demographic,” he said. “We’ve had success with the ’80s route, with Hairball (in 2011), and we’ve heard good comments about Boogie Wonderland.”
The band’s lead guitar player, who preferred to be identified by his stage name, DeWayne Dupre, said even though the ’70s — and the height of disco — were 40 years ago, the music is, well, “Stayin’ Alive.”
“The music still gets a lot of air play,” Dupre said.
Dupre, who has been performing professionally for more than 20 years, said he grew up in the disco era.
“It’s feel-good, party music,” he said. “It has that infectious kind of positivity to it. I think that’s what is appealing about it.”
All six band members have adopted stage names, many reminiscent of the bygone era: Rico Estrada plays guitar, Gino Ferrari is on the keyboard, Kid Vegas on drums, Aphrodite Jones (aka “AJ”) sings and Maurice Stubbs plays bass.
Dupre said the idea for the band was “hatched” about 15 years ago as a more of a “fun project” than anything.
“We thought it would be funny to dress up ’70s and play disco music,” Dupre said.
Turns out, it was.
“It took off right away,” he said. “Fifteen years later, here we are.”
In fact, it’s likely that sense of humor that has helped sustain the band’s audiences.
“Even the people that maybe don’t necessarily like the music, they can still see the humor side of it, and find themselves just kind of laughing,” Dupre said. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
What they do take seriously, though, is covering the music that defined an era. That’s the music people want to hear, he said. And not just the people who lived through the disco era.
“The band appeals to all ages, all types of people,” he said.
Boogie Wonderland’s usual haunts are concentrated in the metro areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., but also span occasionally throughout the Midwest.
But Dupre said it doesn’t matter if it’s a club in the cities or a corner bar on a dirt road — when people hear Boogie Wonderland, they can’t help but dance.
Dupre said the last time he was in South Dakota was in 1979, when he and his parents took a road trip through the state.
“I have some great memories of South Dakota, going to the Black Hills, the Corn Palace,” he said. “I was really stoked to hear we were going to the Corn Palace.”
And, it’s fitting that he’s bringing disco with him, since it was part of the original visit as well.
“Disco was in full swing at the time. We had a shagged-out van,” he said. “We were jamming out disco all the way.”