By Cindy McIntyreApril 28, 2016
FORT SILL, Okla., April 28, 2016 -- True to its billing, the Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band concert at Fort Sill's Polo Field on April 23 was high-energy and interactive, with the members of the audience invited to join the band onstage or to form a conga line while the music rocked the 8,000-plus attendees.
Sinise played electric bass guitar while other band members sang, danced, and contributed to the rhythms with drums, guitar, keyboard, trumpet, and saxophone. The music spanned genres and covered tunes most people would either recognize, or could sing to. The weather was sunny, warm and calm, which helped the concert-goers, including hundreds of basic combat trainees, enjoy the evening.
The opening act was the indie-folk duo Stolen Silver, with Dan Myers of Chicago and Levi Britton of Traverse City, Mich. Myers, who is also a vocalist and violinist in the Lt. Dan Band, is married to band singer Julie Dutchak. In tribute to Prince, they sang "Purple Rain" in addition to their own songs.
The morning of the concert, Sinise toured the Old Post Quadrangle, then joined Maj. Gen. John Rossi, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, and his wife Liz at their Sherman House residence for a garden luncheon. Attendees included several post leaders and their spouses, as well as representatives of BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers), among others. Grillmaster Sgt. 1st Class George Rocha, Rossi's enlisted aide, dished up burgers and chicken.
Sinise also observed basic combat training Soldiers of D Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery climbing the horizontal ropes and rappelling down the 40-foot Treadwell Tower. Two of his staff members did the training as well, and Sinise applauded as they finished. He also took questions from the Soldiers who took a break from training.
Then he paid a visit to Fire Station #4 and met with the fire department and emergency services personnel, including the 761st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company. He mentioned his new TV show "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders," which shot 13 episodes and is now in hiatus. He said gives him a lot of time for traveling to do concerts and work on behalf of the military, veterans, and first responders.
Sinise graciously posed for photos with groups large and small throughout the day, and even signed a few autographs.
In addition to his band's namesake role as Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie "Forrest Gump," Sinise has played several military characters.
"The first movie I did was a World War II film called 'A Midnight Clear,'" he said in an interview before the concert. "I played a Soldier in the Battle of Bulge. Harry Truman was a captain in the Army in World War I, and when I played Harry Truman we had some World War I scenes in there. I played Ken Mattingly who served in the Navy. He was one of the astronauts in 'Apollo 13.'"
Rossi introduced the Lt. Dan Band on stage, saying that Sinise promised to return to Fort Sill if one of two things happened. "Either Command Sgt. Major Lindsey gets on stage and does the 'Thriller' video impersonation like Michael Jackson to the "T" (the crowd yelled approval) or the Fort Sill audience rocks his world tonight. That's you."
And rock it they did.