Between the dancers.

That’s how I approached this project.

I sat down on the grass next to the concrete dance floor at Green Valley Park figuring I could take a load off and take a few photos of Junction 87 as the band performed for an audience that included at least some evacuees from the Backbone Fire on Saturday night at Green Valley Park.

For the final time.

The popular Rim Country trio featuring Bob Lewis on guitar and lead vocals, Billy Ichida on guitar, fiddle and vocals and Jim Norman on bass and vocals play good country music.

As an orange sun set in a smoky orange-stained sky, I quickly realized taking photos of the band from that spot would present challenges.

That’s obvious when you look at the dance floor during a Junction 87 show.

It’s usually packed.

And that was certainly the case on this night.

It’s unclear how many of the spectators were aware they were watching the band’s final Green Valley Park show after 16 years together. They’ve been a fixture in Payson’s Summer Concert Series at GVP, which takes place every Saturday night in June and July.

Norman and Ichida started Junction 87 with another singer, who Lewis replaced in 2005.

They’re all in their 70s and they decided in the last couple of weeks to announce their retirement as a band. Their final performances are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28 at Jakes Corner Bar and Friday, Sept. 3 at Payson Elks Lodge.

It’s a band folks like to dance to.

And that is not ideal for a photographer sitting where I was sitting. But, I dealt with it.

I looked for the fleeting seconds where I could focus on Lewis and his guitar at one microphone, Norman on bass and Ichida on guitar.

During “Waltz Across Texas” a blur of clothing opened as a man swung his partner around.


Got it.

Now, be ready.


Oh, I like that one.

That’s a keeper.

And so it went as dancers swayed to the music on a hot summer night far enough from the fire to the north to get lost in the music for a couple of hours.

On the dance floor.

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