Altoona-born country singer-songwriter Mike Reid has said he takes every opportunity to see his hometown.
His hometown returned the favor Saturday evening, with a sellout crowd hooting and applauding the Grammy-winner's CONTACT Altoona benefit show at the Mishler Theatre.
"Ah, what a great place to play," Reid said from his piano seat after a pair of opening tunes.
Mike Reid performs Saturday at the Mishler Theatre for the 30th anniversary of CONTACT.
"Those two songs were about home," he said. "That's kind of what I'm in the mood for tonight."
It was Reid's second trip to the Mishler in five years - Saturday's show, set to raise money for the Altoona-based phone help line's 30th anniversary, followed a successful 25th-anniversary performance for the same cause.
"It's our biggest fundraiser," said Reid's brother Gary, CONTACT's board vice president.
Mike Reid mixed his piano songs with jokes and recollections from life in Blair County. The Juniata Gap native noted that his mother still lives in Logan Township, where he first played piano at 8 years old.
Reid went on to two wildly different and highly successful careers. His first, football, took him to Penn State University and the Cincinnati Bengals, while his second - singing, playing and Grammy-winning song writing - deposited him in Nashville, where he lives today.
Before the show, an audience member excitedly showed a photograph taken with Reid as she explained that they'd attended Altoona Area High School together. More than a few guests at the Mishler sported Penn State gear; one or two former teammates could be spotted in the crowd.
"I didn't have the courage to leave here on my own," Reid said, noting his first nationwide travels as a football player. "I was perfectly happy to stay here in Altoona."
Reid's biggest hits, like "Walk on Faith" and the writing successes "Stranger in My House" and "I Can't Make You Love Me," came more than 20 years ago, but the Altoonan can still draw a sizable and enthusiastic hometown crowd, his brother said.
"Mike Reid is a native Altoonan. Or, well, Logan Township - but we'll call it Altoona," former Blair County commissioner and CONTACT board member Donna Gority said as the audience laughed and applauded.