November 23, 2004
been a huge fan of The Guess Who ever since I heard their first
Top 40 hit, "These Eyes" way back in 1969. This great
band hailed from Winnipeg, Manitoba and has since gone on to become
the most popular rock and roll group ever to emerge from Canada.
The original lineup in '69 featured the extraordinary talents of
Burton Cummings (keyboards and vocals), Randy Bachman (guitar and
vocals), Garry Peterson (drums and vocals) and Jim Kale (bass).
There were several personnel changes over the years featuring top
musicians like Kurt Winter, Greg Leskiw, Donnie McDougall, Bill
Wallace and Domenic Troiano, and they all played an integral part
in maintaining the group's high standard of quality material. Yes
I was a huge fan I guess you could say I was infatuated to
a degree, but this band made music that I absolutely loved and they
never let me down.
I heard that they were reuniting for a tour of Canada and the U.S.
back in 2000, I was ecstatic. My buddies and I had the distinct
pleasure of seeing them perform at a venue in Connecticut in 2001
and once again, they did not let me down. For a long-time fan of
The Guess Who it was like a dream come true, especially because
for the first time in over 20 years, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman
would once again be sharing the same stage together. The reunited
Guess Who featured Cummings, Bachman, Garry Peterson, Donnie McDougall
and Bill Wallace, and they were as solid as any band could possibly
2004, Saifer Entertainment and V.I.K. Recordings released a stunning
DVD of the band's 2000 appearance at an outdoor stadium in Winnipeg
entitled "The Guess Who - Running Back Through Canada"
and it is a winner from beginning to end. (The reason I'm writing
about it 4 years later is because I wasn't aware of it's release
but was recently given a copy as a gift). The group is remarkably
tight both musically and vocally and roar through an amazing set
of their popular tunes and lesser-known gems. Fueled with high octane,
the band kicks off the set with "Runnin' Back To Saskatoon,"
a rollicking number that was never recorded in the studio but did
appear on their "Live at the Paramount" album back in
1972. It's followed up by their 1970 hit, the crowd-pleasing rocker,
"Rain Dance." Up next is the Cummings-penned "Glamour
Boy," which turns out to be one of the highlights of the show.
A minor hit in Canada, this dark ballad exposing Cummings' disdain
for the glam-rock scene of the 1970s takes a twist halfway through
as Bachman soars into an energetic and mind-numbing guitar solo.
It's a brilliant display of musical virtuosity that places Bachman
in the upper echelon of great guitarists.
set steamrolls along with an impressive array of the band's greatest
hits like "These Eyes," "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother
Nature," "Undun," "Laughing," "American
Woman," and "No Time," just to name a few. Interspersed
between the Guess Who numbers are 3 of Bachman's classic tunes from
his days with BTO "Looking Out for #1," "Let
It Ride," and a butt-kicking version of "Takin' Care of
Business." Adding a bit of drama to the proceedings is a huge
thunder and lightning storm that sweeps through the area (coincidentally
just as the band finishes "New Mother Nature"). The show
is postponed for a short period of time until the lightning subsides,
but remarkably the huge crowd remains even though it is pouring
rain. Nothing is going to rob these devoted fans of an evening with
their hometown heroes (every band member was born and raised in
this is a demonstration of solid musicianship, from Bachman and
McDougall's striking guitar work to Cummings' great vocals and keyboard
prowess. Of course we can't leave out the pounding and powerful
rhythm section of Peterson on drums and Wallace on bass. The sound
quality is superb, capturing all the power and fury of this great
band, plus the camera work and video editing is top notch. There
is a 5.1 surround audio mix plus extra features including six bonus
songs, 20 minutes of rare rehearsal footage and an in-depth interview
with Cummings and Bachman. If you are a fan of this great band or
just a fan of great rock and roll, then this DVD is a must-have
for your collection.
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