Bachman and Turner may be getting long in tooth, but the veteran Canadian rockers proved to their hometown crowd at the MTS Centre last night (9/24/11), that they can still rock with the best of them.
The recently reunited, former BTO frontmen hit the stage with all pistons firing, kicking the night off with the hard rocking “Roll on Down the Highway” from 1974’s Not Fragile, which proved bassist Fred Turner’s thundering lead vocal growl was still in top form.
Setting the pattern for the night, the pair traded off lead vocals on each song with Canadian lead guitar legend Randy Bachman taking over the mike next for “Rock is My Life and This is My Song.”
Turner wished his mom, who was among the 5,500 faithful who showed up, a happy 93rd birthday before ripping into “Not Fragile’s” title track.
Bachman also later wished Mrs. Turner a happy birthday, and thanked her for “letting Fred join my band back in the 70s” while thanking Winnipeg fans “for a great life and a great ride.”
“You’re No 1!” proclaimed the ex-Guess Who star, setting up the jazz influenced “Looking Out for No 1,” which featured some superb soloing from the former Lenny Breau student.
Supported by tight 3-piece backing band, which included local Winnipeger Marc LaFrance on drums, Bachman and Turner served up a nice cross mixture of material, with radio hits like Bachman’s “Hey You,” the night’s 1st highlight, interlaced with early album cuts such as Turner’s tasty, jazz flavored gem “Blue Collar.”
“Stayed Awake All Night” was 1 of the mid-set highlights, featuring Bachman on an extended guitar solo, using a drumstick a la Jimmy Page. The crowd roared as the song segued into the instantly familiar opening riff off the Bachman/Cummings anthem, “American Woman,” (the only Guess Who song on the setlist).
But it was the BTO hits that the primarily middle-age audience came to hear, and the boys had the crowd eating out of their hand in the home stretch as they launched into their No 1 smash, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
Prior to the song, Bachman invited up an ecstatic 14-year-old radio contest winner, Kyle Zacharkiw, onstage to play guitar with the band, which added an extra hometown tip of the hat.
By the time they got to the set closers, “Let it Ride,” and the great Canadian party song,“Takin’ Care of Business” pretty much the entire MTS Centre was on its feet. Bachman and Turner certainly had taken care of business.
Holding their own was no small feat, as the dynamic duo had to follow 2 excellent opening acts in the form of Blue Oyster Cult, who kicked off the night with a brief but well received set., followed by Paul Rogers, who proved he still has some of the best pipes in the business, and almost stole the show as he treated the crowd to a set of classic tracks from his days in Free and Bad Company, which included hits like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” “Bad Company,” “Shooting Star,” “Rock and Roll Fantasy, and “All Right Now.”
Did you know? According to Randy Bachman, his classic Bachman Turner Overdrive party song “Takin’ Care of Business” is the the most licensed song in Sony Music’s publishing catalogue.