Saturday July 27th, 2013
April Wine’s last studio album ‘Roughly Speaking’ from 2006 though would certainly be the latest studio album release from either band, even though The Sweet did issue a cover of the old Beatles song, ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ back in 2010 through iTunes. It was also added as a bonus track on the reissued ‘Are You Ready?! - Sweet Live’ a couple of years ago.
In his place tonight is Chas West (Ex-Bonham, Foreigner) on vocals, while completing the rest of The Sweet lineup are Stevie Stewart on keyboards and Ricky Z (Zahariades) on guitar.
Today in April Wine, the only 'classic' April Wine guys still in the band are singer / songwriter / producer / guitarist Myles Goodwyn and guitarist / vocalist Brian Greenway. Today’s current lineup of the band is completed by Richard Lanthier (Bass / Vocals) and drummer Roy Nichol.
The stage itself is a rusty old barge, tied up to the boardwalk and in terms of stage cover to protect ‘anyone’ – crew / techs included, there was next to nothing! Cover on the top yes, covers on the sides – to prevent rain coming in… - none.
Rain had been teaming down all afternoon, with thunder and lightning going on the whole time, this had certainly kept folks away from being there to check out the local bands who were trying to play.
The last local band The Gobies, only got to play 4 songs, which weren't bad covers at all before they were told to get off the stage for safety reasons.
Chas West I have not seen live in years and he appears as though he could be Sebastian Bach’s brother, same build, similar stage dress sense, perhaps just a tad shorter hair.
It’s ‘Hellraiser’ next and it didn't sound bad at all, all things considered - no soundcheck ... - although Ricky Z’s Gibson SG sounds a little thin at times, comes across like it’s lacking punch and his style and chosen sound, is perhaps a little funky.
As they wrap up the full length album version, Ricky ripped out a monster solo and now his guitar is sounding very strat like, kind of Ritchie Blackmore style, with a sound his predecessor Stuart Smith used to favour also.
‘Fox on the Run’ though was next and it certainly seemed to make up for it with the crowd. It’s actually my favourite Sweet song, so it worked for me!
‘Ballroom Blitz’ was the final song and possibly the winner of the set and it gets a few more of the seated VIP folks on their feet and the band wraps up their set with it.
Clearly warmly received, but since time is limited, there’s no encore opportunity for Sweet, so next up was April Wine.
So to a delayed headline set from April Wine and as the band walk across the front of the VIP area to ‘board the barge’ Myles Goodwyn looked precariously at the water and walkway onto the barge and some of the movement of the barge, from the large sea freighters that pass through Lake St. Clair and cause some wakes / waves that physically rock the barge!
By the time they hit the stage, I was soaked and temperatures were dropping and had dropped quite a bit already!
Not good …
The band’s vocals still sound as good as you would expect from the band, who've always focused on harmonies.
They continued with songs from possibly their most successful 80’s period, ‘Enough is Enough’ next seems to come over just fine too, with a really nice solo from Brian Greenway.
The old King Crimson track, ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ that they made their own on ‘Harder, Faster’ came next and to be honest, looking around at the crowd there’s a lot of cold wet fans bracing themselves here …
The music sounded good to me, but boy …, it’s a lot cooler than the day was before the rain came in!
From the ‘First Glance’ album we get ‘Right Down To It’ next, with what seems to be a lengthy intro, maybe I was just too darn cold!
Certainly got people moving around a bit, before halfway through, the band walk off leaving just the drummer and Myles says, ‘Here’s Roy!’Surprised with the shortened set time, that they even include a drum solo, but the band came back out and wrapped that song up well.
To my point next Myles says, ‘We’re running out of time so next we’re going to do a slow song, really fast!’
Cue ‘Just Between You and Me …’
Long cold walk to the car and a forty five minute drive home …
I heard ‘Sign Of The Gypsy Queen’ as I walked away …, but that was it for me!
Wish the conditions were better nonetheless, I will certainly look to catch both acts next time around, still good to see live!