Wednesday, November 10, 2004

DVD - The Guess Who - Running Back Thru Canada

Today is the eve of a four-day long weekend for me. My parents came up this afternoon and my little sister and her family are arriving any minute now.

As I was shopping with my Mom, I spotted the newly released Guess Who DVD, Running Back Thru Canada, which was filmed at the Goldeyes' baseball park in Winnipeg, in June, 2000. I was at the concert and I will never forget it. I can recall the darkening, menacing skies, with lightening flickering all over the area. Would we be spared from a downpour? We weren't, but with an unforcasted intermission, the show went on. The ten-minute intermission lasted over an hour due to the weather. Fortunately, the rain didn't last all evening. They actually risked electrocution by playing on instead of calling it a night, which made the evening all the more special. From watching the DVD commentary in between songs, the band was actually more concerned about the wind picking up and blowing apart the covered stage.

The band sounded fantastic. You might expect the sound at an outdoor show to be mediocre, but that wasn't the case from I stood, on the field. Seeing Randy Bachman play live only enhanced, in my mind, his status as a guitar virtuoso. Witness his euphoric, dazzling soloing on the jam part of American Woman. The Guess Who are my favorite Canadian band and at this warm summer evening show, I was in my glory. I only wish they had played another encore. Clearly, they left the audience wanting more. I know I would see them again and again and again, if I could.

The Guess Who have a huge amount of strong material, much more than they could play in a show. Some of the lesser known, but equally appealing songs that were played included: Rain Dance, Guns Guns Guns, Talisman and Glamour Boy. Also included was the Bachman-penned BTO hit, Takin' Care of Business and Takin' Care of Number One.

The now swelte Bachman looked liked a well-fed grandfather, with the beard and a bit too much girth. Donnie McDoougall and Bill Wallace on guitar and bass, respectively, didn't look anywhere near their 50-something years from my vantage point. Burton Cummings looked like he was in his 40s. Drummer Gary Peterson looked like he could lose a lot of weight, but he was solid in his performance and that's all that really matters.

There are some things you see in the DVD that I didn't notice from the show. During the American Woman jam, Bachman took a drumstick from Cummings and used it to run up and down the fretboard, which resulted in a string breaking, You suddenly see the broken string swaying by itself in the camera close-up.

There are a couple of things about the DVD that I was disappointed in. The concert was originally filmed for a 2-hour television broadcast. Consequently, six of the tracks are not part of the main feature, but they are relegated to the bonus section of the disc. It would have been better if all 21 tracks were played sequentially. There an inlay card, but no extensive liner notes. There's nothing that actually tells you who is in the lineup on the card.

The DVD also includes an interview and footage from one of their rehearsals. Although the concert was already aired on TV, I'm glad I purcased the DVD and I know I will watch it over and over again.

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