Tuesday, November 23, 2004
DVD Review - The Guess Who "Running Back Through Canada"
About the only disappointment with the show was Burton Cummings' voice. To be honest about it, it isn't what it used to be. He sounded at best very nasal, and at worst sort of like Al Lewis channeling Cummings' younger self. Cummings was giving 110% like the rest of the band, so I don't fault him in any way, but be prepared for a slight letdown on his vocals. In fact, "American Woman" was played a full step below its recorded version (the album cut is in 'E' and the DVD has the band playing it in 'D'), apparently to accommodate Cummings' voice. Bachman, Peterson, Donnie McDougall, and Bill Wallace's backup vocals are almost ageless, with tight harmonies. Bachman's lead vocals on his BTO numbers on this set were also very close to the original recordings.
The band dropped into a "plugged unplugged" set in the middle of the show to do things like "Undun" and "No Sugar Tonight" and sounded wonderful. The electric sets were first rate. Bachman reproduced his classic tones nicely (I wonder if it was with the help of the American Woman distortion pedal he endorses?) through Strat clones with humbuckers in the neck position. I couldn't get a close enough look at Bachman's rig due to the constantly changing camera angles (although there were thankfully plenty of good closeups of Bachman's fingerings during solos, an example other concert videos should follow), but I saw an amp which looked like the Fender Cyber Twin on stage. Donnie McDougall's guitar playing is also excellent, playing some sort of Telecaster clone with an excellent tone. Unfortunately I couldn't discern any part of his backline.
Oh, and no jokes about Bachman-Turner Overweight (funny, in a couple of views, Randy Bachman looks quite like Carl Wilson). Yeah, a few of these guys could stand to lose a few pounds, and they aren't doing dance steps with backup dancers of questionable morality. They're playing solid classic rock here and can teach these young whippersnappers a lesson.