April Wine – Concert Review

April Wine

April 19 2012 – Tonight we saw April Wine at the Richmond Hill Centre For The Performing Arts just north of Toronto. April Wine formed in Halifax in 1969 and have released 16 studio albums throughout the last 40 some odd years. Of the original lineup only guitarist/vocalist Myles Goodwyn remains, although Brian Greenway (also guitarist/vocalist) has been around since 1977 and was part of the band’s most successful era (1979-1984). Rounding up the current lineup is bassist Richard Lanthier and drummer Roy Nichol. April Wine has had 3 top 40 hits in the States and 21 in Canada. They are also inductees of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame since 2010. Such a prolific band should have no problem gathering classic rock fans at their shows, and surely enough tonight’s show was 100% sold out (and has been for a while).

Brian Greenway and Myles Goodwyn of April Wine

A few minutes after 9 the cowbells ring the familiar introduction to Oowatanite (1975) and the lyric “Life don’t wait if you hesitate, come on quit wasting time” certainly don’t apply to one of Canada’s hardest working bands that were also the first Canadian band to ever sell out the Montreal Forum. We immediately get into 1972’s You Could Have Been A Lady which features a massive clap along in the concert hall for the “na na-na na-na na” part of the song followed by the sweet sounds of guitar riffs. Myles addresses the crowd and jokes a bit about the lively audience up in the front of the stage.  He then introduces I’m On Fire For You Baby from 1974 which was created when a record executive wanted “hawaian guitar” in the middle of the song. 
Myles Goodwyn
We now get a couple of April Wine hits from the early 80’s with Say Hello and Enough is Enough. The hits continue with the 1973 song from Elton John Bad Side of the Moon which we are told is as old as Myles’s Les Paul guitar that he is using tonight. A Yahama electric piano gets brought up to the front of the stage for ballad time. Like A Lover, Like a Song was the first song of the piano segment of the show. The next song Comin’ Down On Top Of Me is a sad one we are told – and one minute into it we have to restart cause Myles didn’t like how it sounded. The third and final song with Goodwyn on the piano is Wanna Rock.
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine
Goodwyn tells a few stories and he even sings a bit of “Rock N’ Roll Is A Vicious Game” and “You Opened Up My Eyes during a 5  minute banter segment with the audience. The next full song Don’t Push Me Around is “about being 18 and being a punk”. All Over Town and Right Down To It lead into the massive I Like To Rock where guitar riffs are back in vogue. Mid song we get treated to a drum solo from the newest addition to the April Wine family Roy Nichol. No drumsticks needed for this –  just 2 hands and 2 feet for the first part of the solo and when Roy gets the sticks for the second part and it just gets more powerful. 

Roy Nichol of April Wine
Without hesitation we hear the familiar sound of The Beatles Day Tripper which morphs into The Rolling Stones Satisfaction and the mashed up classic British segment ends with a stamp of “I Like To Rock, I Like To Rock”. At this point we are introduced to a couple that had their first date exactly 36 years ago at an April Wine concert in Regina and Myles dedicates Tonight Is A Wonderful Time to them. The main set ends with the dynamic Roller.
Richard Lanthier of April Wine
The encore begins You Won’t Dance With Me which Myles plays only a bit of and tells us how he wrote this in school while his girlfriend at the time was dancing with other guys at the high school dance. Then with Myles telling us about his plight to help raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and how his son was diagnosed  with type 1 diabetes at age 8 (he is now 16). Over The Moon was written for his son in order to help deal with it. “Why did this happen, why did this happen to you” was a line in the song and there is no doubt that the whole theater was very emotional during this song. Myles tells us that his son has to get 5-6 shots every day since he has been diagnosed and Myles really helps us all understand the pain he feels as a father for his child with this song. 
Brian Greenway of April Wine
After that touching performance Myles tells us that the band decided to play the next song for us on the way over to the venue and indeed you can see on our setlist that it was a last minute hand written addition and we get to hear Just Between You And Me. The familiar chords of Sign Of The Gypsy Queen starts for the climactic finale and the show ends after 1 hour and 45 minute of glorious stadium anthems and 70’s rock ballads. 
April Wine setlist Richmond Hill April 12 2012

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