March 14 2017 – SAGA and us at T-Mak World have an interesting history together. A quick scan reveals:
- – Our first ever concert “review” was for SAGA and inspired us to want to try to build a rock review website. That was at Hamilton’s Festival of Friends in 2011 and was Sadler’s comeback show after leaving the band for a while.
- – The band had a top 10 album on our year-end list on 2012.
- – One of our Top 10 viewed videos of 2014 was How Long from the band’s 2013 Toronto gig.
- – TO Rock Aid, a benefit concert which we exclusively reviewed in great detail was headlined and organized by SAGA.
Well today we have one more special moment to add to the list. 2017 is SAGA’s 40th year of existence and most fans were expecting a celebration tour this year. Instead, January 19 2017 was the date that lead singer Micheal Sadler announced that the band would be calling it quits after this year and this year would be their farewell tour. The sad reality of mortality is starting to sink in for many as Rush, Black Sabbath, The Scorpions, Deep Purple, Aerosmith and now SAGA are on (or have recently completed) farewell tours. Damn, our rock heroes are getting old and so are we!
Oshawa was the site for 2 Saga shows on March 10 and March 11 2017 and we were not sure if these would be the last GTA area shows ever. Lets start off by saying that would not be the case as there is at least 1 more Toronto show coming later this year which the band announced at the end of this show. Whew!
SAGA played a 20 song set over one hour and forty-five minutes at the seated Regent Theatre. Their album Silent Knight was heavily represented with 5 songs from out being presented tonight. 3 songs each came from Worlds Apart, Saga, and Heads or Tales. Needless to say all the popular songs were there (except for Humble Stance) – On The Loose, Wind Him Up, Scratching The Surface, You’re Not Alone, Don’t Be Late and The Flyer were the songs that most knew and were also the songs that inspired singing and dancing in the audience. Full setlist at the bottom of the article.
The main observation we had from tonight’s show was that the guys were really having fun on stage. The smiles were plentiful and the camaraderie was evident. This was a band performing at a very high level of musicianship and their love of the music elevated their performance. As usual, Sadler was an ultimate showman and owned that stage with the swagger of one of rock’s top front-men. Jim Gilmour on the keys was on fire tonight and as usual Scratching The Surface was a major highlight of the show. Mike Thorne’s drum solo blew away the audience as he maintained fever pitched intensity all night. Jim Crichton and Ian Crichton commanded the bass and guitars they wielded with the skill of virtuosos.
Overall, SAGA really delivered a top-notch set with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately there was no real pageantry for this final tour – we were hoping something special and unique. Just a little special touch to enhance the 40 year celebration would be both welcomed and appreciated. For example, Rush on their farewell tour last year presented the material in reverse chronological order – newest songs kicked off the show and the band worked backwards through their catalog and ended the show with their first big song. A very nice touch indeed and one that really had the audience buzzing.
[Ed. Note – Jim Gilmour of SAGA has provided us some awesome news on this point. This is exciting and we will leave the quote as is! “We do plan on doing a special set coming up in this years concerts“] Yes!
Regardless, if this is truly the last tour for SAGA they are going out at the peak of their game and with massive fan admiration. The band has some of the best fans in the planet and it is evident on the constant discussions happening on the Official SAGA Facebook page.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – SAGA delivered a world-class performance that was full of good vibes and excellent musicianship. Please do yourself a favor and see them this year as it really seems to be like your last chance to catch some real classic rock. They are really that good. When they are back playing Toronto later this year lets all raise the roof in celebration!
Also if you are going to the show don’t forget to gear up with some wicked SAGA T-Shirts (store here) and show some support for these musical magicians!
This concert has earned s a “Best of T-Mak World” mention! Now some more images from the show….