The Classic Rock Show A to Z Review Hamilton Ontario 2017

The Classic Rock Show A to Z

The Classic Rock Show A to Z

Saturday February 25 2017 – When we found out that The Classic Rock Show would be coming to Canada for the first time, we were very excited. Produced by the same company as Brit Floyd, we knew for a fact that both musicianship and production would be top-notch. The venue was the FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) which seemed to make a lot of sense for the touring group’s first Canadian stop. Just about an hour outside of Toronto, Hamilton is much more of a blue collar town and thus has a deeper love of rock than what would be considered the natural place for the show (Toronto). The venue is beautiful and the acoustics crystal clear. Although the venue was far from full, it reminded us of the first time we saw Brit Floyd at Toronto’s Sony Center – each subsequent visit brought out much larger crowds and now it is an assured sell out. Side note Brit Floyd will be in Toronto on March 31 2017 so don’t miss that one!

First let’s introduce the band. Johnny West and Rudy Cardenas (the only 2 Americans in an otherwise UK band) took turns on vocals. Emily Jollands took on some vocals, some keyboards and some on stage grooving. Howie G and James Cole had the guitars with Wayne Banks on Bass. Henry Burnett on keys and Karl Penney on drums rounded out the roster. Essentially 8 people on stage with rotating vocalists.

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton

The show starts of with a montage of classic rock album covers on the video screen reminding us of some of our favorite ‘artwork’ of the era where rock was king. It should not be too hard to guess what song would kick off the night as the undisputed kings of classic rock Led Zeppelin were represented with a killer version of Whole Lotta Love. Singer switch and glide into The Eagles with Life in the Fast Lane. The video screen above the drum would usually show the album cover of where the song originated from throughout the night and did so with Deep Purple and Highway Star for song number 3. 

What we were not sure of at this time was would this show focus on the harder side of classic rock as the first three songs indicated or would there be variety? Well with Steely Dan‘s Reelin In The Years and Journey‘s Separate Ways up next we knew the answer would be that this show would span the range of rock.

Case in point? Next up is some heavy blues with Fleetwood Mac and no it’s not Go Your Own Way. It’s Oh Well and it’s the highlight of this show for real classic rock aficionados this gem from 1969 featured Peter Green not Lindsey Buckingham (who didnt join the Mac till much later). If you prefer the Nicks-Buckingham era of Fleetwood Mac next up was Rhiannon which highlighted Jollands as the female vocals took front stage.

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton Canada 2017

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton Canada 2017

Man this music somehow gets on a killer flow and reminds us how the 70s was THE decade for music with The Doors and the moody Riders on the Storm. 45 minutes into the show the swan song of classic rock presents itself with that infamous guitar chord intro. Why bother showing the album cover when a simple staircase with the words Led and Zeppelin are enough? Simply put if there is ever a song that needs to be in a classic rock tribute show it’s the song that makes us remember laughter. Stairway to Heaven was delivered with perfect execution and flawless rhythm. Two songs left before the intermission and the audience claps, stands and even dances for ZZ Top‘s La Grange. Even the screen changes its static images to some Eliminator style live car footage. Of note, the guitar wall of sound on this tune easily wins the audience over. Last up for the last half – Live and Let Die: Paul McCartney or should we say Wings. The show was exactly 60 minutes long heading into the intermission and the audience is really into it. Plan for a 20 minute break and get back to your seat for Kansas and Carry on Wayward Son and right after that song we are told this is the very first Classic Rock Show in Canada ever. We are certain it will not be the last as the musical jukebox so far has kept its promise. 

The show at this point took a slightly poppy turn with Boston‘s More Than A Feeling which gets the audience to liven up.  Dire Straits and Money For Nothing with the original MTV video playing is next and finally Rosanna from Toto. Not really classic rock in my mind and if there was 1 song I would replace in the setlist it would most certainly be this one. In fact the energy of the audience took a bit of a dip at this point but the rejuvenation was not far away as we get back to business with The Beatles and the real heart of classic rock. While My Guitar Gently Weeps really sounded majestic tonight with the lyrics really shining here and the beautiful montage of The Beatles on the screen really brought this song forward.

 

The Classic Rock Show A to Z Hamilton

The Classic Rock Show A to Z Hamilton

 

 

So what band are we missing from a classic rock show so far? Oh yeah Queen! Sure enough they are up next but with a less familiar tune “One Vision”. I love how the production has dug into bands catalogues and not always take the obvious and simple choice. Next up is Gary Moore – huge in the U.K, much less know here but the onslaught continues with the mellow blues burner Still Got The Blues. Scorching guitar solo  in this tune gets a loud round of applause.
 Think the previous The Eagles choice at the beginning of the show was odd? Well of course it was, so the band throws down Hotel California. That dark desert highway takes us there but the show now gets insanely awesome with a 3rd Led Zeppelin tune with the acoustic version of Going To California!! Oh they nailed it by the way. Well done guys, by providing 3 Led Zeppelin songs tonight – the most by any band covered – you have displayed that you truly made a profound statement. Thank you! 

Meatloaf is next with Bat Out Of Hell (the song from the album of the same name). The band urges everyone to get up and party, and the polite Canadians oblige. Everyone in the place is on their feet and well it has to be for AC/DC I guess. Highway to Hell is the party song and the chameleon singers keeps changing voices to adapt to the band’s they are covering. Very well done and of course the party continues with Van Halen Jump.

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton Canada

The Classic Rock Show Hamilton Canada


The band calls it a night, but of course comes out for the obligatory encore. Lynyrd Skynard‘s Freebird which unfortunately for  the vibe gets the audience sitting down again. However that only lasts a bit as the dual guitars at the end get the audience up on their feet again. One more to go. Trying to guess the grand finale? Well it’s kinda obvious when they play it. The Who‘s Won’t Get Fooled Again complete with full energy and full smiles from a band clearly having fun on their job.
 
At 10:53 pm the show is over with 2.5 hours of pure rock. 11 songs in the first half and 12 songs in the second half with 2 more encores. The 60’s to 80’s are all here and on the way home we were discussing what we felt was missing. The best we could come up with was The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and well since this is from the same production as Brit Floyd – we would throw in there a Pink Floyd tune to make the jukebox complete.

 

The Classic Rock Show A to Z

The Classic Rock Show A to Z

  

Verdict: Killer show with a full time warp experience that delivered killer rock to an audience hungry for the days when that musical genre was at its best. Very talented musicians with an excellent production. Canada awaits your return guys (and gal).

We leave you with some more scenes from the night:
Classic Rock Show A To Z 1 Classic Rock Show A To Z 2 Classic Rock Show A To Z 3
The Classic Rock Show A to Z Photos by Karen Makedon 
The Classic Rock Show A to Z Review by Terry Makedon
 
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2 Responses to The Classic Rock Show A to Z Review Hamilton Ontario 2017

  1. Clive Fletcher says:

    You are a brilliant band seen you 3 times in Ipswich hope you come back

  2. John says:

    Ricardo Afonso was not singing, he hasn`t gone on this tour.

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