Rocks "The Rock"
Aug 6th, 2009
Review by Celtic Bob and Lady M
Photos by Celtic Bob
Helix returned to The Rock for their first show in 5 long years. Coincidently the day their flight arrives in is the same date as their last performance here in 2004. This show was the first one they performed with bassist Daryl Gray since the beginning of the decade.
Our adventure began mid afternoon on Friday, the day before the show when we arrived at the airport to pick up the band and their guitars. Their flight arrived on time and we were awaiting their arrival. This was the first time that I have seen Daryl since my very first Helix show back in ’86 so it was sure to be a flashback show. After we loaded up the vehicles with luggage and gear we headed off on the TCH for Lewisporte.
The "Captain" Brian Vollmer
Once in Lewisporte, we all grabbed a quick bite to eat at the hotel then began to go separate ways for further adventures. Later in the evening we were at the concert site to see the setup and to enjoy the summer night while the “Captain” retired to the hotel to be fully refreshed for the next days show. The fun continued into the night and the wee hours of the morning for a few of us.
Friday night fun with 4/5 of HELIX
It was back to Lewisporte from our hometown later in the morning. Once we arrived at the hotel to meet up with everyone and have brunch we then did some sight seeing before heading over to the field for sound check. It was during April Wine’s sound check that the skies opened and the rain began to pour down. While they were in the midst of playing the roof over the stage began to leak and water just streamed down on the drummer. They cut it short as the power had to be cut for safety reasons. After a short while it cleared up and the power was restored. Helix plugged in and played a song as a short sound check.
The rain started coming down again as show time drew closer. When it was time for the local opener to start they had to be temporarily cut from the show. The second band on the bill (Harlequin) had their slot cut short due to the conditions. Finally power was restored in time for Helix to hit the stage and the weather held off for most of their set.
The band hits the stage and the rain soaked crowd begin to come back onto the field and head toward the stage. The band launch into the first cord and it’s full on for 75 minutes plus. In no disrespect to Rob or Jimmy; but seeing Brent, Brian and Daryl all on the same stage together was amazing. These guys were meant to be in a band together. It was hard to believe that this was Daryl’s first show back in the band. It was as though the 3 of them always shared the stage they gelled that well. The good old days were back and it showed. They blasted their way through the hits and tossed in a few surprises that fans may not have heard live in ages or at all for some. One of the show’s highlights was when they did the intro to “High Voltage Kicks”, it was a shame they didn’t do it all as it is such a great tune. Brian even had an old suitcase on stage at one point that he found in the attic at his property in London, Ontario, it now held his top hat.
Musically they were tighter than a frog’s ass and performed flawlessly. Jimmy was over on one side of the stage just givin’ ‘er like a madman, while Rob was beating the living shit out of the drum kit and I mean literally. These guys were having a ball and playing like they were just let loose and this was to be their last show ever. The “Doctor” was in the house and despite an injury was playing better than he ever has. There were a few moments you could see the pain in his face but like a true pro he delivered an amazing performance. Daryl was like he stepped on stage from back in time with the green leopard print bass, sunglasses, headband and jean jacket. A true rocker! The past was back and it was kickin’ our ass. Despite the poor weather conditions the crowd really got into the show and this brought out the best in all the players. The energy level was at an all time high and they just smoked it. Everything was on 11 for this show; the sound, the mix, the playing, the energy and most importantly the chemistry. This is possibly the strongest and tightest line-up in the 35 year history of the band (and that is no disrespect to past members).
How’s that foot doing Doctor?
Following Helix’s stellar performance April Wine hit the stage and played some great tunes for the people that braved the weather. After the event the initial reports were that Helix blew April Wine off the stage. I am still hearing similar comments. One person at the show stopped me that night and said that the Helix performance was one of the greatest show’s he’s ever seen and second only to Priest. Now THATS’s a fucking compliment.
After they left the stage and winded down for a few minutes Brian headed out to the merch table to meet the fans and sign stuff and pose for pics. Brent and a couple other members roamed around a bit meeting people. After April Wine finished and the crowd thinned out we all headed back to the hotel to relax. Most of the band retired to their rooms but a couple stayed in the hotel lounge only to be joined by a few members of Harlequin and a couple of the April Wine guys. It was getting time to retire for the night, day or whenever it was so we bid them a goodnight and headed home as we had to drive back for an 8am lobby call.
A few short hours later we were back at the hotel lobby getting ready to head to the airport. We loaded up the vehicles with gear and hit the TCH again on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Once we got to the airport we all went and sat down to have some breakfast after the luggage and everything was all checked. It was then time to get back to the reality of life so we bid them “Safe Travels” and headed home after one amazing and unforgettable weekend. We are looking forward to doing it all again in 2010.
A few more shots from the show:
The "Doctor" and the crowd Jimmy’s Face Melting Solo
It’s good to be back!!
For more HELIX and to order their new CD "Vagabond Bones" please visit www.planethelix.com