w/ The Headpins and Lou Gramm (of Foreigner)
Aug 11, 2012
Review and Photos by Celtic Bob
A day that started out as warm and rainy ended in quite a different manner. With rain showers off and on the whole day I wondered how the outdoor show that evening would go. After attending this festival for the past several years, in both good and bad weather, I didn’t think it would cause the show to be postponed.
After a 30 minute drive down the highway in the pouring rain I was quite relieved to see the rain stop as I almost reached the concert site. I arrived on the field just prior to The Headpins taking the stage.
As Canadian Classic Rock band The Headpins were about to take the stage you could see the blue sky poking through the clouds. At one point in their show the sun broke through and blared down on Alfie as he played his keyboards. Perfect timing for the good weather. The Headpins rocked their way through all their hits plus more. Darby still has the voice (and looks) that she did many years ago. She nailed the songs tremendously and hit the notes with ease. From the looks on her face it may not have sounded too good through the onstage monitors but from the audience out front it sounded excellent. Apart from Mills’ killer vocals it was drummer Bernie Aubin that really stood out. He is a powerhouse drummer that really gave the drum kit a workout. He was pounding the drums like there was no tomorrow. He wasn’t letting up and just giving it everything he had from start to finish. Truly one of the greatest drummers in Canada and highly underrated. The remainder of the band; Ab (Bass), Tony (Guitar) and Alfie (Guitar/Keys) are no slouches by any means and provided the music and backbeat for the evening. They all work well together and look like they are really having a great time up there.
After an Lou Gramm FINALLY takes to the stage. He gave it his all and pulled off a decent show. His voice isn’t near what it used to be, and a lot of that may have to do with all his health issues in the past decade. Either way, he did a commendable job in giving the fans that braved the bad weather, and his delay in taking to the stage, performances of old Foreigner classics as well as a few solo tracks such as “Midnight Blue”.
It was well after midnight before Big Sugar make it on stage but it never seemed to bother them in the least as they put on an amazing show. At one point (Around 1:45am if I remember correctly) that Gordie said that they told him there was no curfew and he was holding them to it. At another point he made the joke that “Some acts don’t think it is too “Urgent” to get their gear off the stage so they could “perform” to which someone said it made them a little “Hot Blooded”. They played on and gave the small but diminishing audience a flawless performance of old, new and unheard music. They switched it up at various times and Gordie took to the drums while Garry moved to center stage to play guitar and sing. At another point Mr. Chill went over to the opposite side of the stage to handle the other set of keys. It was quite enjoyable and somewhat refreshing to see a band switch it up a bit and still do a flawless show. For anyone that has attended a Big Sugar show knows that they play loud, Motorhead loud. This was the first show I have attended in awhile where my ears were ringing the following day. The sound is not only loud but it is clear and not distorted which make for a much more enjoyable concert experience. The only negative aspect of the Big Sugar show was the addition of Friendlyness to the band. While his keyboard playing may compliment the music slightly it was his vocals or ‘Toasting’ as the CD states that altered the Big Sugar sound in a negative way. There was a little too much emphasis on the ‘Dub’ and less on the classic Big Sugar of yesteryear.
As the show was coming to a close Gordie said he was going to play a Newfoundland song next, that he wrote. They then launched into “All Hell For A Basement” which led into “Oh, Canada”. This pair of songs brought tremendous applause especially when Johnson raised his double-neck Gibson behind his head as he continued to play revealing the Canadian flag. They then left the stage and we all thought it was over as it was getting quite late, or early depending on how you look at it. A few moments later they returned for a 2 song encore before finishing up at 2:44am. I was now somewhat dreading the 30+ minute highway drive home but it didn’t really bother me too much as I just enjoyed an evening of Kick Ass Rock n Roll. Many acts out there could take note on how it is done. Big Sugar displayed professionalism in a hectic and difficult situation. It was easy to see that they are a class act.
1 WORK IT NOW!
2 DIGGING A HOLE
3 COP A PLEA
4 OPEM UP BABY
5 IF I HAD MY WAY
6 ELIMINATE YA!
7 ROADS AHEAD
8 DEVIL IN THE LAUNDERETTE
9 LITTLE BIT A ALL RIGHT / KENSINGTON
10 GANJAMAN / NICOTINA
11 BETTER GET USED TO IT
12 LET ME ROLL IT
13 RIDE LIKE HELL 14 LIGHTS ON / MUFFY / BEND DOWN LOWE
15 TONIGHT /
16 I WANT YOU NOW 17 ALL HELL FOR A BASEMENT
18 OH CANADA
19 RED ROVER
20 ON THE SCENE
“Tonight” and “I Want You Now” were not played.
Thanks to Bernie Aubin of Canadian Classic Rock and Gordon and Luke
from the Big Sugar camp for access .