Back in 1994, The Guess Who played Summerfest, and I missed it.
I remember that night pretty clearly: hanging out at my friend Eron's apartment on Oakland Avenue, I said, "Hey, lets go see The Guess Who tonight."
He said, "Nah, I'm tired. We'll catch them next time."
Little did I expect next time to be 13 years later at Wednesday night's opening day of A Taste of Summer in Waukesha.
Since that summer night in '94, I've gradually become more familiar with the library of the Canadian super group, and trust me, I've reminded Eron repeatedly how he blew our chance to see the band we've grown to love.
We did our best to atone last night, and I've got the hoarse voice this morning to prove it.
Sadly, only one original member of the band was present in The Guess Who last night: bassist Jim Kale.¬† The stunning vocals of Burton Cummings were noticeably absent -- replaced by the mostly competent Carl Dixon, who joined the band in 1997.¬† Though the band's Web site says original drummer Garry Peterson is still in the group, there's no way the guy we saw last night was over 40.
Still, it was about the best Guess Who cover band you could ever hope for.¬† And in many ways, it didn't disappoint.
Sadly, the crowd probably totaled less than 1,000, quickly noted by Dixon.¬† I thought that might encourage the band to sleepwalk through their hits, and at first, that appeared to be the case.¬† They played most of their greatest hits album, threw in two new songs (and who could blame them) and even entertained the sparse crowd with a few deep cuts, too.
Dixon is no Cummings, and it was evident in my all-time favorite Guess Who song, "No Sugar Tonight."¬† The song dragged a bit, as did 1969's "Laughing."¬† Even their opener, "Clap For The Wolfman" sounded a tad off.
But as the hour-plus show progressed, the guys got cooking.¬† Wrapping up with "Hand Me Down," "These Eyes," "American Woman" and finally "No Time," it sounded like the real deal.
A small group of fans got off their seats and danced and screamed and jammed.¬† And for a few minutes, I saw a Guess Who concert that made me wish I was born 15 years earlier to see them, in their vintage incarnation. I can only imagine seeing a show in 1966 with Randy Bachman, Cummings, Bruce Decker, Kale and Peterson.¬† If that reunion ever happens, I'm there.
If the Brewers are about to clinch the pennant the next time the band comes to Milwaukee (Sept. 29 at the prestigious Big Pig Gig in Menomonee Falls), I'll probably skip it.¬† But if I can spare an hour, I'd definitely see The Guess Who again.
And Eron, you are forgiven (mostly), for skipping out on that show in 1994.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published June 30, 2016
If you've ever bought an official Summerfest T-shirt, hat or other branded gift, it's first gone through Dan Elias. As vice president of The Specialized Marketing Group Inc., he's managed the merch for the Big Gig for 17 years.
Published June 28, 2016
In college, I had a reoccurring nightmare that I was trapped on a crazy elevator. Lately, that's been replaced by what I call the "fat finger" dream. I've talked to a few people, including co-worker Molly Synder, who has had it, too.
Published June 27, 2016
OnMilwaukee publisher Andy Tarnoff is very impressed with this year's Summerfest lineup, but he thinks the strongest day for the Big Gig is on July 9. For his money, he's especially excited about Howard Jones and, obviously, Sir Paul McCartney. Here are his picks.
Published June 11, 2016
"It's good to be king." Mel Brooks actually said that, quoting himself, to a sold-out show Saturday night at the Riverside. Based on the remarkable stories, the adoring reception and the super-human energy from this soon-to-be 90-year-old film legend, I believe him.
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.
Published April 25, 2016
I've known about Mel Brooks' upcoming June 11 visit to Milwaukee for a little while now. Make no mistake, this is a "bucket list" show for me: Brooks is one of my all-time favorites in Hollywood, and "Blazing Saddles" has sat atop my favorite movie list forever.
Published April 15, 2016
For the many dozens of times I've visited the historic Pfister Hotel - for meetings, meals, weddings and drinks - until prepping for OnMilwaukee Hotel Week, I never spent an overnight at this Victorian masterpiece. Cross that off my bucket list - and I didn't even have to meet a ghost to do it.
Published April 14, 2016
As today's the wonderfully-made up "414 Day," or "Milwaukee Day," depending on who you talk to - it's a sexy day to look back at this excellent video from 2014 by the Five Card Studs.
Published April 11, 2016
I've been binge-watching HBO's "Vinyl." During a scene at an L.A. beach party, the camera panned to a sideburned record executive, smoking a joint and talking about Elvis. Even 25 years since I saw him last, I knew immediately that was my friend from high school, Dave Shalansky. I'd recognize that guy anywhere.