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 Nov. 18, 2014
Take it for what its worth, but Playboy Magazine has Blue's Egg as one of its 101 best breakfasts in America (don't worry, the link is reasonably safe for work). The restaurant at 317 N. 76th St. came in 21st place out of 23 Midwest selections, just behind Mickie's Dairy Bar in Madison.
Published Nov. 11, 2014
Can you imagine how social media would've melted down exactly 101 years ago? Nov. 11, 2013 was the end of the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury" or the "White Hurricane," a hurricane-force blizzard that killed more than 250 people and and destroyed 19 ships.
Published Oct. 28, 2014
I really didn't have any hope left after 25 days. As we entered the fourth week without our sweet, kind, missing cat, Jabie, I was beginning to come to peace with the reality that I'd never see her again. Then, yesterday, less than four blocks from home, a woman called my wife and said she had cajoled a black cat into her basement. My wife bolted home from work and immediately recognized Jabie coming up the stairs. Just to be sure, she took her to the closest vet to scan her microchip. And it came back as a match from Elmbrook Humane Society.
Published Oct. 22, 2014
Apple's new killer app, Apple Pay, may indeed someday change global commerce for good. That day isn't here yet, however. Three days after launch, my experiences with the NFC-based payment / tap to pay system show that Apple Pay is still very, very beta. At this point, you may find yourself using it barely at all.
Published Oct. 21, 2014
Mazen Muna, the owner of the Dogg Haus group of restaurants, shared his plans today to launch PhantomBar this spring at 780 N. Jefferson St. in Cathedral Square. The bar is under the umbrella of his new 12AM Management Group, which Muna says he founded to house "the new wave of businesses being added to the portfolio."
Published Oct. 16, 2014
Well before the Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba began making IPO rumblings in America, I was familiar with its offerings. I'd never bought anything from it ... until this month.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
Once upon a time, I figured that the magnificent, serene and beautiful Door County is a place only to be enjoyed by adults. Maybe my priorities have changed, though, because even after 20 years of visits, only recently did I come to the conclusion that kids could fall in love with this magical retreat, too. Turns out I was right. After the summer rush died down, we took our daughter up to Door County for the first time this weekend. It was a wonderful journey.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just about a week ago, our sweet little cat, Jabie, disappeared from our Bay View home. Maybe one of us left the patio door open a bit, I'm not sure. But after hours upon hours of walking the neighborhood, taping up posters and talking to every stranger we see, she's still nowhere to be found.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.