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.Â The stunning vocals of Burton Cummings were noticeably absent -- replaced by the mostly competent Carl Dixon, who joined the band in 1997.Â 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.Â And in many ways, it didn't disappoint.
Sadly, the crowd probably totaled less than 1,000, quickly noted by Dixon.Â I thought that might encourage the band to sleepwalk through their hits, and at first, that appeared to be the case.Â 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."Â The song dragged a bit, as did 1969's "Laughing."Â Even their opener, "Clap For The Wolfman" sounded a tad off.
But as the hour-plus show progressed, the guys got cooking.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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 July 25, 2016
Jessica Tighe is an appreciative person. While the Elm Grove native has worked in West Virginia, the Quad Cities and La Crosse, now she's home and co-anchoring the morning news on CBS 58. Ask Tighe how it feels and she actually gets goose bumps: "I have family here. I'm invested in this market," she says with a smile.
Published July 11, 2016
Summerfest 2016 may have come and gone, but the memories will live forever - because we at OnMilwaukee took enough photos and video to fill a large hard drive.
Published July 9, 2016
Playing before the Barenaked Ladies and OMD, Howard Jones got the 6 p.m. spot at the BMO Harris Pavilion Saturday night, and while that's not exactly top billing for an artist who had 15 top 40 singles during his career, I'll take it.
Published July 9, 2016
In a word, Paul McCartney was amazing tonight. I feel beyond fortunate that I've now seen him play twice. Now back at the office, at midnight, Bobby is writing the main review, but I have some stuff to say, too. Random stuff, so please indulge me.
Published July 7, 2016
Go ahead; get those laughs out of the way. I'm trying to write a serious review of Anthony Ray's Big Gig show. You, of course, know him as Sir Mix-a-Lot, and unless you listened to his tapes in the early '90s, you probably recognize just one of his songs.
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.