THUNDER BAY – When you’re a legend like Randy Bachman, you can pretty much do what you want when you hit the stage.
He’s earned that right.
A founding member of the Guess Who and a driving force behind Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Winnipeg rocker has been entertaining crowds around the world for nearly 60 years.
On Sunday it was Thunder Bay’s turn.
Bachman, 73, delivered a hit-filled 90-minute ride that sent the record-setting Blues Festival home begging for more.
From the opening notes of BTO’s classic Roll on Down the Highway until the music faded on the rock anthem Taking Care of Business, Bachman clearly proved age is just a state of mind.
With the help of his backing band, Bachman delivered a classic-rock hit machine, including Guess Who favourites like No Sugar Tonight, These Eyes and American Woman – which also featured a take on Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.
BTO favourites Lookin’ Out for No. 1, Let it Ride and a Hey You medley that wove in classic rock staples like AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long, Steve Miller’s Rock’n Me, Rod Stewart’s Hot Legs and the Troggs’ Wild Thing had the crowd lapping up the show, singing along into the Thunder Bay night.
A year after former Guess Who partner Burton Cummings closed out the 2016 Blues Festival, Bachman was the perfect end to a near perfect weekend.
The day began with a pair of local bands, Driven and Dr Buck and the Bluesbangers, who eased the audience into Day 3 and got the blues juices flowing as people began settling into their seats for the day.
Highly rated Jerome Godboo didn’t disappoint, leading into the blues offerings of the 24th Street Wailers and the manic guitar work that Anthony Gomes has become famous for over the years, including previous visits to the Blues Festival.
They turned the stage over to a pair of rockers, Wide Mouth Mason getting funky with covers of Prince’s Raspberry Beret and David Bowie’s Modern love among their repertoire.
Big Sugar took over, launched into Diggin’ a Hole, worked their way to If I Had My Way and didn’t look back.
When all was said and done, organizers had pulled off the most successful Thunder Bay Blues Festival yet, an effort worth another round of applause.