You could feel the anticipation in the air moments before Howard Mandshein hit the stage to introduce Kim Mitchell to the packed room at The Oak in Transcona. The dance floor was teeming with eager fans and every seat in the bar was taken.
The band was tight in their delivery even though it was only drummer Dave Langguth’s fourth gig with the band. The guy’s no slouch though having played with Rik Emmett, The Kings, Tony Springer (Wild ‘T’ and the Spirit), Sass Jordan, Allanah Myles and most recently touring with Nelly Furtado to huge audiences all around the world.
He told me after the show his two major accomplishments and the most fun he’s had was playing the old Triumph songs with Rik Emmett and now playing with Kim Mitchell whose work he has admired for some time.
Keyboard player Ray Coburn had his moments also. Max Webster always had a unique keyboard sound and Coburn did a fine job on those tunes.
On the country-flavoured Easy To Tame, Mitchell decided to do a more stripped down version which started out with only Mitchell’s vocals and Coburn’s keyboards with the other instruments joining in briefly later in the song.
Peter Fredette has been with Kim Mitchell since he started his solo career 34 years ago. Fredette played keyboards and backup vocals in the early days but switched to bass.
Mr. Fredette has also played with many heavy hitters over the years such as Tom Cochrane, Colin James, Pat Travers and Lawrence Gowan.
He shares vocal duties with Mitchell on many songs and it’s quite nice how their voices blend and compliment each other. One of my personal favourites has always been All We Are, which they performed that night. Still sounds as fresh as when they recorded it.
During the show someone near the front of the stage held up a High Class In Borrowed Shoes album cover which Kim Mitchell called “one big friggin’ fashion disaster”, referring to the band’s attire on the cover, saying that our parents did make sense sometimes.
The band did a smokin’ version of the title track from the album. Mitchell explained how he recorded that song on a Travis Bean guitar that was notorious for going out of tune because of its metal neck. He ended up selling the guitar for $450. Jerry Garcia auctioned his Travis Bean off for $200,000.
Someone in the audience yelled out for the song Diamonds Diamonds, to which Mitchell talked about the many key changes in the song, claiming that, “you folks paid good money to see us, so I’m the only guy making mistakes today, these guys (the band) are perfect.”
Nice humble attitude Kim, but the man is an amazing guitar player. His solos are quite innovative.
The other Max Webster tunes performed that night were Blue River Liquor Shine and Paradise Skies.
Kim Mitchell has had many hits throughout his career including Patio Lanterns and Go For Soda which has been used in drinking and driving campaigns. Both songs had the audience singing along.
As well, before I Am A Wiid Party, Mitchell asked for help on the song, but we didn’t need much prodding to sing along to the chorus of the song.
Mitchell co-wrote In The Stars Tonight from 2007’s Ain’t Life Amazing with a “full on hippie dippie gal from Kamloops.”
Another interesting song they did was Lemon Wedge with the line, “You can be my lemon wedge and I’ll be your tequila.”
So, the band certainly did their Rock’n’Roll Duty all night and kept us in a Rockland wonderland for about 100 minutes.
Marc LaBossiere opened up the show with a 45 minute set of mostly covers of Stone Temple Pilots, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and John Cougar songs on his acoustic guitar. He warmed up the audience nicely and even had them singing along to John Cougar’s Jack And Diane.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer
Howard Mandshein intro
1. Rock’n’Roll Duty
2. In My Shoes
3. That’s A Man
4. Alana Loves Me
5. Paradise Skies (Max Webster)
6. Blue River Liquor Shine (MW)
7. I Am A Wild Party
8. Easy To Tame
9. In The Stars Tonight
10. Lemon Wedge
11. High Class In Borrowed Shoes (MW)
13. All We Are
14. Patio Lanterns
15. Go For Soda
16. Lager And Ale