Homegrown heroes Harlequin started off the evening with their very familiar hits pumping up the sold out crowd at Club Regent last Friday night. Their 65-minute set consisted mainly of songs from their first two albums from 1979 and 1980.
They also did a great rendition of The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down, and the way the crowd reacted, it seemed like no one was let down.
The band did their part by bringing everyone back to that place where they were when they first heard these songs. The audience did their part by giving back to the band some good energy and appreciation.
As well as paying tribute to The Beatles, there was a tip of the hat to blues greats like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and BB King, when they launched into the “new song”, Shine On (2007). This blues inspired tune was written after guitarist Derrick Gottfried came up with a few riffs in the studio. Gottfried even played a bit of Purple Haze before the song and the band played a bit of Led Zeppelin’s Heartbreaker at the end of Superstitious Feeling.
After singing along to songs like Sweet Things in Life and Innocence, and “coming out to support live music,” as singer George Belanger said, the audience was ready for headliners Chilliwack.
The Vancouver band Chilliwack (from the Salish word meaning ‘going back up’) hit the stage after a 15-minute break, with Bill Henderson doing some pretty interesting guitar riffs before firing into the familiar high pitched opening notes of Lonesome Mary. Great song with some frenetic vocal wailing as the singer built the song to a brilliant climax.
The next number, Whatcha Gonna Do When I’m Gone, came out in 1982 and was one of the last big hits for Chilliwack.
Was Mr. Henderson making a subconscious threat to the masses when he wrote this song, asking what we’re going to do when he’s gone? The band recorded only one more album in 1984 before disbanding (although Bill Henderson would tour in subsequent years as Chilliwack).
It seems like so many great songs and songwriters came out of the ’60’s and ’70’s, and by the time the ’80’s rolled around, music took a bit of a turn. Indeed, Mr. Henderson when you were gone (not putting out albums) your song writing talents were sorely missed.
Bill Henderson is the only original left in the band. His friend since 1967, Doug Edwards, played bass and provided the deep vocals for the Gone Gone Gone portion of My Girl.
“What a relief it is to be in Winnipeg after all the rain and fog of Vancouver,” Henderson said.
He also commented how he loves driving around this town seeing “a Canada that used to be … it’s not all big box.”
The oldest song of the set was Seventeenth Summer which was originally recorded on Henderson’s first band, The Collectors’ 1969 album Grass and Wild Strawberries. The song was re-recorded in 1970 on the debut Chilliwack album and has been a staple for the band’s live shows over the years. There seems to be an aboriginal influence to the song.
Bill Henderson’s brother Ed played guitar and did a wonderful Spanish influenced acoustic guitar solo after Crazy Talk. Rounding out the quartet was Jerry Adolphe on drums holding down the foundation for the band.
After My Girl the band was Gone Gone Gone off the stage, but not for long. They came back for an encore with Rain-O from 1971 which showed that this rocking band could also get pretty mellow. 1978’s Baby Blue, Arms of Mary, California Girl and I Believe, played earlier in the evening, were also on the slower side. Slow and mellow, and nicely executed.
For the finale, Harlequin singer George Belanger was invited on stage for a vocal duet on Fly At Night. He in turn, called his band mate, bass player Paul McNair, on stage to help out. McNair then picked up a guitar for a triple guitar assault to end the evening.
Looked like they were having just as much fun up there as we were on the floor and in the seats for the 80-minute set of classic rock hits. And There’s Something I Like About That.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer
Harlequin set list Chilliwack set list
1- I Did It For Love (1982) 1- Lonesome Mary (1973)
2- Love Is On The Rocks (1980) 2- Whatcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone) (1982)
3- Sweet Things In Life 3- California Girl (1977)
4- Barely Alive (1980) 4- Arms of Mary (1978)
5- It’s All Over Now (1980) 5- Something I Like About That (1975)
6- Survive (1979) 6- Seventeenth Summer (1969) (Collectors cover)
7- You Are The Light (1979) 7- Crazy Talk !974)
8- Shine On (2007) 8- Ed’s acoustic solo
9- Don’t Let Me Down (Beatles cover) 9- I Believe (1981)
10- Thinking of You (1980) 10- Baby Blue (1978)
11- Superstitious Feeling (1982) 11- My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) (1981)
12- Innocence (1980) ENCORE
– 12- Rain-O (1971)
– 13- Fly At Night (1977)