Tom Cochrane - In the Big League
Gananoque...A nice, little Canadian community nestled in the 1000 Islands...
with a population of 5000 plus that more than doubled for a couple of hours during
the night of August 16th...and the decibel level soared to stratospheric levels.
Why...That was the night Tom Cochrane and Red Rider came to town to help with celebration
for 'Festival Of the Islands'. And it was quite evident that the Canadian Music Hall of
Famer was there to have a good time. While it seemed that the majority of the crowd had
only come for the hits, there were those of us who hung on every guitar chord, every
backbeat of the drum, the growls and sneers of rockers and the hushed pauses of ballads.
This was more than a concert...It was an event. Tom Cochrane was in town and he brought
his old friends, Red Rider, with him. And Dahmnait Doyle was along to add her voice to
the fun and excitement. She opened the show with a quick little set that showcased her
superb Newfoundland pipes, proving once again that she could be the Melissa Etheridge
of Canadian folk rock.
But this night belonged to Cochrane and Red Rider...And they rocked, rolled and ruled
the festivities. For those in The States who think Cochrane only had hits with 'Lunatic
Fringe' and 'Life Is a Highway', you should move north of the border for a couple of months.
He's been described as the Bruce Springsteen of the Great White North, but Canadian Rock
Laureate comes closer to describing Cochrane and his songwriting skills. Sure 'Highway'
is a great tune and really rocks out...and I still consider it the best driving song around...
but there's more to this man than just one song.
He and Red Rider ran the gamut of their collective careers. From 'Victory Day' to 'Big
League' to 'Pictures On the Edge'. He even did an acoustic set more than halfway through
the show, allowing for a very personal one on one setting while the rest of the band
rested up for the finale.
And what a finale...He started out singing Ray Charles classic 'Hit the Road, Jack'
and went on to introduce the band members at the end of the first chorus...and then
the band members either sang or played the chorus back...and then...Bam...Those
familiar chords that had almost the entire audience on their feet and dancing...'Life
Is a Highway'...
And what about the next number, 'Lunatic Fringe'? The song holds up well after all these
years. 'We know you've got to blame someone / For your own confusion / But we're on
guard this time / Against your final solution'.
The final song of the evening...'Boy Inside the Man'. Let's hope that Tom Cochrane never
loses the boy inside the man or his passion for writing great songs that stay in your
head and soul long after the music has stopped playing. 'Ooh...The good times we had /
Wouldn't worry about tomorrow / 'Cause tonight was all we had'...
Even though he omitted crowd pleasers like 'Wildest Dreams' and 'Ragged Ass Road',
nobody walked away disappointed...Well, I would have liked to have heard 'Ragged
Ass Road', but...it was still one hell of an event...Hope you didn't miss it.
- Richard Blaine
* Richard Blaine's views and opinions do not necessarily
reflect the views and opinions of the staff at Twin-Music.