What They Saw
Just as we started to brace ourselves for the heat of the summer, a refreshing cold front came through Arizona and cooled things down for attendees of The Good Life Festival at Encanterra on April 14. Light jackets came out of storage for the last show in this year’s spring concert series and sunglasses were pocketed. Although rain clouds loomed in the distance, not a drop made its way to Encanterra, and festival-attendees enjoyed an entire afternoon of umbrella-less dancing, wine sampling, noshing and shopping.
They flocked to the wine and beer tent, where an impressive assortment of more than 30 craft beers – sourced from California, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and elsewhere – were poured. Chuck Noll, a renowned craft beer specialist, helped guests find the perfect beer to suit their tastes and offered his extensive beer knowledge to craft beer fans and blossoming craft beer admirers. Oenophiles had the option of sampling wine or purchasing by the glass or bottle to enjoy during the show.
On the main stage, local singer and songwriter Jeordie warmed the audience up with her modern pop and folk rock music. Later, The Guess Who took the stage and performed for their second time at The Good Life Festival, playing favorites like “American Woman” and “No Time.” Then STYX brought a stellar set, rocking the crowd with hit songs and an engaging stage presence.
We look forward to having you all back for future The Good Life Festival at Encanterra shows. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates on who will appear next season. Our Facebook page also is the ideal place to tell us which bands you’d like to see perform in the future. We welcome ideas on how we can make the festival better each year – until then, keep living the good life!
STYX – Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips (along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo), have performed more live since ’99 than all of the previous years of its career combined. Two Super-Bowl appearances, Pollstar Box Office chart-topping tours with Def Leppard, Journey, Boston, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company (to name only a few), two more studio albums and no end in sight, STYX continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.
Spawned from a suburban Chicago basement in the early ‘70s, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late ’70s and early ’80s, due to a fondness for big rockers and soaring power ballads.
Early on, Styx’s music reflected such then-current prog rockers as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Moody Blues, as evidenced by such releases as 1972′s self-titled debut, 1973′s “Styx II,” 1974′s “The Serpent Is Rising,” and 1975′s “Man of Miracles.” While the albums (as well as non-stop touring) helped the group build a substantial following locally, Styx failed to break through to the mainstream, until a track originally from their second album, “Lady” started to get substantial airplay in late ’74 on the Chicago radio station WLS-FM. The song was soon issued as a single nationwide, and quickly shot to number six on the singles chart, as Styx II was certified gold. By this time, however, the group had grown disenchanted with their record label, and opted to sign on with A&M for their fifth release overall, 1975′s “Equinox” (their former label would issue countless compilations over the years, culled from tracks off their early releases). On the eve of the tour in support of the album, original guitarist John Curulewski abruptly left the band, and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. Shaw proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Styx, as most of their subsequent releases throughout the late ’70s earned at least platinum certification (1976′s “Crystal Ball,” 1977′s “The Grand Illusion,” 1978′s “Pieces of Eight,” and 1979′s “Cornerstone”), and spawned such hit singles and classic rock radio standards as “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.”
The band decided that their first release of the ’80s would be a concept album, 1981′s “Paradise Theater,” which was loosely based on the rise and fall of a once-beautiful theater (which was supposedly used as a metaphor for the state of the U.S. at the time — the Iranian hostage situation, the Cold War, Reagan, etc.). “Paradise Theater” became Styx’s biggest hit of their career (selling over three million copies in a three-year period), as they became one of the U.S. top rock acts due to such big hit singles as “Too Much Time on My Hands”. It also marked the first time in history that a band released four consecutive triple-platinum albums.
A career-encompassing live album, “Caught in the Act,” was issued in 1984, before Styx went on hiatus, and the majority of its members pursued solo projects throughout the remainder of the decade. A re-recording of their early hit, “Lady” (titled “Lady” ’95″), for a Greatest Hits compilation, finally united Shaw with his former Styx bandmates, which led to a full-on reunion tour in 1996. But drummer John Panozzo fell seriously ill at the time (due to a long struggle with alcoholism), which prevented him from joining the proceedings — as he passed away in July of the same year. Although grief-stricken, Styx persevered with new drummer Todd Sucherman taking the place of Panozzo, as the Styx reunion tour became a surprise sold-out success, resulting in the release of a live album/video, 1997′s “Return to Paradise,” while a whole new generation of rock fans were introduced to the grandiose sounds of Styx via a humorous car ad which used the track “Mr. Roboto,” as well as songs used in such TV shows as South Park and Freaks & Geeks.
The Guess Who
The Guess Who, the band that became Canada’s first international rock music superstars, began in 1962 in Winnipeg as Chad Allen & The Reflections. Including members Randy Bachman (guitar), Jim Kale (bass) and Garry Peterson (drums), Chad Allen and the Reflections had become Chad Allen and the Expressions by the time they recorded a cover of “Shakin’ All Over”, released by Quality Records in 1965. The song was a #1 single in Canada and reached #22 in America. Burton Cummings joined the group that same year, replacing the keyboard player and sharing lead vocals.
Quality Records released the group’s first single and album, Shakin’ All Over, in a plain white record jacket with only the question “Guess Who?” written on it. The marketing ploy capitalized on curiosity and the promise of another British Invasion band. It worked. After selling two million copies the band had its trademark name: The Guess Who. Following the success of Shakin’ All Over, the band toured the U.S. as part of Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars Road Revue and in 1967 they landed a regular spot on the CBCTV show, Where It’s At.
Experimenting with the sounds of freedom, psychedelic, and garage rock that were filtering across the border from Minneapolis, The Guess Who traveled to Minneapolis, where they did their first recordings at K-Bank Studios. Their song “His Girl” gave the band a Top 20 hit in England, an offer to sign with London-based King Records, and the
opportunity to tour. They immediately left for the U.K. After just one album, the band quit King Records and returned to Canada. After recording the promotional album A Wild Pair (with The Staccatos on the flipside) for Coca-Cola and appearing on the TV show Let’s Go, the homecoming of The Guess Who was marked by the sale of their Quality Records contract for $1,000 to Nimbus 9, owned by producer Jack Richardson.
Richardson believed so strongly in The Guess Who that he mortgaged his home to finance the recording of the album, Wheatfield Soul, which was released in 1968. The first single, “These Eyes”, reached #1 in Canada, and earned the band a U.S. contract with RCA Records. Heralded as the beginning of the Canadian Invasion, “These Eyes” reached #3 in America in 1969 with total sales of more than one million copies. Their second album for RCA, Canned Wheat by The Guess Who, also released in 1968, contained the Top 10 hits “Laughing”, “No Time”, and the Top 40 hit “Undun” (the Bside of “Laughing”).
Ironically it was “American Woman”, from March of 1970, which gave The Guess Who a #1 single in the U.S. and unseated The Beatles for three weeks straight. The Top 10 album, also entitled American Woman, containing the hits “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” (the B-Side of American Woman), also went to #1 in Billboard for three weeks.
This new trend of having double sided singles both going to #1 was a rare occurrence, only achieved by; Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Guess Who, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The popularity of the band earned them an invitation to perform at the White House before Prince Charles and the President and Mrs. Nixon, although she requested that the band not perform “American Woman.” It was during this peak of The Guess Who’s success that Randy Bachman decided to leave the band (replaced by guitarists Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw); he formed Bachman Turner Overdrive shortly thereafter.
Over the next few years the group continued to chart with the singles “Hand Me Down World”, “Share The Land”, “Bus Rider”, “Rain Dance”, “Albert Flasher”, “Star Baby” and “Clap for the Wolfman” (which reached #6 on the Billboard Charts), and the album Greatest Hits. In all, the group has 14 bona fide Top 40 Hits to its credit! After 10 years with the band, Burton Cummings left in 1975 to pursue a successful solo career. The original members of the The Guess Who appeared sporadically over the ensuing years: Jim Kale continued the band with new members through the late 70’s;
Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings toured together in 1983; there was a brief reunion from which an album and concert video were released in 1985; and the band appeared together when they were inducted into the Canadian Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 1999 The Guess Who returned to their Winnipeg roots, responding to a personal request from the Premier of Manitoba, to appear at the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games. The reunion was performed in driving rain before a combined live and television audience of nearly a million people. The excitement and personal enjoyment found in
performing together again as The Guess Who inspired them to consider touring across Canada. Months of reunion rumors were finally confirmed in March 2000 when the Running Back Thru Canada tour announced more than 24 performances in over 22 cities across Canada.
The emergence of “classic rock” radio stations throughout North America has broadened the base of the group’s loyal followers to include more of the baby boomer generation, on down to today’s teenagers. A typical audience at a concert by The Guess Who will contain fans from 16 to 60 years old. The popularity of The Guess Who has increased
tremendously due to the strength and the highly regarded reputation of their live concert performances.
Although membership in the group has changed through the years, they have remained musically consistent behind the strengths of original members Jim Kale (bass and vocals) and Garry Peterson (drums and vocals). Additionally, current members include Derek Sharp (vocals and guitars), Leonard Shaw (keyboards, flute, sax and vocals) and Laurie MacKenzie (guitars and vocals). As they perform hit after hit in concert, it is easy to see and hear why The Guess Who remain one of today’s most sought after touring attractions.