Terry taped intro, drum solo, Check, Oh War!, Paradise Skies, High Class In Borrowed Shoes, Look Out, In The World Of Giants, In Context Of The Moon, What Do You Do With The Urge, Here Among The Cats, Drive And Desire, Old Gomer, Gravity, Coming Off The Moon, Lip Service, Waterline, The Party, Battle Scar, Hangover
The show now begins with house music on tape by Terry, followed by a drum solo from Gary.
These Hamilton theatre shows likely see the final performances of Look Out and What Do You Do With The Urge.
Kim Mitchell - Vocals/Guitar
Gary McCracken - Drums
Terry Watkinson - Keyboards
Mike Gingrich - Bass
Steve McMurray - Guitar
The stage was set for a night of creatively mind-bending rock 'n' roll.
With Max Webster — the increasingly popular Toronto band with a reputation for off-the-wall albums equaled only by its off-the-wall concerts — heading the Hamilton Place bill, we expected to be shocked, or at the very least, astonished.
But we weren't last night. And for a very logical reason. Hamilton isn't especially important in any particular way to the career of Max Webster. It's merely another stopover.
As a result, then, it appeared as if the group wasn't up as high as it might have been, say, had the venue been the Montreal forum.
This is not to say that Max Webster failed to entertain us. Kim Mitchell and company did. But while they played with precision, they lacked a hard edge; and extra effort that they are known for.
Many acts never reveal that rough side and we are content to see regurgitated renditions of album cuts at their live performances. However, Max Webster has never been in with that crowd. But last night, in spirit at least, it was.
It was disappointing that Mitchell didn't bash about uncontrollably. Instead, every move he made and workd he spoke seemed carefuly, oh so carefully, pre-arranged. Can self-parody be far off?
More than ever before, though, it was apparent that Mitchell ran the show. He's got start quality that has made Max Webster what it is today and he flaunted his control and feigned craziness at all times.
A second guitarist, Steve McMurray, has been added to the group (along with bassist Mike Gingrich and returnee keyboardist Terry Watkinson) to give Max five members (Gary McCracken is stil doing the drumming). Utilizing a sound mix that was as impeccable as you'd get with that ind of music, the band fluidly moved through its 90-minute set with only minor snags.
The peculiarity of the tempo of the songs — a Max Webster trademark — were the saving grace. We could appreciate the stops and starts of such favourites as Fear of Gravity and High Class in Borrowed Shoes. And those parts, all by themselves, kept the evening from being too much of a letdown.
But still, the fact remained — much of what Mitchell did was contributed madness. Somehow the two words don't mesh comfortably. When Mitchell sang out "we're all here to be reckless" it was difficult to believe he believed what he was singing.
A much bigger disappointment was the display put on by B.B. Gabor and his band. Gabor, who showed his pop versatility on one of the best Canadian albums of 1980, failed to bring the same studio flair with him.
With keyboard player Dave Stone the only carry-over from the LP musicians, it was a noticeably flatter sound we were force-fed. Songs like Nyet Nyet Soviet and Metropolitan Life — which had so much zest on vinyl — sounded ordinary in comparison. It was an unexpected slap in the face.
You could imagine tonight's second performance by Max Webster being more fiery and energetic, but the same couldn't be said about B.B. Gabor. He put out, only what he put out wasn't up to par.