It was a bad night to be in a band playing Windsor, but a fabulous night to be a Bob Seger fan.
Against The Wind, a Canadian tribute to Bob Seger, pulled into The Capitol Theatre on Saturday, June 24 for a performance at what was expected to be a sold-out show supporting the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre.
Little known to the promoters or the band was that Seger would announce his first Detroit concert in 21 years this coming September as tickets were being sold for this show, taking the gusto out of the tribute show. And then to further add insult to injury, the casino booked Lionel Richie for the same night. But that didn’t stop the hundreds who came out to hear the music of Motown’s Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man and it didn’t stop the band from giving their all.
The six-piece band was accompanied by two background vocalists and a new lead singer, Andy Law, who’s best known for his work with Toronto band Sapphire City. Law is a strong frontman with a good Seger tone to his voice and hair resembling Seger’s Night Moves era, but it seemed like he wasn’t at his full potential. Much of the talk in the audience centered around the fact that Law was using a music stand with lyrics to the songs as he sang, standing in the back half of the stage for much of the show. It wasn’t until the last song that they revealed Law had only been in the band for four weeks of rehearsals and this was his first show.
All that aside, the band was sharp and sounded great within the confines of The Capitol Theatre’s acoustics, especially horn man Johnny Panchyshyn, who had a certain charisma on stage that was only surpassed by his playing. It was awesome watching him blow his way through Turn The Page as the second act began.
The rest of the band was all top notch, including keyboardist John Jamieson, drummer Jeffrey Goldstein, dueling guitarists Josh Gordon and Adam Langley, and bassist Kevin McClosky. A true Bob Seger sound wouldn’t be complete without some great background singers, in this case, Marysia Gonzalez and Cyndi Richards.
The band went through two sets, mostly comprised of hits, with a few album tracks for diehard fans, like Windsor-Detroit favourite Nutbush City Limits and Night Moves bluesy track Come To Pappa. It was a full set with a cross range of ballads and rockers, including a version of Seger’s live classic Katmandu.
The Capitol Theatre stage was armed with plenty of lights from Live Production Group and M.R Productions, resembling the glow from Seger’s last few touring rigs – the only thing missing was a couple sets of stairs and a riser surrounding the drum kit – a feature of Seger’s stage for a few tours.
If the rumours are true, the next time Against The Wind comes to Windsor, Seger will be retired and Andy Law will be much more rehearsed. And that’s when hundreds more can join in on the fun. Watch for these guys in the future.