Tom CochraneDan Boshart

Tom Cochrane

Iconic Canadian Rockers Tom Cochrane and Kim Mitchell performed at Windsor’s Chrysler Theatre on consecutive nights, Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9 in shows benefitting the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and Transition To Betterness. Bluesfest Windsor organized the weekend with the goal of raising money for the local charities as well as testing the waters towards hopefully bringing back a full-scale blues festival back to Windsor. It’s been five years since the last Bluesfest in Windsor, and it would be wonderful to have the festival back in some form.

Tom Cochrane entertained a near-capacity audience on Friday and told the crowd how pleased he was to be back in Windsor playing in such a great venue. Opening with Mad Mad World from the 1991 solo album of the same name, the 14-song set was packed with hits that people came to hear. Songs like Big League, White Hot, No Regrets, and the biggest hit of his career, the anthemic Life Is a Highway, had the majority of those in attendance standing and singing along. At 70 years of age, the singer still sounds great and has the energy of a man half his age.

There was a Windsor connection moment when Tom introduced the song “Sinking Like a Sunset”, telling the crowd that it was written by Windsor native Annette Ducharme. He also pointed out that golfer Mike Weir’s brother Jim was in the audience, and Tom, an avid golfer, told an amusing story of being scolded for feeding Mike drinks in Hawaii the night before an important golf round and he ended up shooting a low score.

Kim MitchellDan Boshart

Kim Mitchell

Saturday night, March 9th, it was Kim Mitchell’s turn to rock Windsor. The former Max Webster frontman is years gone from the high-jumping splits he performed with that band, but the voice and guitar playing sound the same. He did apologize ahead of time for being under the weather and said, “Don’t go telling everyone I can’t sing anymore, because I can. I just have a virus.”

Coming out with Lager and Ale from 1984’s Akimbo Alogo, Mitchell showed he still has it at age 71. He loves playing live and doesn’t seem to have any plans of retiring anytime soon, and why should he? The Windsor fans love him, and many stood for much of the show. They were particularly enthusiastic four songs in when he declared he was going to play some Max Webster and fired off Paradise Skies, Check, Drive and Desire, and Here Among The Cats.

Mitchell also talked about his Windsor connection which was pretty significant having grown up just a couple hours north in Sarnia. Some of his earliest gigs were at the Metropole Supper Club at 917 Walker Rd, later to become the popular music club, California’s Musical Roadhouse. He reminisced about sharing a leaky air mattress with his bandmates for those road trips.

The set finished with his most popular songs, I Am a Wild Party, Patio Lanterns, All We Are, and Go for Soda, and came out for an encore with Rock & Roll Duty.

Leamington’s Peter Raffoul performed as the opener on both nights and represented well for the local scene. Son of popular entertainer Jody Raffoul, he definitely shares the talent gene with dad as well as his brother Billy who also is a successful singer/songwriter. He performed his own music as well as a couple of his father’s songs and joked the second night that he would try to not tell the same stories from the night before.

Hopefully, Windsor will have more of these shows in the near future, and a return of Bluesfest to our under-used riverfront stage would be very welcome. So many other cities of similar size across Ontario have multiple music festivals. We need to support these events; we deserve a vibrant music scene. Let’s make this happen again!

All photos by Dan Boshart


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