With more than 4,500 friends jam packed into The Colosseum on Thursday night (April 18), Windsor rockers The Tea Party gave the homecoming concert of their career. The venue was rocking, the stage layout was incredible and the band was absolutely perfect.
In a short 90-minute set, Jeff Martin (vocals, guitars), Jeff Burrows (drums) and Stuart Chatwood (bass and everything else), performed 12 songs spanning their nearly 30-year career, mostly concentrating on music from their 1990s albums.
The band opened with Writing’s On The Wall, from their 2004 album Seven Circles, and plowed through a set that was about 40% different from the one they performed in London just over two weeks ago. For die-hard fans, the band performed a new song called Way Way Down which might become part of their next EP or album. Joining them on the song was another Windsor rock hero, Kelly Hoppe, the retired harmonica player from Big Sugar. Mr. Chill brought his blues and old-school influences to the table and lifted the song to another level and a much earthier blues sound than we’re used to from The Tea Party.
Intermixed with The Tea Party originals, we were treated to a selection of snippets of cover songs. Way Way Down was mixed with Led Zeppelin’s In My Time of Dying, Heaven Coming Down morphed into U2’s With Or Without You, there was a little more Zep tossed into the band’s current Top 5 hit Black River, Winter Solace emerged from The Tragically Hip classic Bobcaygeon and Sister Awake branched out into The Stones Paint It Black and David Bowie’s Heroes.
Martin’s voice was in fine form tonight and were really noticeable on the cover songs. He’s always had a flare for Led Zeppelin, but the versions of With or Without You and Bobcaygeon were phenomenal and could easily be prime material for a Tea Party covers album.
Chatwood is such an underrated member of this band. His bass work is solid, but the additional instruments, keyboards and an interesting desktop accordion or harmonium make him the MVP.
Many Windsorites know Burrows as one of the most helpful and supportive people in the city, but behind the drums this guy is an animal. The driving beat behind the music sounded so much larger on the grand stage at Caesars.
And they used that stage to their advantage with lights everywhere. Layers and layers of lights went from one side of the stage to the other. It probably didn’t hurt that The Colosseum’s Director of Entertainment, Tim Trombley, was the record company exec that signed the band to EMI Records back in 1993.
There were so many lights that Martin even made a comment about them:
“When did we become Spinal Tap”, he told the crowd in reference to the huge rock show they were offering.
Nearly 30 years into their career and The Tea Party have a special chemistry most bands will never achieve. There was a level of both comradery and professionalism that was evident tonight – a sense of skill that only comes with age and passion. It also doesn’t hurt when your latest single rises to the Top 5 on the charts amongst current hitmakers Greta Van Fleet and Arkells.
Opening the show was local up-and-comers Autumn Kings, who gave a high energy performance bouncing across the stage with a fury. Fans went crazy with their cover of Livin’ La Vida Loca and the sensational Devil In Disguise. It was great to see them on a giant stage with a massive sound. Watch for big things from these guys.
Photos by Dan Savoie:
The Tea Party
April 18, 2019
- Writing’s on the Wall
- The Bazaar
- Way Way Down / In My Time of Dying
- Fire in the Head
- Save Me
- Heaven Coming Down / With or Without You
- Black River / Bring It On Home
- Winter Solstice / Bobcaygeon
- Sister Awake / Paint It Black / Heroes