Bachman & Turner

30 August 2014

Cannery Casino, North Las Vegas, NV


When Randy Bachman left Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) in the late 1970s, he had effectively surrendered his co-ownership of the name BTO, and a chain of legal entanglements ensued for decades ahead. Fast forward three decades -- when Randy reunited with C.F. Turner for a new CD, they opted to use the name they had originally considered, but ultimately abandoned in the early 1970s ("Bachman & Turner"), purportedly because it sounded too "folksy" (a la Brewer & Shipley).

When other founding members of BTO had caught wind of this plan, they, including brother Robbie Bachman, tried to sue Randy and C.F., citing alleged trademark infringement. Legal proceedings, however, rendered the lawsuit as frivolous, given the general legal precedent for artists to, uh, freely use their own names.

Back in 1986, my very good friend Doug saw BTO in concert, opening for the Van Hagar version of Van Halen. Doug described the show as three husky guys in overalls hollering, "Let it rooolll.....down the highwaaayyy!" And, tonight's show 28 years later opened pretty much as Doug described, though with principal members Bachman and Turner looking a bit trimmer than in previous decades. Tonight's stage show included another guitar player and another bass player. The extra touring musicians permitted some recreation of the guitar overdubs Randy had performed on the studio versions of their songs.

"Hey You", Randy's musical rip-off of his own "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet", in turn a flattering riff-off of the Who's "Baba O'Reilly", followed next. "Lookin' Out For Number One" produced a pleasant musical contrast to the rest of the set's otherwise raucous thunder.

C. F. introduced "Gimme Your Money Please" as a completely made-up story, which he had sold as being authentic for years.

After "Four Wheel Drive", Randy showcased his Nigel Tufnel impression with his lead guitar solo using a drumstick on the song "Stayed Awake All Night". Randy's an excellent lead, and rhythm, guitar player.

Turner capably handled the vocals to the Guess Who cover "American Woman", though with a little less syncopation than Burton Cummings' take.

Randy's vocal take on "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" makes stuttering seem normal, despite widespread discommending from the political-correctness crowd.

With encores of "Let It Ride" and "Takin' Care Of Business", Bachman & Turner thusly completed a North American tour at this indoor-outdoor amphitheater in the patio of the Cannery Casino. During tonight's show, Randy expressed his gratefulness, "Now we get to go home!"

I need to talk about the audio quality--the soundboard faders had the bass kick drum cranked WAY too high, to the point where I couldn't hear C. F. Turner's bass for the majority of the show! That said, C.F. Turner's voice sounds a strong as it did 40 years earlier, which I personally find amazing, given how his studio vocals sounded stressed for the majority of radio hits featuring his lead. Randy sounded equally great on the microphone as well.

I've wanted to see Randy & C. F. for a long time -- they remain a notable selection in the soundtrack of my youth.

[***] - Steven T.

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