Monday, March 26, 2018
BURTON CUMMINGS: UP CLOSE AND ALONE ... LIVE AT THE ARCADA THEATRE ... Saturday, March 24th
Burton Cumming, fighting off the last strains of a month-long cold (hey, I can relate ... I'm in week four of my own!) took to the stage at The Arcada Theatre on Friday and Saturday Night to perform his one-man "Up Close And Alone" show. (Friday's performance was a complete "to the rafters" sell out ... I'd have to say the theatre was a little bit better than half-full when we attended Saturday night for the hastily added second show.)
I must say that I've never seen the Arcada stage look more elegant ... silk sheets were draped thru the lighting areas above and illuminated beautiful hues of color throughout Burton's set.
He mixed things up a little bit this time around, kicking off the show with "You Saved My Soul," a seldom-heard "comeback" track from the early '80's (#32 US / #13 Canada). This was followed by the very sophisticated "Sour Suite," a Guess Who track from 1971.
After that it was pretty much business as usual as Cummings ran through a good chunk of his Guess Who catalog that included live, solo versions of "Hand Me Down World," "No Sugar Tonight" / "New Mother Nature," "Laughing," "Undun" "No Time" and "Clap For the Wolfman." (Burton warned the audience to not even DARE to request "American Woman," as he couldn't possibly duplicate it by himself alone at the piano ... although he DID tease us with a short riff punctuated by a few well-time grunts.)
He did many of the songs he likes to feature in this intimate setting ... so, as such, we were treated to his Gordon Lightfoot / "Maggie May" impersonation (which still makes us laugh no matter how many times we've heard it) and "Mack The Knife," his tribute to Bobby Darin, of whom he as a HUGE fan. (Burton, you should check out our special Bobby Darin feature, which is now permanently posted on the Forgotten Hits Website, along with the interview WE did a few years ago.)
Other highlights for me were an absolutely perfect reading of the old Platters tune "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," the rollicin' rockin' "Albert Flasher" (I swear this has to be one of my Top Three favorite Guess Who songs) and perhaps my favorite solo track by him, "Dream Of A Child," which touches my heart and brings a tear to my eye EVERY time I hear it ... what a beautiful tune.
Naturally he did his first big solo hit, "Stand Tall," which got a great reaction from the crowd ("Yes, she broke my heart ... but I got a gold record out of it so that made everything ok.") Noticeably missing was "These Eyes," the song that started it all ... I don't think I've EVER seen a show where Burton didn't do this one and remind the audience once again how this track changed his life forever. Recorded nearly 50 years ago, it has afforded him the life style (not to mention the dream job!) that he has been able to enjoy for six decades now. An encore of "Share The Land" ended the show.
We were fortunate enough to get to visit for a few minutes backstage after the show (during which Burton spent MOST of the time blasting me for waking him up at 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning with my Forgotten Hits emails! lol) and snapped a new, updated photo for our collection. (VERY special thanks to Jeff Berger, who took ALL of the photos on display here today. You can visit his site at www.jeffbergerphotography.com)
Another great show by an incredible artist. (Burton WITH the band are headed for Las Vegas next week for a series of shows at the Orleans Hotel and Casino ... March 31st, April 1st, April 5th and April 6th)
More tour dates can be found here:
P.S. Sorry for waking you up again this morning!!! (kk)