Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Reaction to the Bachman Cummings Review

After reading so many positive reviews from you on Burton Cummings over the years, I was quite shocked to read what you had to say about the Bachman-Cummings show this weekend.

That being said, it proves again why Forgotten Hits is such a valuable source of information.  You pulled no punches and told it like it is, something we have come to expect and depend on over the years of reading your publication.

I know it had to hurt, seeing one of your all-time idols put on such a disappointing show.  (My first thought when you announced their US tour was officially cancelled was, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just record one live show and then release it as a final live album, commemorating the 2021 reunion” … but from the sounds of things, the show they put on Saturday Night would never have made the grade for release.

Too bad.  I’m with you … let’s remember Burton for the great voice he had and leave things on a high note.


As I stated in my review, I don’t see any way these guys could have sustained a full tour … not if things sounded this ragged before they even took off.  It IS a shame, as I was SO looking forward to this.  I suppose in hindsight I saved $300 … but it SURE would have been nice to go out on a high note.  Despite the disaster that plagued Saturday Night’s performance, that’s the way I’M choosing to remember them.  (kk)

Read my interview with Burton Cummings here:


(OMG … was that REALLY eight years ago already?!?!?)  kk

As the Guess Who songs goes, Kent, "Loves Me Like a Brother" … and brothers usually tell brothers when they need help. 

Kent, stand tall and just remember how great Burton was and how he had his "own way to rock."



Kent –

Just read your Burton Cummings review.  I know how much you love the guy. For you to write this I'm sure was very painful. But thank you for telling the truth. It will be interesting to see if you get a reaction from him.

Mike DeMartino

Honestly, I’d be shocked if I did … and I never wrote it expecting to … but rather to hopefully get a point across that it may be time to re-evaluate things and take stock in all that you’ve done.

Burton Cummings doesn’t have anything else to prove to anyone.  The fact that The Guess Who (and Burton and Randy additionally) are not in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame is sacrilege … there is absolutely NO excuse for it and it is an insult to all that they’ve done over the years … at one point in time, The Guess Who were out-selling ALL other Canadian acts COMBINED!!!  You can’t just ignore this … and yet The Rock Hall continues to do so.  Their catalog of classic rock … the very nature of this music and where it came from … makes them a unique candidate for such an honor.

Deserving And Denied??? Times Ten!  (kk)

I was saddened to read the writeup about Burton's concert.  It's gotta be heartbreaking not to be able to perform like they did "back in the day."  A half-century of performing on a regular basis can really take a lot out of you.  Gotta give guys like
Burton, Randy and all of the other stalwarts of rock a LOT of credit.
Like many of the responders here, I've been a lifetime Burton fan.  After attending the (newly reformed) Guess Who concert at the SIU Arena on October 9, 1970, I was hooked for life. Their sound was different, and just plain great.
I don't claim to be as knowledgeable as most with concert and personal info over the past half-century, but I do know enough to say that Burton is way up at the top of the list when it comes to talented musicians, vocalists, and all-around great guys.
Not many musicians would have you keep them company while walking through the Chicago streets to their hotel after a personal appearance at a record shop, as I did after a show in '76.
I was not expecting to hear this report, and it makes me sad.  But - it happens to the best of people.  Thanks again, Burton, for giving me and millions of others over 55 years of the best musical entertainment one could ask for!

Burton Cummings and Mike Wolstein, outside a Record Shop on Oak near Rush Street, 1976

American Woman, originally in E, now in C - 4 half-steps lower

Paul Holt




There wasn't just a bad note or two last evening -- it was an entire show saturated with them -- it was horrible.  You would have to be tone-deaf to say that was a show that was representative of your talent, let alone your legacy.  Sometimes a review can serve as an intervention. 

Anonymous by Request

It hurts to see our fallen heroes ... like the fighter who stays too long in the ring for one last shot at glory.  We all face challenges of diminished capacity at some point in our lives … and from all that I’ve read in your column over the last several years, this seems to have happened rather suddenly with Burton.

There could be underlying circumstances that you’re not aware of that contributed to the poor performance you described … health reasons … and perhaps some other issues.  I didn’t see the show, so it’s hard for me to comment … but clearly it struck you deeply in order to appeal to him the way you did … a noble gesture unto itself. 

I believe your heart was in the right place when you wrote it (although I doubt that he or anyone else in his camp will ever see it that way) … it’s always hard to read a negative review … but I think ALL of your readers respect you for saying it.  Still, it may give everyone connected with his career to pause to re-evaluate the current state of affairs.  (Didn’t you recently tell us that Burton Cummings was finishing up a brand new solo album of material he recorded during lock-down?  I’m curious now to hear what this new music sounds like ... and if it will still be released.)

In closing, just let me say, thank you for your honesty … it was clear how much it hurt you to write what you did … and it just may hurt HIM every bit as much to read it … but, like I said, I believe your heart was in the right place.  Of this, there is no doubt.  I only hope that he can accept it in the spirit in which it was given.

Tom O’Neill


I knew you were a longtime, loyal fan of Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, and the groups they have fronted through their iconic and legendary careers, and it is why when I actually stumbled on access to the Manitoba Unite 150 presentation, I contacted you.  I have just read your review … in fact, I read it twice and I have to say, I agree with everything you said. 

Does it hurt to say it, does it hurt to agree with it?  Damn right! 

What is disheartening is that nobody in their teams have called attention to the elephant in the room.  I have been a fan of Burton Cummings since he was in the Deverons, and Randy Bachman, since I would listen to the Guess Who on CKY-Winnipeg, since seeing Randy Bachman and the Guess Who the second night after Burton Cummings joined the band. 

These gentlemen are Canadian Rock Royalty, Canada's Finest.  But that certainly wasn't the case last Saturday night.  I don't think that is a performance that they want to put their name on in the bottom corner of the picture.

I have been to many of their shows, to include what I would say is my all-time favorite concert when Randy, Burton, and the Guess Who performed at Red Rocks around 2003 when Joe Cocker opened for them.  But last Saturday night was a different story. 

Concerning Burton Cummings’ performance, having experience with laser vocal surgery first hand, I could hear the cracking voice and lack of vocal range that are currently plaguing Burton Cummings ... symptoms that have needed medical attention for some time.  I addressed these concerns with a member of his team nearly three years ago.  I am just not sure as to how far my concerns, and my even recommending a doctor, went up the ladder.     

Did I think this sabbatical and the Covid situation the world is going through was going to provide Burton Cummings with a time to heal or address his vocal situation?  I was hoping.  And granted, I think the band would have been tighter after a few shows -- but call it what you may, if you saw the show, and are being honest with yourself, you can see there are some things that need to be addressed. 

I would like to chalk it up to a bad night, but usually Burton is the lead-singer … and Randy was that night.  Just watching the show, I could tell was taking away from their legacy, not adding to it.  I know you could say a bad concert in front of the hometown crowd was better than no concert at all, but was it?

I am saddened to even have to address this, being such a long-time fan, but please know that it is because I am such a long-time, ardent fan that I do address this situation.  If you saw the show, or the performance of which Burton Cummings said they were filming, I think it will be obvious that hard decisions have to be made. 

Do you want to be "Ali rope-a-doping in the ring" at the end of your career, or sit down and address what was evident in the performance?  And, the adversity that has been a long time coming that came to fruition that evening, and decide to correct the problems and go forward, or call it a day with your legacy intact.  That is a decision that only Randy, Burton, and the band can make.

Though I know this may be interpreted as just the opposite, I write this because I care.  And, with caring comes honesty.  Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings have worked too hard, written so much great music, performed so many spectacular shows, have such an iconic legacy, and have too much talent, to end up going out on a bad note. 


Tim Kiley


And, as a final note, thank-you for the way you have handled this.  I just got done reading your review, and it is spot on.  It is to your credit … and it is what we have come to expect from you in Forgotten Hits … and that is that you always speak the truth, even under adverse circumstances.  I always appreciate your honesty and objectivity.

Again, thank-you for the way you have handled this and again, as difficult as I am sure it was to write, I totally agree with everything you said -- you just happen to be the one that finally had to say it.  And, it had to be said.



Whenever I’ve had to write a negative review I always try to approach it within the bounds of constructive criticism … but without pointing out what I felt was the obvious, it doesn’t leave much room to say much of anything else.  I agree with you … it’s time to take a long, hard look at where you’re at and do a serious evaluation.  Scroll back and read my previous reviews of Burton's shows … they couldn’t be more glowing … and every accolade well deserved … but when it’s bad … and this was BAD … we all have to face this reality, too.

It's just sad.  He had SUCH a distinctive voice for so long.  But not unlike Jay Black finally stepping down a few years ago, it may be time.  Or maybe he can do more Ringo All-Starr Band Tours, come up and sing a couple of his hits, and carry on that way for a while. 

And I don’t wanna just pick on Burton here … Randy was really no better.  Maybe the 10:30 start was too late at this stage of the game.  (I feel like I wanna blame it on ANYTHING just to be able to excuse the poor performance we all witnessed) … these guys just meant SO much to me that I feel I HAVE to tell them that it may be time to rest on your laurels … because they don’t come much better.  (kk)


Best Classic Bands ran the complete set list from Saturday Night’s Concert …


This SHOULD have been the makings of an EXCELLENT Live Farewell Album (were it not for the fact that the vocals were so anemic, they would all have to be recorded over from scratch and then dubbed in.)


Even so, one glance at this list gives you some indication as to why I was looking forward to see this show as much as I was …


Bachman Cummings August 28, 2021 Setlist

No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature
Clap For the Wolfman
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Albert Flasher
Hand Me Down World
Hey You
My Own Way to Rock
Roll On Down the Highway
These Eyes
Let It Ride
Lookin’ Out For #1
Sour Suite
Stand Tall
Star Baby
Break It to Them Gently
American Woman
No Time

Share the Land
Takin’ Care of Business


UPDATE:  I'm thinking that Burton HAS had time to rewatch and evaluate the entire performance as he has virtually the entire show now posted on his Facebook page, which tells me he's fine with it.  

I listened back to some of it this morning before posting today's piece and it actually DOES sound a little better than I remember it ... perhaps the soundboard mix vs. the live feed can explain some of this as several times during the show the sound did seem to be a bit out of balance.  Conspicuously absent, however, are the opening tunes "No Sugar Tonight" / "New Mother Nature," "Clap For The Wolfman," "Laughing" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," all of which were completely falling apart vocally and musically.  (On at least three occasions during the opening number I actually muttered "Oh No!" out loud ... and again for "Laughing" ... the harmonic "blend" on "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" was cringe-worthy.  I literally turned it off after "Hand Me Down World" ... I just couldn't take any more.

You can check out the bulk of the show for yourself here: