Saturday, July 21, 2018
Concert Review: Randy Bachman at Ameristar Casino
Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Not Fragile was one of my favorite rock albums when I was in elementary school. My abiding affection for burly BTO songs like Not Fragile’s title track (“hoping boogie’s still allowed!”) compelled me to buy a $38 ticket at the door for Randy Bachman’s concert at Ameristar Casino on Friday.
The 74-year-old’s astonishing 100-minute appearance obliterated my modest expectations. Bachman provided the surprising backstories of many of his hits as the primary artistic force of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive in a survey of his momentous career.
The Canadian explained that “No Sugar Tonight” was inspired by a scruffy street scene he encountered in Haight-Ashbury on an unsuccessful quest to find “a real hippie” during the Summer of Love. In a story about the long gestation of “Takin’ Care of Business”, he admitted that “I have a songwriting kit in my car, it’s the same one you have- a McDonald’s napkin and a crayon.”
In addition to dropping the names of friends and colleagues like Burton Cummings (“he was born to be wild; I was born to be mild”), Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Stephen Stills, the setlist included three songs from his wondrously weird new George Harrison tribute project. He took delight in enunciating the word jumble “buy By George By Bachman. My mind was blown when Bachman introduced one of his four bandmates as his son Tal before a rendition of the latter’s 1999 hit “She’s So High”. I never made the connection between father and son.
The show’s sole flaw was the intrusive ambient noise from the casino that occasionally made Bachman’s stories difficult to hear. My polite request to the staff at the entrance of the venue to shut the doors was summarily dismissed. It’s a shame that Bachman’s classic rock tales weren’t afforded respect by indifferent representatives of the gambling emporium.
Setlist: Between Two Mountains; You Like Me Too Much; Shakin’ All Over; These Eyes; Laughing; No Sugar Tonight; Undun; American Woman; Here Comes the Sun; She’s So High; Roll On Down the Highway; Let It Ride; Looking Out for #1; Takin’ Care of Business; You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)