Nazareth Shines A Little Razamanaz On Woodstock

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NazarethNazareth and guests
Carelton Civic Centre
Woodstock, New Brunswick
July 23, 2010

By Tim Durling (CJ 104 FM, Woodstock)
For RockStar Weekly

Legendary Scottish rockers Nazareth played the Carleton Civic Center in Woodstock, New Brunswick Friday July 23rd, accompanied by classic rock-AC/DC tribute band Loaded Dice, country rockers Rik Reese & Neon Highway, and promising power pop newcomers the Playdates.  I personally hope it means more great classic bands coming to my hometown.

The Playdates are four young lads from Saint John, New Brunswick who could conceivably go on to do great things. They’re really poppy, in fact we at www.cj104.com have been playing their single "Just Like the Movies" a lot, but live…a little more rockin’. I actually interviewed two of the members of the band, bassist/vocalist Adam and keyboardist Ryker. Adam said his favourite bands were Aerosmith, Journey and Def Leppard. I didn’t hear it until I saw them live, hope that doesn’t sound too cliche. They play really high energy power pop and I could very well have witnessed a future superstar band before they became superstars.

The crowd was smaller (people trickled into the Civic Center all night) but enthusiastic and the band worked the crowd quite well. Great vocals including background vocals. With their use of keyboards and their overall power pop sound, the 80s kid in me was reminded of the Canadian group Haywire. For those curious, visit them at www.myspace.com/theplaydates.  Their set lasted 30 minutes.

Next up, Rik Reese & Neon Highway…nice guys and they really got the crowd going (Woodstock is basically a country town) They played about 45 minutes.

Loaded Dice were up next, I had the privilege of interviewing their frontman Don Coleman for my Saturday Night Solid Gold Show. The guys specialize in all eras of AC/DC, and they delivered a killer set of classic rock, which unfortunately was cut short due to time constraints – really disappointing as they were really revving the audience up for Nazareth. I actually introduced this band and I could see several other songs on their set list including "Highway to Hell," "TNT," "Crazy Train," "Enter Sandman" and others. But on the bright side, they really did leave them wanting more. Find out more about Don here: www.myspace.com/doncoleman.

A capacity crowd at the Civic Center is around 1,500. I’m not sure the exact number that were there Friday night, but it was definitely a larger crowd than April Wine drew 5 years previous.  Got to be honest, when it comes to classic rock bands that I have in my music collection, for the most part we’re talking complete discographies, I’m something of a completist. But with Nazareth, not the case. Just their 1975 Greatest Hits album. In preparation for this concert, I got their slightly newer The Very Very Best of Nazareth from 1984, as well as their last studio album, 2008’s The Newz, which is quite good, and a purchase that really paid off as you’ll go on to read.

I realized just how undernourished my Nazareth collection really was, because these guys put on an incredible show. Dan McAfferty blew me away. He’s got the same voice he always had – it hasn’t changed that much, and it looks effortless to him. Yes, a few of the songs are tuned down, but not all of them. Jimmy Murrison smoked on guitar, Pete Agnew provided bass and backing vocals, and his son Lee pounded the drums (Lee took over for late drummer Darrell Sweet who passed away in 1999).

This setlist is more or less what I had expected, only change really being that they played "Sunshine" instead of "Dream On." Even though "Sunshine" was never a big hit, what a crowd pleaser it was. I couldn’t exactly hear Dan’s intro, but I think it might been requested because someone used it as their wedding song. I personally prefer "Dream On" but that’s mostly because I’ve been a fan of Helix for such a long time. Their cover is virtually identical. McAfferty is a really funny, engaging frontman aside from his legendary rasp.

Before they went into the war epic "The Gathering," McAfferty jokingly said that no one in the audience actually bought The Newz “thanks a lot,” which made me even more determined to meet them after the show because not only did I buy it, I had it on me. More on that later. "My White Bicycle" remains an odd choice to me considering that they have so many other great rock songs, but the audience, especially the more, ah.. shall we say tweaked, appreciated it. "Heart’s Grown Cold" was a real showpiece for not only Dan but Pete and Lee’s harmonies, and I love how they arrange their cover of "Cocaine" now. No longer acoustic, it sports a funky riff not unlike something Extreme would do. As one of my radio colleagues commented, "they actually made ‘Cocaine’ dirtier."

A lengthy rendition of the immortal "Hair of the Dog" followed. Nothing like seeing hundreds of people yell "son of a bitch" at a band and the band loving it in return (LOL). Their 1980 hit "Holiday" always sounds better live than on record and the main set predictably closed with "Love Hurts," now tuned in a much lower key, but we all crooned along just the same. A girl threw her bra onstage just as Dan was beginning the first verse and got him right in the face. He looked mad for a second but grinned when he realized what had hit him, prompting the modified lyric "love wounds…and bras." After a somewhat lengthy break they came back and did "See Me," the rapid 12-bar blues of "Razamanaz" and their rocking Joni Mitchell cover "This Flight Tonight."

I waited around and managed to meet Dan and Pete, and got not only The Newz signed but achieved another goal as a music collector, got an 8-track of Greatest Hits autographed. They were very polite, shook hands and everything. Would have liked to meet Jimmy and Lee, but maybe next time.

It was a great night and when I haven’t been sleeping it off, I’ve been listening to Naz.  And my collection will be expanded shortly.

Nazareth set:

Telegram
Turn on Your Receiver
Miss Misery
Sunshine
Bad Bad Boy
The Gathering
My White Bicycle
Heart’s Grown Cold
Shanghai’d in Shanghai
Cocaine
Hair of the Dog
Holiday
Love Hurts
encore
See Me
Razamanaz – guitar solo
This Flight Tonight

Photo by Dan Savoie

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