Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC
Eagle Records, 2012
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/31/2012
The Bachman-Turner Overdrive developed a formula for commercial success during the 1970s. They fused a hard rock sound with catchy pop melodies that were perfect for both Top 40 and AOR radio. Despite undergoing a number of personal changes, break-ups, and reunions, they sold tens of millions of albums and singles and remained a consistent concert attraction for many years.
Randy Bachman and Fred Turner (no Overdrive due to legal complications) have reunited. They released an eponymous studio album in 2010 and during November of that year performed at the famous Roseland Ballroom in New York City as a part of their North American tour. That November 16th concert has now been released as a two-CD set titled Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC.
Bassist Turner and guitarist Bachman are joined by drummer Marc LaFrance, guitarist Brent Howard Knudsen, and guitarist Mick Dalla-Vee on this release. While the two principals handle the lead vocals, the remaining band members are all excellent background singers, which allows for tight harmonies.
The selection of material ranges from classic BTO hits to some well-known album cuts, with even a couple of Guess Who songs thrown in for good measure. The sound is crisp and the band is tight. If I have one criticism, it is that the performance is too perfect. I cannot find one off note or mistake in any of the 20 tracks. I am going to take their word that it is a live performance, but the audience reaction is largely limited to before and after the songs are performed. I don’t know if any studio techniques were used to hone the audience reaction, but if it is one straight performance, the band was absolutely perfect. This performance will also be issued on Blu Ray and DVD.
The album is a nice journey through the group’s career. “Let It Ride,” “Takin’ Care Of Business,” “Roll On Down The Highway,” “Hey You,” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” were all catchy hit singles and here they return just about note for note.
At times they could really rock hard. “Four Wheel Drive,” “Not Fragile,” and “Sledgehammer” are all guitar-based rock tracks that are different from their hit material. The harmonies and melodies are left behind as they move their sound over to pure hard driving rock.
The concert highlights are the two Guess Who songs. Randy Bachman’s provides the lead vocal for the iconic “American Woman.” The real surprise was their cover of “Shakin’ All Over,” which is given a hard rock workout.
Bachman & Turner do not reinvent themselves here but rather take their listeners on a journey back in time. What they do they do very well, and their brand of rock ‘n’ roll is always worth the price of admission.