Thursday, November 01, 2007

Herman's Hermits
w/ Peter Noone
Fallsview Casino
Niagara Fall ON

Had my first 'boy crush' on Peter Noone when I was about 8 years old. It's taken a long time to finally see him in concert. Back in the early '80's I did go to see a Noone-less version of the Herman's Hermits at a small bar in Toronto; obviously it fell short of expectations.

Peter is just a few days shy of his 60th birthday and he joins a long line of 60's rock heroes who are still plying their trade in the new millenium. Think I've seen most of them this year as well.

Now these guys never did pack the weight of the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or even the Hollies, but they provided more than a few moments of pop-joy and even produced one or two songs that are an integral part of the baby-boomer culture.

Tonight is a 'birthday show' for me (and, as it turns out, Peter's mother) so the days festivities contained numerous adult activities including, but not limited to, betting 13 on the roulette wheel (to no avail, I passed them an additional $150) and keeping my elbows bent most all day. Nice pastoral start to the day as we cruised the Niagara Parkway, driving in and out of the misty rain emanating from the Falls. Which brings me to my 3rd row seat with quite a glow-on and a strong need to pee.

Pre-show festivities were interesting, if unnerving. Casino shows are always a gamble, especially if you're close to the front where the 'comp' tickets land. The Avalon Ballroom is a terrific venue, all the seats are good, the sound is superb and it's just the right size. I've enjoyed both BB King and Loretta Lynn here in the past couple years and both evenings were great concert experiences. As showtime approached there were lots of empty seats in the front sections and the ushers were scrambling to fill them in with patrons. People were being put into empty seats and then the ticket holders were showing up...causing confusion and consternation. Four people were ushered into the seats behind us. The alpha-male was boasting that it was a good thing they improved the shitty seats they were given, after all, did they not know who they were dealing with? The ladies giggled with glee and fondled their jewellry. The alpha assured all in the party that they were set because patrons at these shows are told their tickets won't be honoured if they show up late...a concept I'm not familiar with but one I'm sure could not be imposed on me if I had a paid ticket. Not even if I just chose to show up for the encore. As luck would have it the real ticket holders showed up and it seems the usher didn't know who they were dealing with and the arrogant interlopers were sent back to their rightful places. Just in time too, because the show is not late in starting.

After a quick musical introduction Peter Noone runs onto the stage and leaps right into Can't You Hear My Heartbeat followed quickly by Wonderful World and Listen People. A few minor hits and he's covered most of his instantly recognizable vocal range. Some pop and some pulp.

The show is filled with light stage banter, running jokes and endless allusions to other pop-culture icons. He peppers the set with spicy imitations of a wide variety of artists from Johnny Cash to Michael Jackson and Tom Jones. Though he could have done a complete show and never left the Herman's Hermits catalogue, he finds himself reminding us of the likes of Johnny Horton, Davey Jones (of the Monkees, not that Ziggy Stardust guy) and Gerry and the Pacemakers. It's a real '60's flashback kind of thing and it works well for Peter and for his audience. He's very connected to his fans, I swear to god he looked right at me! At least long enough to ascertain I wasn't the parent of the two cuties sitting to my right...who he proceeded to stare down most of the rest of the night.

Throughout the evening cd's were passed about to audience members, t-shirts tossed into the crowd from the stage, LP's handed onstage for signatures...lots of stuff besides the songs. That's all well and good, but it's the songs we want to hear.

Fortunately they keep coming and they all sound great. An energetic Dandy is followed by some chat about their first North American single, banned by many stations because they thought the song said "she's a muscular boy." A testament to the difficulty some had adjusting to the hair back in the '60's. A Must To Avoid was a sonic treat as Peter's voice is surprisingly strong for a man approaching 60.

A truncated stab at Leaning on A Lampost (I believe the only original song that didn't get a full playing) is followed by a rare "B" side, No Milk Today. Peter has fun trying to explain to the youngsters in the audience that "cd's used to have a song on the OTHER side."

From here to the end of the show it's almost all hits, every one a highlight. Got a special pleasure out of hearing Silhouettes, a long time favorite. Next to that would be a very restrained Mrs Brown, with Peter accompanied only by the familiar guitar and the audience at rapt attention.

We did get a loooooooong version of Henry the VIII, as in, millionth verse, same as the first. Complete with another sing-a-long.

The show closes with a lively version of A Kind of Hush and everybody got their moneys worth.

Peter joked all night about the 'love handles' he'd developed but he's looking great and moving pretty good for a senior. The tour still has a few weeks to run so you can check to see if he's coming to a town near you.

There's a torrent of this show running at dime.

Herman's Hermits
w/ Peter Noone
Avalon Ballroom
Fallsview Casino
Niagara Falls ON

taped by KreweChief on
Church Audio Cardioids>CA STC-9000 Pre-Amp >Edirol R-09 at 24/48 >USB >Sonic Foundry 16bit wave> FlacFrontend

FLC Row 3 Seat 4

Disc 1

Can't You Hear My Heartbeat
Wonderful World
Listen People
Love Potion #9
Battle of New Orleans
A Must To Avoid
Folsom Prison Blues/I'll Be There
Ferry Cross the Mersey
Travelling Light
Daydream Believer
It's Not Unusual
Leaning on A Lampost
No Milk Today

Disc 2

I'm Telling You Now
A World Without Love
Start Me Up/Talk
Just A Little Bit Better
Sea Cruise
The End of the World
I'm Into Something Good
Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter
Henry the VIII
There's A Kind of Hush

1 comment:

DIME Mod, Ruby Tuesday said...

"a rare "B" side, No Milk Today"??

Hey, that was a double-A sided single in my neck of the woods! Ah, for the days when radio was for real, and regionalized.