Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC
Bachman & Turner
The main architects behind Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Randy Bachman and Fred Turner took their Bachman & Turner show to New York City's infamous Roseland Ballroom in 2010, after releasing an eponymous album the same year. For 2012, the duo decided to issue Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC on two CDs, featuring some new songs, the very best of BTO and even a little a taste of the Guess Who. After opening with a slightly slower "Let It Ride," the pair play two songs from BTO's third album, Not Fragile — the talking vocal of "Rock Is My Life, And This Is My Song" plus "Not Fragile," the latter with C. F. Turner's bass chunking through on a song that has a semi Spinal Tap feel to it.
The "sha-na-na-nas" of "Hey You" make this semi-hit staccato number probably the best tune of the opening numbers; it flows nicely into "Hold Back The Water," one of the oldest song in this set. "Waiting Game," from the Bachman & Turner self-titled album, is next with a scratchy vocal from Bachman and a hummable riff. Since the 2010 release started out as a Randy Bachman solo release, "Waiting Game" is a pretty personal ode to unrequited love, standing out a bit from the other BTO stuff, but it's a decent tune.
A truly great "Lookin' Out For #1," from BTO's Head On, is the centerpiece song, with a nice soft read. Even with Bachman's rough vocal the tune works out perfectly. The penultimate tune on this disc, "Stayed Awake All Night," features some fat Turner bass. This first CD ends with a pretty good growling "American Woman" — though not technically a BTO song, it was a hit from the last Guess Who album to feature Randy Bachman.
Opening the second disc is "Four Wheel Drive," sounding pretty much as we recall it. Maybe the vocals are a little rougher, but it's got that snappy rhythm and great backing vocals. A Santana-esque guitar permeates "Blue Collar," another one from BTO's first release. "That's What It Is," from the B&T album is next with some good drumming from Marc LaFrance, but again with more a talking vocal than anything else. "Sledgehammer," with its acoustic strumming beginnings and spot-on leads, is another great mid-set placement.
As you'd expect, we get hit with the hits near the end, although "You Ain't Seen Nothing' Yet" is modulated down a few keys from the original. It's followed by an interesting take on "Shakin' All Over," where none other than Paul Shaffer joins the band to play the piano and sing background vocals. "Roll On Down The Highway" cooks as all the vocals and instruments come together perfectly — and of course, "Takin' Care Of Business" ends the album on a high note, a near perfect read of the original made that much better by the amazing work of Shaffer. This is not the BTO we all know from the four-piece Canadian import, but Live At The Roseland Ballroom, NYC is a good and solid run-through of hits, deep album cuts and new tunes.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.