Saturday, November 10, 2012
BURTON CUMMINGS AT MASSEY HALL
Friday night is a good rock'n'roll night, so here's some straight-ahead, no-brainer rock'n'roll music from the Guess Who days...
Burton Cummings has written some of the most thoughtful, melodic music ever to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Possessed of prodigious gifts as a singer, multi-instrumentalist, band leader and composer, he returns to the commercial arena with his latest offering, Massey Hall.
Capturing the excitement of live performance at a venue known for its fine acoustics, Cummings and his band deliver definitive versions of these songs. Better yet, this is not a nostalgia trip nor is there any sense that the star of the show is phoning it in. Newer tunes like "Above the Ground" shine just as brightly as the gems from the Guess Who era or his early solo work.
What you will quickly discern as you listen to this disc is just how damn fresh everything sounds.
His phrasing as a vocalist is impeccable. This is where he leaves a good deal of his contemporaries in the dust in terms of ability. The 21st century crutch of pitch correction software isn't needed when you bring a rare gift to the stage and present it to an audience. Sonically crisp with energy to spare, everything here works like a Swiss watch.
"Hand Me Down World" is particularly grand, giving Kurt Winter's prescient take on legacy items that we leave for the next generation additional weight. It is a pristine rendition that manages to best the original from the Share the Land album. "Stand Tall" is another exceptional moment, though the same can be said for every selection here. Personally, I'm glad that he included "Star Baby" in the set list. Beautifully executed in all respects, Massey Hall is a must own for anyone who fears for the impoverishment of truly great live music.
Performing without a net, Burton Cummings continues to amaze and this release is deserving of every superlative. Don't have it yet? Grab it here