The Guess Who Concert Review – Sturgis 2009

Published on August 17th, 2009

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August 8, 2009 – Those who survived a week in Sturgis that was beyond wild by all accounts were in for a real treat as The Guess Who took the stage to play the final show at the Buffalo Chip. Notables Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings have been out of the band for some time now, but founders Jim Kale and Garry Peterson have been carrying on the name with or without Bachman or Cummings for nearly 30 years. At times it has worked and at other times it hasn’t, and it just so happens that today’s version of the band is working extremely well.

Singer Carl Dixon was sidelined last year in an auto accident and a replacement was found in Derek Sharp, who has now assumed a permanent position as lead vocalist. Sharp brings charisma and energy to the stage along with his vocal talent. Alongside the tight instrumental backings of the rest of the group, The Guess Who has a new and rich sound that is hard to resist.

A lively version of “Bus Rider” set things into motion and it was the many hits the band achieved in the ’70s that kept the momentum solid throughout the show. “Clap for the Wolfman” and “No Sugar Tonight” were highlights that brought out the fun side of the band. Bassist Kale kept his eyes closed in concentration during most moments of the show, but gave goofy looks to the crowd during others. Keyboardist Leonard Shaw was uncontainable as he traded his keyboard licks for maracas and led the crowd in clapping.

There’s something special about hearing “American Woman” at a live concert; a timeless classic even as it approaches its 40 year anniversary. For Sturgis, the song quickly shook away any lingering exhaustion from the week’s events, giving the fans one last chance to dance and have fun before heading back home the next day and to work on the dreaded “after-rally” Monday. Filling their hour long set with vocal harmonies and multiple guitar jams, The Guess Who keeps the spirit of the band well intact as they continue to tour behind one of rock’s best and most well known catalogs. Seeing one of their shows is no guessing game – a standout show is bound to happen.

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