THE GUESS WHO
Twin River Casino Event Center
Lincoln, Rhode Island
February 8, 2020
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
A music invasion of North American rock allies took place in Lincoln, Rhode Island for a great night of classic rock anthems of the 60’s and 70’s. The Guess Who were opening for Grand Funk Railroad, a combined musical experience of over 100 years of music. The Guess Who performing this night in front of a sold out audience at the Twin River Casino Event Center.
Alright, lets get this out of the way from the start. Yes, I know that this is not the original version of The Guess Who, in fact, on this night, there was not one original member of the band on the stage. Original founding member, drummer Garry Peterson was not able to perform this night due to a kidney stone issue, as announced by the band. Peterson did perform with the band at the last Guess Who performance in Rhode Island in 2018.
Since the band’s inception in 1965, the band has gone through a number of lineups and musician changes over the years. This IS The Guess Who of the modern day. This current lineup, as overseen by Garry Peterson is an extremely talented and enjoyable group of musicians to watch and perform live. A group that carries on the torch and appreciation for the music of The Guess Who, out on the road performing, for the world to enjoy in a live setting. Just ask the 2500 something people on hand this night who came out to see this sold out show. A rock show is all about having fun and enjoying the songs that strike a certain memory and allow us to be enthralled in the moment, reminiscing of times when these songs were first heard. The Guess Who had the crowd on their feet all night having fun.
Lead singer, Derek Sharp is the definition of what a front man is supposed to be about; with superior vocal styling, guitar skills, crowd interactions and his light, comedic sense of humor, make him just that, the modern day front man of The Guess Who. In fact, he has been in that spot since 2008.
This version of the band has been out touring in this capacity for some time now. They can bee seen with smiles upon their faces, while they engage in light stage antics between each other as they perform. It makes it an enjoyable show, listening to the timeless classic from The Guess Who catalog, while the performers are visibly enjoying themselves on the stage.
The night kicked of with “When We Were Young”, from the 2018 album, The Future IS What it Used to Be. Followed up with the 1974, “Clap for the Wolfman” and then a favorite, “Undun”.
Sharing the stage with Derek Sharp is bassist, Rudy Sarzo, a veteran bassist who has played with many other legendary acts such as Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake and DIO, to mention a few. On keyboards, flute, sax and a few other instruments is Leonard Shaw, who has been with the band since 1990. On guitar, is Will Evankovich, playing up the guitar parts of the classic The Guess Who collection, with his shredding transforming the classic style rock into modern guitar riffs all while maintaining the traditional value of each song. In addition to The Guess Who, Evankovich was a co-writer/producer on the recently highly successful, 2017 STYX album The Mission, and recently performed with STYX during their 2019 shows where The Mission album was played in its entirety. Filling in for Garry Peterson this night was Brent Fitz, a most talented drummer who has played with Slash of Guns N’ Roses (solo), Myles Kennedy, Alice Cooper, Theory of A Deadman, Vince Neil, and Whitford St. Holmes.
The night continued with Derek Sharp taking to the keyboard, performing “Haunted” from the 2018 album. He talked with the audience on about home many times they have played Twin River and enjoy it each time, telling of how the band did a photo shoot right down by a nearby lake.
From 1965, the song that got the attention of U. S. fans on the radio, “Shakin’ All Over”, which included a ripping guitar solo from Evakovich, in what was a guitar infused, extended version of, the typically three plus minute song. A song that followed up with Sharp closing it out with his own guitar solo, in what Leonard Shaw described as a “six string shootout”. Both guitar solos reminded me of the scene from the movie, Back To The Future, where Marty (Michael J. Fox) is playing guitar at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, and breaks into a ripping guitar solo; unexpected from song from the 60’s, in the movie it was a 50’s song. Enough of my movie references, back to the show.
Then it was into “Hand Me Down World”, “Share The Land” and “American Woman”; some of the most iconic rock songs from the 60’s and 70’s era. Sounding great and bringing that feeling to the audience that night, people carefree, singing and dancing in the isles. With that, the band cleared from the stage, though we know they couldn’t be done yet, there were still at least two classics we had not yet heard.
The band returned to the stage with a rollicking, “In America” from the 2018 album, filling the room with musical energy. Band introductions came in. Then it was time for the final two songs, “These Eyes” and “No Time”. Such a fun night. A band that brings great energy to the music of The Guess Who, along with a mix of their new songs from the latest album. Check these guys out if they come to a city near you. I can’t wait to see them again. Although, I was hoping to hear “Playin’ on the Radio” and “Good Girl”, from the latest album, maybe next time…
If you enjoy the music of The Guess Who, maybe a long time fan, but have not seen a recent show with this lineup, definitely get out to see a show and give it a chance. This show is a lot of fun.
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For more news, music and The Guess Who tour dates, visit https://www.theguesswho.com