If April Wine was really a bottle of wine, it would be featured in the VQA section of an up-scale Liquor Control Board outlet, encased in a special display. Rolling into their fifth decade as a live recording act, 2010 Juno Hall of Famers, April Wine still maintain an energetic spark that carried them through a hit-filled two-hour set before a packed audience
which spanned the full age demographic. Lead vocalist/guitarist Myles Goodwyn might now have a little trouble hitting the high notes and his guitarist/vocalist compadre Brian Greenway was battling a head cold yet they along with bassist Richard Lanthier and drummer Ray Nichol breezed through a set that was light on ballads (just one, “Just between You and Me”) but heavy on rockers.
Launching their set with “Anything You Want, You Got It” from their `Powerplay’ album, April Wine seized the initiative from the get-go steaming into “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen” and “Rock And Roll Is A Vicious Game”. While performing a number of other rockers like “Say Hello”, “All Over Town” and “Enough Is Enough”, the spotlight was shared between Goodwyn, Greenway, Lanthier and Nichol. Greenway bravely battled obvious throat problems to take lead vocals on 21st Century Schizoid Man which also feature some searing lead guitar by both Goodwyn and Greenway with Greenway also contributing lead vocals on “Before The Dawn”.
Drummer Ray `Nip’ Nichol got into the act, contributing lead vocals on “Weeping Widow” while also following in the spirit of previous drummer Jerry Mercer with a dazzling drum solo in the middle of “I Like To Rock” which he concluded with a bare-handed attack on his kit. Bassist Richard Lanthier also contributed a tasty solo in the middle of “Crash And Burn” to show the dexterity of the band’s rhythm section with the band winding up their set with “I Like to Rock” segueing into a mash of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” before wrapping with “Roller” and their signature encore “Oowatanite” which Greenway bravely tackled.
Word is that Myles Goodwyn is about to step back after all of this time in the spotlight. Based on the CNE’s overwhelming reaction, he might want to reconsider those plans for at least another year or two. April Wine still rock!
Photos by: Stacey Bradley