Loverboy Warms Up Rocksino Crowd

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February 2nd, 2018

Have you ever heard of that mid-winter malady known as SAD?  Called "Seasonal Affective Disorder," it usually manifests itself around mid-January, when North Coast denizens haven't seen the sun in about two months.  The gray skies lead to blue flu and only the reappearance of that bright yellow orb in the sky (for more than a guest appearance) can make those symptoms abate.

Well, last night's sold-out Hard Rock Rocksino crowd got themselves a heaping does of sunshine; there was enough energy in that venue to light a small town for at least two months.  I couldn't tell if these folks were trying to fight those SAD symptoms or just wanted to get out for a night on the town with some tried-and-true rock and rollers.  Either way. they were treated to a great set of perennial faves from a legacy band that shows no signs of slowing down.

Loverboy, formed in Calgary in 1979, had a string of hits throughout the 1980s and are most well-known for tunes such as "Working For The Weekend" and "Turn Me Loose." A five-piece ensemble, four of the band's original members still tour regularly (bass player Scott Smith died tragically in a boating accident in 2000), and, even in their mid-sixties, show a zeal that most guys half their age don't have.

Frontman Mike Reno took to the stage to a chorus of cheers. Guitarist Paul Dean camped out to Reno's right while Doug Johnson hid in the shadows behind his keys.  Drummer Matt Frenette amply pounded the skins centerstage.

Playing a brisk twelve-song set, the evening started with "Notorious," from 1987's Wildside. "Lucky Ones," off 1981's Get Lucky really got the crowd on their feet.

I attend about forty Rocksino shows each year; I can't remember the last time I saw a crowd exuding this much passion for a band.  A rather enthusiastic middle-aged gentleman, donning a vintage Saxon t-shirt, was playing air guitar in the row in front of me, clearly ignoring the personal space rule.  His body was in Northfield last night, but I get the impression that the rest of him was reliving his glory days, perhaps at a 1982 rager in his basement while mom and dad were away at a church retreat.

Mid-set offerings "This Could Be The Night,""The Kid Is Hot Tonite" and "When It's Over" became veritable singalongs, as the majority of the crowd kept the beat in unison with Reno. 

Prior to the encore, Reno introduced the band; drummer Frenette and bass player Ken Sinnaeve dueled it out for a good fifteen minutes in a consonant ages-old war of percussion versus strings.  By the end, we realized it was a tie, but it was a heck of a battle.  Frenette is a fantastic drummer, his skills are underrated in the pantheon of modern rock percussionists.  Sinnaeve, the newest member of the outfit, ably tackled his axe, plunking away on the four-stringer.

Encoring with "Turn Me Loose," "Working For the Weekend" and finally "Lovin' Every Minute Of It," Loverboy left the crowd, yep, loving every minute of it.

Indeed.


Photos and Review by Brian Lumley

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