(SNN) With names like Led Zepagain, the Black Sabbastards, and Red Not Chili Peppers, tribute bands are a big part of the Los Angeles music scene. No longer considered novelty acts, tribute bands have become an integral part of the concert industry.
Here in BC, we have spawned bands such as BC/DC, Blaze of Glory (Bon Jovi), Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) and Arrival (ABBA). That tribute bands bring people happiness was plain to see at last night’s combined Dreams and Arrival concert in Lake Country, which saw several hundred in attendance and a large dancing contingent for both acts. Audience members ranged from those who would not have been around in the ’80s, to those close to their 80s.
The test of any tribute band is making you feel you are seeing the real deal. Being taken back by the music to an earlier cherished time makes the experience that much richer. A memory such as “I met my wife that night,” or a longing for the days of youth only adds to the strong emotional attachment to the music.
Looking the part being almost as important as the right sound, no visual detail is too small. Having seen a number of tribute bands come to the Okanagan from across Canada, Dreams and Arrival are standouts in both areas. From “Stevie’s” boho style of flowing black layers and dangling strands, to the white with gold lamé costumes of “Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agnetha,” from onstage moves to the mic-holding styles and mannerisms of the original artists, in both tribute bands there was that high degree of preoccupation with detail.
As for vocal ability and the skill of the players, Dreams and Arrival delivered and thrilled the audience. Without this proficiency, this professionalism, the experience would have been a disappointment instead of the much-appreciated occasion that it clearly was.
While “Stevie” observed to the large crowd that the Lake Country outdoor setting on a beautiful summer evening left nothing to be desired, it turned out that for at least one of the performers there was something missing – washroom facilities reserved for the artists. Overheard during the break was a comment by one of Arrival’s members that if he joined the long lineup for the porta-potties, he wouldn’t make it on stage on time, and that he’d be tempted to take a pee in the bush if it wasn’t so risky.
The situation may not retain its inconveniences for every performer of this type. In belonging to a tribute band there shines a ray of hope. Manzarek–Krieger, the American rock band formed by two former members of The Doors, plucked Jim Morrison doppelganger Dave Brock from the Doors tribute Wild Child and made him their singer for four years. Journey, Yes, and Judas Priest also found replacements for key members by turning to tribute bands.
For concert-goers, tributes provide the opportunity to enjoy classic rock, performed live but by younger woman and men. While the music may be timeless, its stars unfortunately are not…my apologies to Rod Stewart.
Photo: Some Rights Reserved. Image from Margaret Adams flickr photostream. Original photo can be found here.
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