Off to another show – this one is only 10 minutes away from home – to see Honeymoon Suite for the 7th time. I can never get enough of this great 80’s Canadian band. Formed in 1981 in Niagara Falls they released their first album in 1984. Their most recent 7th album was released in 2008 – Clifton Hill. Of course, I have them all. The first time I saw Honeymoon Suite was back in 1986 at Kingswood Music Theatre at Canada’s Wonderland.
I was also able to see them twice on the 2015 Monsters Of Rock Cruise. It is always great seeing our Canadian bands on the cruise.
I got there for 8:30, and a small crowd had arrived for the show. Openers Crossdockers were a little short of members with the band being held up at the border for whatever reason. The show must go on, so the lead singer Jay Alan did an acoustic set. I have seen them as a full band which was good but he did well holding it on his own.
Next up was The House Call. I have never heard of them but apparently, they have been on the local radio station. Modern rock with a blues influence.
It was getting late, but the wait was over and Honeymoon Suite hit the stage with “Say You Don’t Know Me“. Johnny Dee on vocals and Derry Grehan on guitar have been keeping this band alive for 25 years. Dave Betts on drums and Gary Lalonde on bass have come back to the fold as part of the first 3 albums and Clifton Hill. Joining the band on stage is Peter Nunn on keyboards who has been part of the band back in 2002 with Lemon Tongue and Dreamland albums.
Next up is “Burning In Love” which is one of many hits on the hit radio stations and video stations back in the day. I found the vocals a little off for Johnny at the start – it may have been the sound system, but things got better from there heading into “Wounded” from their biggest release The Big Prize. “Stay In The Light” for the most part sounded amazing but no fault of his own, Johnny was getting frustrated with the feedback. After 4-5 times it was fixed for the rest of the night. “Wave Babies” had the crowd singing before breaking into the 2nd highest chart release hitting #16 in Canada, “Feel It Again“.
It was now time for the band to take a rest except Nunn who got to show us how great he is on the keys. Personally, I am not a fan of solos or cover songs as I prefer to hear the songs that I have known and loved over the years that made the band part of my life. The crowd seemed to really enjoy him! Well done!
Back on stage, the band slows things down with “What Does it Take“. The women in the audience were soaking up this classic 80’s ballad. Picture this: — back in 1986 with the women throwing themselves at the band! Now 30 years later we even get a bra thrown up to Johnny!!
Continuing with the same tempo, Johnny breaks into “Still Lovin’ You” from The Singles release and later on Dreamland release.
From the Racing After Midnight album, we speed things up with “Looking Out For Number One“. This always sounds amazing live and gets the crowd pumped before Derry shows his magic on the guitar. Once again I was looking forward to this part finishing as I knew we were getting close to the end of the show. Then comes the intro of the next song and we all knew “Bad Attitude” was next.
The last song before the encore got the crowd roaring right at the opening keys of “New Girl Now“. I have always thought this was the biggest hit, but it hit #23 in the Canada while the encore song “Love Changes Everything” was #9 in Canada back in 1988.
Overall they sounded great. All these years doing these hits and the band looks like they are having a great time being on stage together.
Playing an hour and a half I would have loved to hear some newer music but of course, most people are there to hear the classics.
The worst part of the night was the venue lighting. Being a photographer they don’t make it easy with blue and red lighting for almost the whole show, so you can imagine how tough it was to choose the shots suitable for this article.
Next up for these Canadian rockers? They will be in the studio recording 6 new songs and adding 2 live tracks to their next EP release. Go to Pledge Music to pre-order as I have already done so.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin
To pre-order the new EP go to Pledge Music