Midway Lights and Slow Rides-Foghat Plays C.N.E. Toronto

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Foghat-CNEI came across a post last November in Bandsintown about Foghat playing the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) the following August. I laughed and said holy cow that’s almost a year away!

Well as usual, the year flew by and I found myself heading down to Toronto. I eagerly paid my $30 for parking and $18 admission and made my way down to the “free” Bandshell concert.

Being a child of the 70’s, Foghat were a huge participant in my uncontrollable addiction for anything music related. I remember picking up their Rock and Roll Outlaws album and been hooked ever since. I still to this day consider it a “desert island” classic.

But before I could get a chance to wipe them off my bucket list, Vancouver’s Pigeon Park performed their 30-minute opening set. A younger band with a ton of energy and a hard edge kept the crowd rocking.

After a 30 minute changeover, Foghat hit the stage with their 1975 classic “Fool for the City”. I was thrilled to hear it live and loud. For whatever reason, Foghat had eluded me each time they came around over the years and I wish I could’ve been around to witness Lonesome Dave (Peverett) at least once.  Dave passed away in 2000 as did original guitarist Rod Price in 2005.

Foghat currently features original drummer Roger Earl and bassist Craig MacGregor, guitarist and singer Chris Huhn (Ted Nugent, Victory) and lead guitarist Bryan Bassett (Wild Cherry, Molly Hatchet).

Foghat CNE 2However on this night Craig was ill and was replaced with Rodney O’Quinn (Pat Travers, Montrose).

By the time they started off next with “Eight Days on the Road” the crowd was now out of their seats and up against the stage barrier. Classics “Drivin’ Wheel” and “Stone Blue” followed before slowing things down for “Third Time Lucky (First Time I was a Fool)”. Bryan dedicated this song to Lonesome Dave.

The appropriately named title track of 1976’s “Night Shift” album was next as darkness settled in under the warm summer CNE sky. This lead into “Terraplane Blues” which spotlighted Bryan Bassett’s exceptional slide guitar skills.

Roger Earl was next. At 69 years young a blistering drum solo got the people around me staring in awe at his pounding of the skins like it was 1975.

On this night, I made a conscious attempt not to peak at setlist.fm to see what may be next. I went in with an open mind and knowing Foghat having such a large catalog anything could be next. I kept saying to myself “Honey Hush” please. You guessed it, the opening riffs of one of their greatest songs (originally written and recorded by Blues legend Big Joe Turner). Screaming “Hi-Yo Silver, Hi-Yo Silver” was a highlight for me!

“I Just Want to Make Love to You”
from their debut album ended what was an incredible set.

Foghat CNE 3But wait, something was missing as the band left the stage. After about a 5-minute chant, the boys returned for one more little tune. Chris Huhn gave a few riffs and the asked the pumped crowd “Are you ready, are you ready to take a ……”

The response was loud and bang on – “SLOW RIDE”!!! What a perfect ending to a perfect night.

Even though my favourite song “Rock and Roll Outlaws” was omitted it was truly a top notch 10-song, 90-minute set.  As I drove home fighting the QEW traffic, my head was still buzzing knowing that that was rock n roll at its finest!

Brian Ronald

Foghat Website / Foghat Facebook / Foghat Twitter

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