For the first time in more than a decade, former Guess Who bandmates and songwriters Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings reunited on stage last night (July 18) for a 90-minute concert billed by Canada’s Walk of Fame as “a rare and intimate evening.” And it was indeed.
“You’re going to hear a lot of songs that you’ve heard on the radio. This is the way they sounded when they were being written, before they became records,” said Cummings. “So, this is like Randy and me inviting you into our living room in the old days.”
The Music Under The City Stars event, held in the glass pavilion on the grounds of Toronto’s magnificent castle Casa Loma for $2500 a seat, brought 200 people together. Included: The Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, former NBA star Isiah Thomas, Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec and Dragon’s Den’s Jim Treliving, songwriter/2018 inductee Andy Kim and members of rock band Triumph, who will be inducted this year. Master Chef Canada host/judge Claudio Aprile prepared the menu.
Slaight Music artist Kayla Diamond performed a couple of songs on keyboards, including Triumph’s Lay It on The Line, before a brief break to prepare the stage for Cummings and Bachman.
In introducing the pair, CWOF CEO Jeffrey Latimer said he started the conversation a year ago with Gilles Paquin and Lorne Saifer — Cummings and Bachman’s long-time managers, respectively — to “bring two of the greatest songwriters — actually the two greatest songwriters in Canadian history — back together,” noting “Their inductions were important then and let’s make that important now.”
The Guess Who was inducted in 2001, then, individually, Cummings in 2011, and Bachman in 2012.
The two have had a contentious on-again, off-again relationship for five decades, but no more, it appears.
They reminisced and shared stories before playing each song, giving ample credit to each other about the parts they wrote in a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the creative process of such iconic songs as American Woman, These Eyes, Laughing and No Time. They also slipped in their own songs, Bachman You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet and Takin’ Care of Business from Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Cummings his solo hits Stand Tall and Break It to Them Gently.
It was a beautiful evening with two friends who realize they are not getting any younger and have a lot of memories to share.
The Music Under The City Stars event is a fundraiser for Canada’s Walk of Fame more recent programs and initiatives, including Community Hero, presented by MLSE and Scotiabank, Hometown Stars Presented by Cineplex and the RBC Emerging Musician Program. The concert was underwritten by “five great families,” said Latimer, Hartley Richardson, James Richardson & Sons; Leonard Asper Family Foundation, Gail Asper Family Foundation, The Schneider Family Foundation, Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, and J.F. Driscoll Family Foundation.
Earlier in the evening, the 2019 inductees were announced: Frank Gehry (Science, Technology and Innovation); Cindy Klassen (Sports and Athletics); Triumph (Arts and Entertainment); Mark Messier (Sports and Athletics); Jim Treliving (Business and Entrepreneurship); Will Arnett (Arts and Entertainment); the late Mr. Dressup – Ernie Coombs (Legend Inductee); and the late Dr. James Naismith (Science, Technology and Innovation). Two more will be announced shortly. Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Show will be held Nov. 23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and broadcast on CTV in December.