BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY
Date and Venue 28 March @ 8 pm Red Robinson Show Theatre (Coquitlam)
Reviewer Ed Farolan
It was only a third of the house that filled the Red Robinson Theatre, but towards the end, as in rock festivals, with no intermission, people started coming down the aisles in front of the stage dancing to the music of this once psychadelic rock group from San Francisco, "Once acid, now antacid", quipped one of the aging band members, Peter Albin. Flash cameras and videos were all over the place, some going in front to take pictures of the band, despite warning signs saying "No Pictures, No cameras". The ushers kept on approaching these "groupies", but to no avail. A long-haired man almost got into a fight with an usher when he was warned not to take pictures.
It was a raucous evening, with this band playing loud music. I had to cover my ears several times when the music was getting too loud. But some songs were good. I liked Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and the band's interpretation of that classic "Summertime" with soloist Mary Bridget Davies. Other hits sung by them were the rocky "Down on Me", and the 70s favourites "Piece Of My Heart", "Cry Baby", and "Mercedes Benz".
The band featured 3 out of 4 original members, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew & Dave Getz with that fantastic female lead vocalist, Mary Bridget Davies who starred in the Broadway play "Love, Janis", the musical reflecting Janis Joplin's short career . Sam Andrew remembered the band's gig at the PNE almost 40 years ago, and how they were kicked out of Jolly Rogers, quoting the manager saying "We don't like your kind around here", to which he replied, "What kind are we?" He asked the audience members if that restaurant was still around, and the Vancouver audience answered "Yes", to which he replied, "Take us back there."
Davies was fantastic as a singer. At times, Liza Minnelli would cross my mind as she belted out songs in the style of "Cabaret". And of course, she reflected the remarkable talent of Janis Joplin. I had the impression she had some female groupies in the front row waving at her each time she sang. There were no programs for this concert and I couldn't catch the name of the new lead guitarist who was a look-alike of original band member James Gurley (RIP). He was fabulous with his fingers as he skillfully played his electric guitar. And drummer Dave Getz still had that percussive touch of the 70s hard rock.
It was a noisy evening but really worth it, particularly for those who were half-drunk, on drugs, or marijuana, . Check out this site for the band's memorabilia and upcoming tours: www.bbhc.com
2009 Ed Farolan