By Lachman Balani
BRAMPTON: The current avatar of the amazingly popular Canadian jazz, blues and rock fusion band from the 60s, Lighthouse, really rock started Brampton Rose Theatre’s fall season this past week.
Hundreds of veteran fans came out to see the famed group in the intimate atmosphere of the Rose Theatre and cheered them on, singing all their songs under their breath in unison with the band’s vocalist, Dan Clancy, as he belted out old favourite after old favourite.
The 10-piece band made up of musicians whose average age was past 50 gave the audience all they got with their horns, strings and drums. Skip Prokop, one of the original founders of the group, had to bow out from performing due to health reasons, but his son Jamie took over the drums and really showed that he was a chip of the old block by banging it to the overjoyed fans
Paul Hoffert, the co-founder of the group, was there manifesting his prowess on the keyboards and showing the crowd that he hadn’t lost his expert touch.
Another member of the original group, Russ Little, blew the top off the heads of the fans with amazing sounds from his trombone
And of course another original member Ralph Cole, totally rocked the theatre with his guitar freak outs!
These amazing musicians along with 5 other colleagues really enthralled the crowd.
They started with a few of their hits including ‘Hats off to the Stranger and ‘1849’ before the highlight of the evening came when the band broke into their megahit “Sunny Days”- very appropriate considering it gelled well with the weather last week- as the crowd hummed along with the vocalist, Dan. Picking up on that cue, Dan stopped and asked the audience to take over which they happily did. Dan then asked the women only to sing and after that just the men; then the audience on the left, then the audience on the right, then the audience in the balcony and on and on. The whole theatre was enveloped in the song- it was musical heaven! It had to be seen and heard to be believed!
Coming down from that exquisite Shangri-La moment, the band broke into a lengthy song that again took the crowd to paradise as each member of the band took over centre stage to show their expertise on their instruments with long solos on the trumpet, trombone, drums, keyboards and guitar. It was total magnificence!
The band broke away for a short intermission before coming back to treat the audience with some more favourites from yesteryear including ‘Rockin’ Chair’, ‘I just wanna be your friend’ and ‘One fine morning’ with some more horn solos.
The concert finally came to an end but as is customary, resounding applause brought the band back for an encore set and they really rocked the Rose with the vocalist Dan giving Mick Jagger some serious competition with his energetic moves and rapport with the crowd.
Way back in the late 60s and early 70s, this legendary band made history by playing at such famous rock venues like the Fillmore East, the Fillmore West, the Atlantic City pop festival, the Isle of Wight and more. At the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 they were the only act besides Jimi Hendrix to play two nights. They also performed a hat trick by winning the coveted Juno awards for best Canadian band in 1972, 1973 and 1974.
Last week at Brampton’s famous venue, the Rose Theatre, they showed once again that they still packed a dynamite wallop!