(Live Review) APRIL WINE + THE SWEET - The Arcada, Illinois (4/29/23)
By The Beard & Little Johnny
Tonight, for stop number fourteen, and bands number 82 & 83 on the Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023, The Beard & Little Johnny are eschewing the slew of death & black metal bands that have predominantly littered our 2023 concert circuit, and tonight we go back in time to long before young Johnny was a gleam in his father’s eye. As a matter of fact, tonight we go back to a time when Beard himself was just getting into high school and barely knew there was this magical thing called heavy metal which would eventually come to dominate and greatly enrich his life.
This evening, your reviewing duo will spend at the Arcada Theater in beautiful Saint Charles Illinois as we check out 1970’s classic/glam rock bands:
April Wine & The Sweet
Forming originally in 1968, The Sweet achieved prominence in the mid 1970’s with such hits as “Ballroom Blitz", "Fox on the Run", and "Wee Willie". By the late 1970’s though The Sweet began to taper off having their last charting success with "Love is like Oxygen" in 1978.
After a period of inactivity, (during which the band fragmented and split up), two versions of The Sweet toured through the 1980’s and up to around 2010 (when original members began dying off). The version on stage tonight has been together since around 2019 and has no original members on the stage.
Therefore, if you accept them as a remix band doing The Sweets 1970’s show, then it’s actually kind of entertaining.
Hearing songs such as “Love is like Oxygen” stirred the crowd who were clearly in attendance for and ready to revisit these bygone days of classic/glam rock. Since the Beard lives in a glass house, (i.e., he loves to revisit the days of yesteryear), he is in no position to throw stones. The Sweets final15 minutes was a classic trip down memory lane with "Wee Willie", "Fox on the Run", and of course "Ballroom Blitz" ... and judging by the crowd participation, a fun set of nostalgia music was indeed enjoyed by those attending.
Headliners from the 1970’s era of classic rock ...
Right from the opening track "Enough is Enough", April Wine presents as the type of band the crew from That 70’s Show would have gone to see. Classic 70’s two guitar melody driven rock.
The Canadian band played several songs from early in their careers (back when even the Beard was in grade school and learning basic addition lol).
Despite original lead vocalist Myles Goodwin retiring from active touring earlier this year, both Brian Greenway (guitarist and member since 1977), & Marc Parent (guitarist and member since 2023) had good voices, especial Greenway who on the lower register numbers still had strength and clarity even after forty plus years in the business. Parent handled the higher range numbers and more difficult vocal duties. Additionally, the playing of the rest of the band was solid with the drum solo by Roy Nichol having shades of "Moby Dick" along with other 70’s style fills to both entertain this classic rock audience and give the rest of the band a brief break. “Crash and Burn” contained the kind of gratuitous bass solo (by Richard Lanthier) and the kind of lengthy guitar excesses that exemplified 70’s rock.
Mega hit “Just Between You and Me” was a crowd favorite, probably because it evoked a time of love that was separate and unique in everyone, but together in all of us. Greenway even joked during its introduction, “If you only knew how many times I’ve been told we got married to this song….and then you find out over half of the people telling you that are now divorced.”
April Wine did not skimp on the numbers, (playing a twenty-one-song set that took up about an hour and a half), and finishing up with another of their bigger hits, “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” before of course closing with their biggest commercial success “Roller”, which invited quite the crowd sing-along.
Especially for a fifty-year-old band, they gave a great classic rock performance and yep, the Beard was drawn in. As I have long said, “take me back and you win me over”. Even Little Johnny came up after the show and said, “Hey, those old dudes weren’t half bad.” Bite me Johnny, you too will one day be old and nostalgic.
Old rock still rocks, and April Wine gets a 90/100
So, that’s it for stop fourteen. It’s a week before The Beard & Little Johnny roll onward again, but remember, you can read all our reviews on the best site for metal music: The Mighty Decibel, and of course be sure to watch all our videos on TikTok by searching:
So, until next time, this is the Beard and Little Johnny saying ...