Pssst! April Wine Rocks! (Just Between You and Me)

The year was 1981 …

Hockey’s New York Islanders won their second of what would become four Stanley Cups. Actress Natalie Wood died in what was an ‘apparent’ and questionable drowning. The film ‘Cannonball Run‘ – starring Burt Reynolds, was enticing people everywhere to race the world disregarding rules and general etiquette.

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On the music front – MTV began its sucessful run giving music another medium to display its wares. ‘Video Killed the Radio Star‘ by The Buggles; credited as the first video on a show which was the pre-cursor to shows such as ‘Friday Night Videos‘ and ultimately; ‘American Idol’.  Among the hoopla, a huge fact in the immense history of Canadian music took place. An overlooked fact – which then, made perfect sense …

A Canadian group by the name Of April Wine were exploding all over the airwaves. Their album; Nature of the Beast – not only sending classic songs like ‘ Just between You and Me‘, ‘Sign of the Gypsy Queen’ and ‘ Wanna Rock’ into living rooms everywhere – the disc  was the first April Wine album to reach platinum status internationally and it set the stage for the band to embark on a mammoth tour. A tour which etched lasting memories into the minds of their fans …

“Just Between You and Me” was a Top 10 hit in Canada and reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also gained a line in music history. Becoming the first song by a Canadian artist ever played on MTV.  A simple fact which – simply, cannot be altered by the sands of time …

Thirty-two years later, in a history which includes a split up, a re – acquaintance, the loss of a bass player due to lung cancer, various personal changes including the loss of the extremely popular Jerry Mercer on drums – the band ( Myles Goodwyn and April Wine) returned to Montreal. For many – it was as if they never left …

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One thing remains constant with April Wine. The songs …

Goodwyn’s songwriting ability remains timeless. Starting with ‘Fast Train’ from 1971 and ending with ‘Just Between You and Me’ from 1981 – everything in between: ‘Electric Jewels‘. Electric guitar solos. Electric lyrics which everyone seemed to know at The Virgin Corona Theater on a rainy Saturday night.

Elton John’s ‘Bad Side of the Moon’ and the group Hot Chocolate’s ‘ You Could Have Been a Lady’ ( two staples which helped to propel Wine into the upper levels of fame in the 70s ), commenced the party. Compared to new songs from bands such as The Sheepdogs and The Lumineers (songs which either distort melodies or lull the listener to sleep), April Wine reminded the audience what Rock n Roll is supposed to sound like. What Rock n Roll does sound like …

Myles Goodwyn and Brian Greenway‘s guitars, primed with oil from a different time. Juiced with the energy of a twenty-something version of themselves. Trading solos in 21st Century Schizoid Man, trading licks in ‘I like to Rock’ and trading smiles all night. Two partners in crime ensuring last night was ‘A Wonderful Time to Fall in Love’ with April Wine once more.

After all – how many bands, Canadian bands – especially in the 1970s, have been aw2asked to open for The Rolling Stones? Something which April Wine accomplished in 1977 following hits such as ‘Weeping Widow’, ‘Lady Run Lady Hide’ and ‘ Oowatanite”. The former a composition by the late Jimmy Clench and the latter – an encore staple for many years  – including last night.

A look around the Corona, a glance into the past. Seldom now – in an era where the youth have ‘seen everything and done that’ via the internet, do ‘air guitars’ and ‘air drums’ dominate the panoramic musical landscape. The crowd, predominantly of the Montreal Forum days and dotted with the Bell Center crowd, rockin’ in their seats. Singin’ and pounding their imaginary drums into submission.

Myles Goodwyn – Canadian Rock n Roll’s most underrated songwriter, vocally still in his early twenties. Astounding given his age and recent health issues a few years back. His appearance has changed – the voice as identifiable as ever. Greenway – the same bounce in his step as the days when he entertained Montreal with a band called The Dudes just prior to joining April Wine in the mid -seventies. The hair may be grayer for these two, the wrinkles as ordinary for anyone their age but there exists no wrinkles in the playing or the energy.

The year is 2013 ….

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