August 3, 2019
St. Charles, IL
Review and Photos by Robert Kern
No Need to Guess Who – Burton Cummings wows at the Arcada Theatre
The Arcada Theatre is a unique music venue located in St. Charles, IL. Opened in 1926, it began by showing silent movies and staging live vaudeville acts. The theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On this Saturday night, the Arcada played host to Burton Cummings whose long and storied musical history may rival that of the classic theatre where he performed. Formerly of the Guess Who, Cummings was the leader of the iconic band that produced a string of top 40 hits that remain a staple of classic rock radio today, over 50 years since the Guess Who first broke in the U.S.
Although The Guess Who continue to be ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that wasn’t the case this night as fans in the sold out Arcada crowd would attest. Cummings show proved to be a tour de force of classic FM radio hits.
The 15-song set covered the greatest hits of the band and included a few surprises along the way. Opening with “No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature”, Cummings followed up with “Hand Me Down World”, “Clap for the Wolfman”, and “Laughing”. By the time the show encore “Share the Land” concluded the two-hour set, it was evident that this guy belongs in that rarified group of rock legends.
During the show, Cummings and his talented band performed classic covers (“Trouble in the City” – JJ Cale; “Baby Come Back” – the Equals; “Louie, Louie” – The Kingsman), his signature solo hit “Stand Tall” and a couple of deeper Guess Who tracks, “Star Baby” and “Guns, Guns, Guns”.
The remainder of the set included a liberal helping of the Guess Who’s chestnuts – “Albert Flasher”, “These Eyes”, “American Woman” and “No Time”. About the only well recognized tune not performed on this night was “Bus Rider”.
Cummings was very gracious during the performance, stopping to thank the crowd numerous times and to express his appreciation for the fans that keep coming to his shows.
At 71 years of age, Cummings shows no sign of slowing down although he did apologize that the passing of time has diminished his vocal range a bit. By the crowd’s reaction song after song, nobody seemed to mind. The smiles, cheers and standing ovations said it all.