Guess Who

Running Back Thru Canada

BY Chuck MolgatPublished Dec 1, 2004

Aesthetically challenged, not particularly cool and largely devoid of charm, Winnipeg-spawned classic rock institution the Guess Who built its reputation almost exclusively on the strength of Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings' songwriting, and the consistent quality of the band's performances. Appropriately, that same assessment applies to this live DVD shot at the rain-soaked homecoming concert midway through the band's 2000 reunion tour. Predictable and at times downright cheesy, the main feature originally aired on CBC television a few months after the fact. The obligatory extras, however, did not. These include six bonus tracks (five cut from the same concert and one, "Heartbroken Bopper," from the tour's opening night in St. John's, NL), a not-so-probing interview with Randy and Burton and a half-hour of rehearsal footage. The latter is easily the most fascinating part of the package, as it captures a decidedly cantankerous Cummings complaining, opining and running the band through the practice motions in classic Let It Be style. Bachman, meanwhile, does his best to ignore his band-mate/rival while fill-in bass disappointment Bill Wallace struggles to keep his ego in check in order to avoid the same scythe that removed original four-stringer Jim Kale from the reunion picture. The inclusion of more rehearsal footage would've made this DVD exponentially better, as would have a feature allowing viewers to toggle off all images of woefully repugnant drummer Gary Peterson, whose stage attire (headband included) suggests he lost some sort of pre-gig wager. The production suffers from a few continuity issues too, like back-to-back audience shots where seas of umbrellas magically disappear and dusk turns to night only to turn back to dusk. The whole "storm as attempted plot device" thing is also awkwardly mishandled. It may be worth noting that this DVD represents one of the last documentations of Bachman the long-time fat man, as the guitarist extraordinaire underwent weight reduction surgery shortly after tour's end. (BMG)

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