You know when you look on the side of buildings sometimes and you see a date engraved on a corner? Some of those corners are usually designed for time capsules that are opened years into the future. Why do I bring this up in a music review? Well, because I just witnessed an actual live time capsule performing in concert. Graham Bonnet, lead singer extraordinaire, came through and flat out put on a show that was in its own right simply spectacular. Performing hits from his Alcatrazz, Rainbow, and Michael Schenker days, Bonnet, fooled us all watching him sing these hits. You see, the man singing “Too Late to Die, Too Drunk to Live,” “All Night Long,” and “Samurai” is 70 years young, but you could have fooled me. And he continued to do just that. More you say, well, how about “Assault Attack,” Jet to Jet,” and “Eyes of the World” performed meticulously and dead on key. I was too young to see Alcatrazz or MSG perform back in 1981, but let me tell you, it felt like I was back there listening to these songs once again. He even played Impellitteri’s “Stand In Line,” my favorite of the night, from the 1988 album of the same name and a song I never expected to hear and pretty much made my year hearing that one. Bonnet also performed some songs from his solo career in “California Air” and “Into The Night.” 19 songs to be exact on his setlist. Going back to Alcatrazz, if you didn’t recognize him, keyboardist Jimmy Waldo was playing along side just like he did back in the days of the band. He and Bonnet were great on the classic “Island in the Sun” too. Joey Tafolla, playing guitar for this tour, was incredible to watch when Bonnet performed MSG’s “Desert Song.” Drummer Mark Banquechea and bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone round out the band and were just as equally great to watch perform along side this living rock legend.
Rarely does Bonnet come over and play the states and rarely does a live show affect me as this one, but I will always remember this show and always refer to it as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Bonnet will take his solo show back to Europe in the spring and summer, but not before he joins his old band mate Michael Schenker this spring in a small tour with him and ex-MSG vocalists Gary Bardon and Robin McAuley, which I might just have to check out now to get more of Bonnet.