Following a very successful year-ending Ray Charles Show tour overseas, the band rested that show this year – how ya gonna top that? – and concentrated on the Chicago Transit show, the Rod Stewart show and their regular Powerhouse show. Dave Battah, as ‘Rod’, took us into Georgian Downs and Kawartha Downs casinos to start the year. The Chicago Transit show opened both of those gigs, as the two shows always worked so well together. We did a few local theatre and club dates with these two shows, with our other Rod Stewart guy when Dave was performing elsewhere.Where last year was much about the Ray Charles tribute show, this year was about the Chicago Transit show, as the band took it to numerous venues, some as far away as the city of Chicago itself -- on a very hot summer afternoon. They didn’t understand Chicago Transit music much last year in Europe, but they sure ate it up in Chicago, Illinois. There was also the Bay Mills casino on the southern shore of Lake Superior, with a rapid drive home in the middle of the night to beat an approaching blizzard. The band also put their Chicago Transit show into the Woodbine racetrack for two nights, with a couple of repeat gigs.The big change in the band this year was the addition of Mike DeBenedictus on bass guitar (replacing Greg Smith). He got the Bay Mills casino and the overnight ‘beat the blizzard’ ride as his first gig – sorry, Mike. As Powerhouse, the band did what they’ve been doing for a quite a while now – play locally, clubs, corporate events, private parties, special events and the Port Dover Friday the 13th bash. As usual, our pictures here are a bit sparse. It’s hard to take pics of a band we’re playing in, and before and after gigs, there’s a lot of set-up and tear-down to do. Again, most of these pics are forwarded from other sources, with our thanks.
On Canada Day this year, the band was in Brockville, Ont. for their Riverfest celebrations. The show opened with the band as Chicago Transit followed by a second show backing a Rod Stewart tribute show. The crowds were great, the weather was ideal and the setting was excellent along the shore of the beautiful Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River.
Friday the 13th landed in the middle of the summer this year, and as they've done year after year, Powerhouse was there, pumping out Mustang Sally, James Brown, old soul and R&B hits to a city full of bikers and their babes. Yes, there was indeed some fine lookin' hardware in town.
Another excellent venue this summer was the Classic Cars and Legendary Stars Festival in Gage Park in Brampton, sponsored by the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada (Brampton region). Powerhouse was there this summer with their full Chicago Transit show.
As the band has done for the last few years, the year came to a close at Carmen's Banquet Centre in Hamilton for the Annual New Year's Eve Bash. Once again, the place was packed, the food was great and the year closed out in the best possible way.
While 2006 was mostly about the Ray Charles tribute show, concluding with our year-end tour overseas, and last year (2007) was spent concentrating on taking our Chicago Transit show to bigger and better venues, this year (2008) would be known as the summer of the ‘rain out’. Nearly every show we did outdoors during the busy warm-weather season was either rained out totally, or we dealt with rain at some point during the show. I swear that we spent more time off-stage with our instruments in hand, watching the crowds and the equipment get drenched, than we did performing.The Ray Charles show, again, took the year off, but Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart tribute had us and our Chicago Transit show back in the casinos and we did a couple of dates at an excellent local club called Johnny B’s in Whitby. Mostly though, the year was about the Chicago Transit and Powerhouse shows, and of course, standing waiting for the rain to stop.The band played the Fort Erie Slots, Windsor Casino, the Friday the 13th bash in Port Dover to see it rained out, was in Bracebridge for the Muskoka Summerfest before rain ended the show half-way through, did festivals in Jarvis, Ont., Stoney Creek, Hamilton mountain, and a number of club dates in the Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto area. But in spite of the weather problems, it was still a good and busy year for the band. And, as an added bonus, both Steve Dormer and our friend Sue came by this year and took some excellent pictures of the band.Early in the year, the band took their Chicago Transit Show into Whitby, Ontario for a redate at Johnny B's nightclub. On hand that night was Steve Dormer who took a great collection of pictures of the band -- shown above and below. My problem here was picking the best from a few hundred excellent shots. Thanks Steve. Great work.
Another excellent gig, early in the year, was when Powerhouse took their show to Casino Windsor for two nights. Again, casino restrictions made taking pictures impossible, but I was able to get a pic of the stage area during soundcheck and another of Detroit, Michigan across the river from the casino. I must admit, this was one fine casino, and an great gig for us.
As I mentioned, there wasn't much to take pictures of this summer except musicians trying to mop water off P.A. equipment and electronics. For the Muskoka Summerfest in Bracebridge, we drove all the way for 6 songs, before the skies opened up. It was a shame too, as the festival organizers were great people and the venue was excellent.But later in the year, the weather improved and Powerhouse played an outdoor show on Concession Street on Hamilton Mountain at one of their local festivals.
There was a lot of the flu going around the band at this gig. Tony (above) was one who was dealing with it.
We don't get a lot of pictures of our sound tech, (above right) -- a very laid-back guy. As a band, we can always count on Russell when he’s behind the board.
One of the band's last gigs of the year was for a private Christmas party. There was a lot of fine machinery owned by the people that attented this dinner and dance.