Call it a retro night if you will, but nostalgia sounded oh so good Saturday night as Loverboy and Platinum Blonde turned back the clock with 1980s rock music before a sellout crowd of 2,200 adoring fans at Kal Tire Place.
Loverboy, fronted by ever-smiling Mike Reno, sold 12 million albums in the ’80s and they reeled off all their monster singles in a rousing 90-minute set that included an eye-popping 15-minute drum solo by Matt Frenette, punctuated by a little help from bass player Kan (Spider) Sinnaeve. Frenette hardly caught his breath after giving his Yamaha kit a marathon workout as the Vancouver band went right into Turn Me Loose.
Reno, 63, wearing a traditional black and white Loverboy bandana with a red one in his right hip pocket, nailed the entire octave range like he was still in his 20s. He wore a couple of black shirts and pleated jeans with black work boots in line with promoter CFI’s Working for the Weekend Theme.
Reno, who has one son, Alex, 30, spread the love all night, wished promoter Dean Francks of Vernon a happy birthday before playing Working for the Weekend and sent the firefighters a little love before performing A Night To Remember.
As a special surprise, the New Westminster-born Reno brought out his wife, Cathy St. Germain, for a touching rendition of Paradise, the love theme from the 1984 movie Footloose recorded by Reno and Heart frontwoman Ann Wilson. Reno and St. German held hands for part of the ballad and kissed to at the end.
There was a mainly 50-plus age group in attendance and only a few who remember seeing Reno sing with Synergy at regular Vernon rec centre dances back in the 1970s.
Hall of Fame lead guitarist Paul Dean was spot on all night, not even missing a beat as he used his guitar to stop a spinning giant beach ball from getting away on stage.
Doug Johnson, who did everything but sell T-shirts, was dazzling on the keyboards and sax as Loverboy sounded tight and crisp all night. He led the way on the group’s ‘83 top-10 single Hot Girls in Love and was featured on Take Me To The Top, which was stretched with a mash of The Doors’ Riders of the Storm.
The crowd chimed in as Reno nailed It’s Over, to which he said afterwards: “Man, you guys can sing. What a great town this is.”
Of course, Reno had to ask fans “Does anybody wanna get lucky?” before going into Lucky Ones from the band’s 1981 Get Lucky album, still their best-selling record.
The crowd pretty much screamed and put their hands together for every song, but especially went bonkers on final ditties Lovin’ Every Minute of It and Turn Me Loose.
Reno had some fun holding up a black bra thrown his way and ended the night by ringing out his bandana and tossing it to a fan.
Opening act Platinum Blonde, originally from Toronto, put on a fabulous 70-minute show which also keyed on their 1980s hits and away from today’s manufactured pop music.
Frontman Mark Holmes, a 58-year-old Englishman and a charter member of the big bicep brotherhood, hopped around the stage like he was running a decathlon.
With four albums gone platinum seven times, the energized trio, including original bassist Sergio Galli, sounded amazing despite working in an arena which quite often dulls the sound.
“I’ve never played with Mike Reno; I’ve only seen him on TV,” said Holmes, wearing a sparkling silver tank top and a ball-bearing necklace. “You’re in for a real treat. Mike Reno is one of the best singers in the world.”
Holmes rated the same billing as he belted out multiple hits.
One of those bands where fans don’t remember them until they hear their songs, Platinum Blonde had the place moving with hits like Suicide, Contact, Crying Over You, huge video hit Doesn’t Really Matter, Situational Critical and Valentine.