“We’re all here for a celebration!” sang Kim Mitchell as he tore into his Max Webster hit “The Party”, and the context couldn’t be more appropriate. Toronto’s Phoenix night club was celebrating its 25th anniversary of operation and had the local legend play this momentous milestone with another Canadian icon, David Wilcox.
Opening for Kim Mitchell is no small feat but Mr. Wilcox lived up to the challenge. With his bluesy licks and rich baritone, the rocker had the crowd enraptured as he spryly flitted from one end of the stage to the other. He engaged heavily with the audience, his humorous banter coming between (and sometimes during) the earthy classic rock he was delivering.
Hits like “Riverboat Fantasy” and “Bad Apple” were lighthearted song choices as well, a wink and a nod regarding life’s more illicit pleasures and recalling that rebellious rock n roll spirit that still flows through Wilcox’s veins. The rollicking guitar heroics continued as well, with multiple ferocious solos throughout the set.
Speaking of ferocious- the crowd was absolutely rabid for Kim Mitchell. The dynamic frontman seemed to absorb the energy in the room and threw it right back at his adoring fans. Drawing upon his rich catalogue of both his solo work and his Max Webster hits, Mitchell roared to life and brought the good times.
Honestly speaking, the man can be considered somewhat of an ambassador of good times; many of his hits are simply about enjoying life and having a ball. “I Am A Wild Party”, “Patio Lanterns”, “Go For Soda” and the aforementioned “The Party” were therefore extremely appropriate on this special occasion and thus very well received by the good natured crowd.
It’s hard to believe that first self-titled Max Webster album was release exactly four decades ago, as Mitchell has double the tenacity of a frontman just starting his career. With his trendy scarf and cool dude shades, it’s now second nature for him to let loose and blow the crowd away with his effortless showmanship.
Fan favourites “Paradise Skies” and “All We Are” had the audience reeling in delight, fists in the air during the theatrical guitar solos. Kim Mitchell knows exactly how to pump the adrenaline in all the right ways. With this knowledge he has delivered so much joy through his music over the past 40 years and continues to without hesitation- after all, it’s his Rock And Roll Duty.
Photos by Dusty Lalas – https://twitter.com/dustylalas