Niagara Gazette — The summer concert season unofficially closes this weekend and Buffalo Place is the place to be for a couple of impressive shows. Between the two headliners and co-headliners, you have four decades of hits, starting from the 1960s. If you do not feel like traveling, Niagara Falls is hosting the sixth annual Blues Festival, which runs all weekend. Finally, if you do feel like traveling, my wife suggested I incorporate the “best shows for a tank of gas,” from the region.
Starting on Friday at Buffalo Place Rocks Canalside, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will be sharing the bill with Eric Burdon. At $15 advance and $20 day of show, this is a bargain to say the least.
If you aren’t familiar with the name Eric Burdon, the 72-year-old singer is one of the greatest of all time. He is the voice behind classic songs like “We Gotta Get Out of this Place,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Spill the Wine” and the all-time classic “House of the Rising Sun.”
Burdon was the lead singer for two popular bands, The Animals and War. The Animals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. They influenced many artists including a young man from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen.
If that was not enough, Burdon released a critically acclaimed album in January of this year entitled “‘Til Your River Runs Dry.” Even after over 50 years of recording, that voice cuts through the mix.
I had the honor of meeting Burdon back in 1990 when he played at The Red Creek Inn in Rochester. I was so star struck I could barely get out a word. He went on to put on an amazing show which featured a blazing cover of The Doors “L.A Woman.”
Of course I shouldn’t discount Benatar, who is headlining the show. Benatar and her husband Giraldo dominated rock radio and MTV throughout the 1980s. When she performs “Hell is for Children” it will give you goose bumps.
Benatar is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but she should be! Benatar won four consecutive Grammy Awards and influenced an entire generation of female rock singers.
On Saturday at Buffalo Place, a double bill featuring two great imports from Canada, Matthew Good and Big Wreck. It’s the same price as the Benatar/Burdon show.
Matthew Good was a member of the Matthew Good Band, a highly successful alternative rock group from British Columbia. The group lasted for only four years and during that time released two Platinum selling and two Gold selling albums in Canada. Since going solo, Good has released five solo albums, four of which reached Gold status in Canada. He has a new album entitled “Arrows of Desire” scheduled to be released late next month.
Big Wreck headlined a free show in Lockport last summer and it received rave reviews. Ian Thornley, who had a successful solo career in Canada after Big Wreck split up in 2002, is the band’s leader. Since reforming in 2012, Big Wreck has released on album, “Albatross” and continues to perform together regularly.
For your show on a tank of gas, you might want to head up to Toronto on Sunday to catch Depeche Mode at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Gary Graff of The Oakland Press wrote of the opening night of their North American tour, “Anyone who’s been paying attention over the years knows that Depeche Mode in concert is a markedly more potent concern than its studio counterpart.”
Finally, if you want to stay close to town, the aforementioned Niagara Falls Blues Festival and the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival are in the area.
The Niagara Falls Blues festival runs all weekend, Saturday through Monday and it features great blues music, food and a classic car and classic motorcycle show. The main stage for the event is located near Legends Bar and Grill on Old Falls Street. It’s a great opportunity to support a local event.
The Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival draws an estimated 85,000 visitors each year, for $5 you get a lot of entertainment and access to chicken wings. It’s held at Coca-Cola Field on Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Make sure you check out the official house band, my good friends The Heavenly Chillbillies.Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.