Words: Sue Static; Photos: Peter Schorn/Rock Out Shots
The Chevrolet "Rockin' on the Riverfront" summer concert series continued to rock Detroit on Friday, August 10th.
The second to last concert featured a fine double bill of '70s rockers that featured the British glam rock act The Sweet with openers The Tubes.
The threat of rain hung menacingly throughout the evening and finally fell during The Sweet's set but they still stuck it out to perform their hits for the fans who watched with their umbrellas in hand.
First up was The Tubes and the U.S. theatrical rock-meets-punk band started out their set with their biggest hit, "She's a Beauty," and then went backwards in their repertoire by performing popular hits from their first and second albums to the delight of the crowd. Their infamous anthem, "White Punks on Dope," was a definite crowd-pleaser and brought the return of singer Fee Waybill's alter-ego Quay Lude to the stage, complete with platform heels and fright wig that made him appear ten feet tall! Another classic, "What Do You Want From Life?", was resurrected off their debut album, as was another of their later '80s hits, "Talk to Ya Later."
The band was in fine form as well. Frontman Fee Waybill entertained the audience and clearly looked like he was having as good a time as they were. He changed his appearance three times during the set, starting out as a carnival barker, then switching to a gold lucha libre mask with safety pin chains and a pink Mohawk(!); all before bringing out Quay. He explained that the cast on his wrist was due to a fall from wearing high heels onstage while performing the lead of Frank N' Furter in the stage production of the cult classic, "The Rocky Horror Show" at The Barn theater in Augusta, Michigan, that just concluded. He will be appearing in the production of Monty Python's "Spamalot" there next.
A massive Hammond B3 organ was unveiled as The Sweet took the stage to perform their '70s AM radio hits: "Fox on the Run," "Little Willy," "Teenage Rampage" and "ACDC." The band sounded strong considering the only remaining original member is bassist Steve Priest who leads this U.S. version of the group. Original guitarist Andy Scott heads up the UK version. Singer Peter Lincoln held his own as he belted out the songs including their classic rock staple, "Love is Like Oxygen."
As the rain started to fall and had some audience members running for cover, the band stuck it out (the stage was covered) and played to the remaining audience. They unleashed their biggest hit, "The Ballroom Blitz," as their last song of the night and had the enthusiastic crowd on their feet and singing along.
You can rock on the riverfront for one last show of this season this Friday night, August 17, for Michigan's own Flint native, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad with Berkeley's pop rocker Marshall Crenshaw opening the show.
The show is FREE to attend!