April Wine and Sweet – October 13, 2023 at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Welch, MN
Review and photos by Jim Zons
Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for me since I got to go back in time to catch two classic acts from the 70s and 80s: the Sweet and April Wine at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, MN
First up: the band currently touring as “The Sweet.” Some background: The Sweet was founded in London in 1968 and had their biggest hits in the 1970s. The band went their separate ways in the 1980s, with two versions of The Sweet touring in recent years, one featuring original bassist Steve Priest, and the other featuring original guitarist Andy Scott. Alas, Steve Priest died in 2020, and Andy Scott is the only surviving member of the original lineup. The band that performed as The Sweet at Treasure Island on October 13 was actually the band that had been touring with Steve Priest before he died, so no original members, but definitely the “spirit” of Steve Priest lives on in his former band. If you’re a fan of The Sweet, you wouldn’t have been disappointed since they played all the hits you would have remembered, like “Love Is Like Oxygen,” “Little Willy,” “Fox on the Run,” and “Ballroom Blitz.” The band gave an energetic performance that went over an hour, which was unusual for an opening act. The band actually asked me to take a “promo pic” before the gig, which was a fun request, so I’ve included that photo with the concert pics.
Next up, the headliner: April Wine. I was surprised to learn that April Wine has also been around since the 60s; specifically, 1969. Based out of Canada, they were a huge success north of the border, but had a number of hits here in the States in the late 70s and early 80s. April Wine has had its share of rotating members over the years (as is the case with any band dating back to 1969!); the current lineup consists of Brian Greenway on guitar and vocals (since 1977), Richard Lanthier on bass (since 2011), Roy Nichol on drums (2012), and the newest addition, Marc Parent on guitar and lead vocals who replaced founding member Myles Goodwin on the tour this year (Myles remains in the band, just no longer touring).
From start to finish, the thing I most appreciated about April Wine in concert was just how tight these guys sounded! Incredible guitar sound that really took you back to classic rock bands of the late 70s and early 80s. I can see why they were so popular in their native Canada … and I’m surprised that they weren’t more popular here in the states. That said, April Wine is one of those bands when you hear them in concert, you’ll be surprised by how often you’ll say to yourself … oh: I didn’t know that they did THAT song!! Songs like “Enough is Enough,” “I Like To Rock,” and “Sign of the Gypsy Queen.” But besides the recognizable songs, there were plenty of other great rock and roll songs that I didn’t know … but sounded simply fantastic live in concert, like “Crash and Burn” and “Anything You Want, You Got It.” Of course, no April Wine concert would be complete without their biggest hits: “Roller” and “Just Between You and Me,” and these guys brought it! It was a great evening of classic rock, and kudos to Treasure Island for booking these two fantastic bands back-to-back on a Friday night!