A Gig (Zurich October 2, 1999)

I'm not going to be sweet talking. This is a negative review. So, if one can't take it, one might better terminate the whole operation here. As I mentioned previously, I did give Dr. Feelgood a fighting chance (albeit a very small one). They fared much much better than expected and still, I don't need this, really.

To start with, there were about 400 people in the place of which probably 200 were paying punters. The rest was the sponsor's bigshots and families (God, how I hate these events, people turning up dressed like they are going to the opera house and being clearly out of place and acting the part. I just wonder why they take up on such an invitation, they're clearly not comfortable in such an environment, but yet, one can see them all the time. I remember a Wilko Johnson gig were half the club was packed with these corporate types).

The event started with Zach Prather and band. About 100 minutes of high energy blues. I can highly recommend this band. Snap up one of their albums and listen to their stuff. Reminded me of Buddy Guy sometimes. About 80 minutes into their set, I had moved to the one bar at the entrance (no shortage of bars there, three in all) and in they came. Steve, Kevin, Phil and Robert. Suddenly I found myself cornered by the band. Steve behind me, Kevin on the left and Phil in front of me (Did they know of my critical stand towards them? Had my last day on earth come?). Luckily, I would have had an escape route since Robert decided to either hit the bar across the room or just plain went to the loo.

About 5 minutes later they moved off with Kevin coming back just seconds later and checking out Zach Prather. There was a photograph on one table with Dr. Feelgood Pete Gage era which Kevin noticed. Must have had his own thoughts about this.

About 1015 pm a band calling themselves Dr. Feelgood took the stage. Albert is quite right, this is a band playing the legacy of Dr. Feelgood. This is not Dr. Feelgood. For second hand experience, this will have to do. I caught myself quite frequently during the gig, thinking of them as a Dr. Feelgood cover band. And, yes, they were rocking down the house, no doubt about it! I've seldom seen such an enthusiastic crowd at a Dr. Feelgood gig. They were on their feet from the very beginning to the very end. Standing right in front of the stage, I had to turn around to see this, it's hardly believable.

This mustn't be a contradiction, as I overheard some folks at one of the bars saying that they didn't know Dr. Feelgood, but had heard one of their albums. I suppose the less you know about Dr. Feelgood, the better this band seems in 1999. To me, this is probably the most redundant act of 1999.

The first thing that struck me was the stage antics of Robert Kane. Playing the jumping Jack doesn't go with the role as frontman of the band. We don't need a new teenie bopper sensation. And quite frankly, it distracts from the set. Hell, I even wished Pete Gage was back on stage with them. What about his singing, I hear you ask!? Thumbs down here as well. Since Pete Gage had a similar style to Lee Brilleaux, it comes as quite a surprise to hear a singer that doesn't fit in with their repertoire at all. Robert Kane is something like a mellowed down hard rock singer. His delivery of the songs is just wrong and somehow these songs seem to have gone flat. And I doubt that this is because of the songs.

Robert Kane working with a setlist and a binder on stage (probably all the lyrics in there) and quite frequently checking, made me wondering too. I hear you calling "for Christ's sake, give the guy some time", but he's supposed to be their frontman and as such, should be confident enough not to use these crutches. Imagine Lee checking the lyrics (or even Pete Gage for that matter).

Enough of Robert Kane bashing, 90 minutes of the vast Dr. Feelgood repertoire (with a newie thrown in as well as two Eric Burdon songs) left many a guy/gal happy. "Down By The Jetty Blues" has apparently been revitalised (third major change that I'm aware of) and Steve does a hell of a job. A very interesting version of this song it was. No "Shotgun Blues" and no "Riot In Cell Block No. 9" but apart from that all the road tested ditties. Two songs into the set, somebody at the back of the hall was already screaming for "Milk And Alcohol". Phil and Kevin playing solidly as always. So, no surprises there.

Now, was it worth it? For the hardcore fan a definite "NO" and for the hardcore fan a definite "YES" (you have to work out the contradiction yourself). For the average punter, this was a good night out and you could have listened to Little Eddie And The Lumberjacks from down the road. To me, it was not the complete waste of time I thought this to be (If only for the "Down By The Jetty Blues" version mark III). Will I go to their next gig? Definitely! Will I look forward to it? Definitely not!

And how was the John Mayall gig, you might ask?! Well, it was! There's nothing more to say about it! The highlight was the support band "Climax Blues Band", which really smoked! Well worth seeing live! John Mayall? You're better off buying an album! Just don't ask the people I've been with to this gig, they probably think I've gone bonkers.

There is a weekend full of action (if only music wise) and this is all I can show for it! Pretty sad, isn't it?