Times were ripe for a Guess Who reunion tour. The Canadian band’s music was featured in both “American Beauty” and “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” while Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” portrayed legendary rock critic Lester Bangs sporting a Guess Who T-shirt and singing the band’s praises as he condemned the Doors. Ironically enough, during the band’s Oct. 22 show at the Greek Theater, lead singer-pianist Burton Cummings sported a Jim Morrison T-shirt and threw a bit of the Doors’ “L.A. Woman” into the extended jam that opened “American Woman.” The latter song was arguably never the group’s strongest moment, but it did prove to be the concert centerpiece — and infinitely better than Lenny Kravitz’s recent Grammy-winning cover version.
Having put their longtime acrimony behind them, Cummings and lead guitarist Randy Bachman gave reason to believe that the Guess Who is one of the most underrated bands in rock history. Kicking off with their pre-Cummings cover of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ “Shakin’ All Over,” the band delivered hit after hit — hard pop classics like “No Time” and “Undun” — though things never advanced much beyond pure nostalgia. Show could have done without “Glamour Boy” and perhaps “Clap for the Wolfman,” but every other song seemed to inspire happy memories in this close-to-capacity crowd.
Interestingly, the biggest crowd-pleasers were the three hits Bachman scored with Bachman Turner Overdrive after leaving the band: “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” “Let It Ride” and “Takin’ Care of Business.” Totally stupid, but great rock ‘n’ roll nevertheless.
Opener Joe Cocker performed a greatest hits set backed by an incredible band featuring veteran Kenny Aronoff on drums. One can only marvel at how the singer maintains such an uncanny vocal rasp after all these decades.