Danforth Music Hall
August 4 2017
As most reading this probably know, in August 2016 I published my first book Razama-Snaz! The Listener's Guide To Nazareth. The research and actual writing of the book was an extremely rewarding experience. Additional pleasure came from getting pictures of Nazareth fans from all over the world with their respective copies of the book. And it certainly was a thrill in Sept 2016 when a pic of original vocalist Dan McCafferty himself turned up on my Facebook feed holding Razama-Snaz! in his back garden.
The 2017 version of Nazareth roared into the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on Aug 4. Although it may have seemed that this hall was a bit too big for them, the venue was quite full if not actually sold out. Sure there may have been some grumbling in the line outside about this not being the original line-up (why does Ac/Dc always get a pass when this subject comes up?) but those doubts could not have remained front of mind once the band hit the stage.
The sixteen-song set was a satisfying mix of the expected standards ("Razamanaz", "This Flight Tonight", "Love Hurts") and deep album cuts such as "Sanghai'd in Shanghai", "Sunshine" (both from 1974's Rampant ) , "Turn On Your Receiver" (1973's Loud n Proud) and even "Love Leads To Madness" from the 1983 release 2XS. In total, a full five tracks from Hair Of The Dog (1975) were played to the appreciative crowd. And they weren't skimping on the volume either. The band performed at a louder than usual for this venue level but surprisingly that didn't affect the mix at all which was enjoyably clear.
Now new vocalist Carl Sentance may not have Dan McCafferty's distinctive raspy howl (who does?), but he can still tackle the material with a perfectly acceptable power hard rock voice. And in the case of "Sunshine", Sentance adds prominent acoustic guitar playing that greatly benefited the arrangement. By the end of the encore "Broken Down Angel", both band and crowd were more than satisfied with the evening. Hopefully a return visit won't be too long in the future.
And in answer to the question I've been asked many times, yes I did spend some quality time with the band after the show. I presented each member with their own copy and had them sign my own personal hard cover. They were all familiar with the book as fans have been getting their copies signed during the tour but hadn't actually read it yet. Still, when Pete Agnew tells you, "Dan says it's a good read" well, that's heaven right there.