Toronto suffers a Chest fever and likes it!

Toronto suffers a Chest fever and likes it!

If you didn’t go up to the cottage this past weekend and stayed in Toronto, there was plenty of entertainment to keep your happy after you were done planting your garden. In fact at Hugh’s Room on Sunday and Monday night, there was a mini festival. There were two bands on the bill, but what made it confusing was that it was the same band. Let me explain, Mrs Henry is a Band from California that got its name from the Bob Dylan song-Please Mrs Henry. The Other band is called Chest Fever, which is a tribute band to that is dedicated to The Band.  They are the same band with two different names.

Last Year they played out a sold out show at Massey hall celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Last Waltz. Well they came back to celebrate the self titled second album from the Band, warmly known as The Brown Album. Mrs Henry was the opening act for these shows. Follow me so far?

Well, Mrs Henry came out charging with an anthem of a song that would get people at a football game excited. They continued their audio assault with and heavy rocking tune that ran you over like a locomotive. When they exhausted us and was going into the third song, they let us know their next recording is going to be a Rock Opera. The next song was a simply written tune about Peace and Love. It was the music that was taking us away.

Just as we were getting into the groove of things, Mrs Henry was very excited to announce they were bringing up a guest to the stage for a couple of songs. Toronto was in for a treat as pioneer rocker from Moby Grape came walking onto the stage, Don Stevenson. He was the drummer for Moby Grape over 50 years ago and today he was a guitar player. The band pumped out two tunes from about 57 years ago. The first one was “Murder in my heart for the judge” and then went into the fun rocker,”Hey Grandma”. The level of fun and respect was very obvious throughout the performance. Mrs Henry told me later how thrilled they were to be on stage with one of their favourite members from a California band. Don Stevenson later told me he felt 57 years younger when he was on that stage.  Well in my opinion he was, because he was rocking out as hard as the other members on stage. It was truly the highlight of the evening for everybody. The entire set was rock solid. This is a band that put their heart and soul into every note they play and it radiates off the stage. These guys are more infectious than COVID and we all got sick in the best way!

Here are some images from Mrs Henry:

The second half, Chest fever hit the stage. How did I know this was Chest Fever? Well, they simply changed their clothes. They began with an opus of instrumental moments from the Bands history before we took the Brown album.  They began playing this classic album and as a fan, I thought, this is not “Across the Great Divide”? The next song was not, “Rag Mama Rag”. That was the beauty of this show and a chance that this band was willing to take. Usually when you pay tribute to an album, you tend to do it justice and play it in order and play it note for note. Well, this did not happen. Chest Fever took complete license with the order of the songs and how they wanted to represent the songs.

They occasionally jammed out the songs and sometimes blended one song into the next song with a very unique bridge that would tie the songs together flawlessly. I found this completely refreshing, because as a music lover I love the element of surprise. Paying tribute to an album, you know what is coming next, but this was a brand new journey in the world of the Band. There were drum solos, extended jams and they even did the song “Up on Cripple Creek”, twice. The second time they really rocked it out of the park. They got the audience up on their feet and dancing and clapping. This is the way to celebrate a great album. For you diehard fans of the album, here is the set list of the second half of the show and see if you think this could work.

Overture

Up on Cripple Creek

King Harvest (Has surely come)

The Unfaithful Servant

Jemima Surrender with Jam session

When you awake

Jawbone -tied in with

Whispering Pines-tied in with

Rocking Chair

Rag Mama Rag with Reprise

Look out Cleveland

The Night they drove old Dixie Down

Up on Cripple Creek- Rocking Version

Encore – The weight

Just reprinting this list, I am still reliving this evening in my mind. So if you ever hear Mrs Henry or Chest fever is coming to town, do not miss your opportunity for an original experience.

Here are some images of Chest Fever:

As a side note, Don Stevenson put out a CD a while back called “Limited Engagement Vol1. I suggest you go pick up this absolute gem. I heard through the grapevine that he is working on Vol 2 and would like to have his CD release party here in Toronto. I also found out that there are working on a reunion of Moby Grape and the asked Mrs Henry to be a part of that reunion. Classic Rock fans, you are in for a real treat if these moments can be put together. It is just another reason to be proud that Toronto Rocks! So let’s get out there and have a Blast!!!

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