Thursday, October 7, 2010

CAIN Concert Review - A Mighty Reunion!

Friday, September 17, 2010
Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Minneapolis, MN
Mid-America Music Hall Of Fame 2010 Induction Show
No one ever thought the day would come when the cult 70’s hard rock band Cain would reunite to perform. It’s been at least 30 years since this legendary Minneapolis band has played live! The short story is that they put out two albums (A Pound Of Flesh and Stinger) on the independent ASI label in the mid-to-late-70’s, toured all over with the likes of Styx, Kansas, and Cheap Trick, but never broke it big. After cutting a four-song demo for a planned third album, the band grew disillusioned with the music business and fell apart. I encourage you to read the interview I recently conducted with Cain vocalist Jiggs Lee. There’s been huge interest in the last ten years in discovering lost bands from the 70’s, and Cain has always been at the top of that list. Copies of their vinyl LPs go for hundreds of dollars on the collector’s market, but Rockadrome has reissued A Pound Of Flesh and Stinger will be re-released soon.
Which brings us to the occasion for this reunion show. Cain is part of the 2010 class of inductees to the Mid-America Hall Of Fame, a fantastic organization that recognizes musicians that never achieved “demi-god” status required for induction to other halls. An impressive cadre of bands was brought together over three nights, everything from rock, country, R&B, blues, and pop. The bar area outside the performance hall was set up with tables for fans to meet the bands and items to bid on for a silent auction. All of the staff was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. All egos were checked at the door as the bands met with and mingled with fans, old and new, and even former members of Prince’s band could be seen amongst the crowd. Cain had many long-time fans present, and it was cool to see them reconnect with the band and share stories. As a special treat, Cain was handing out a two-disc set of unreleased live material to fans that came up and talked to them! I’ll get a review of this treat posted soon. It includes two complete sets from the late 70’s, one is a live radio broadcast from the Thirsty Whale in Chicago and the other is Cain’s performance from the Minnesota State Fair where they opened for Kansas. These sets are smoking, and even include some Rainbow and Bad Company covers and an amazing version of “The Grind” by Tommy Bolin!
Watch Cain perform an amazing version of “Katy”.
A lot of bands performed this night, so although Cain only had 30 minutes, they made the most of it with a performance that made everyone wish they hadn’t gone away. They hit the stage running with two tracks from Stinger, the boogie-rocker “All I Need Is You” and the heavier “Harmony With One Voice”. One of the demo tracks for the third album, “All Wound Up”, brought great energy to the show. Another track from Stinger, “Thanks A Lot, Houston”, featured some fiery guitar work, but it was “Katy” from A Pound Of Flesh that stole the show. “Katy” is an epic-sounding, heavy ballad that clearly was the crowd favorite. Cain was presented with their award before they closed the set with “South Side Queen”, another choice cut from A Pound Of Flesh. Vocalist Jiggs Lee still sounded confident and strong at the mike, and he clearly was having fun singing these songs again. The other original member, bassist Dave Elmeer, also lit up the stage with vigor and contributed background vocals. Guitarists John Kast and Marc Partridge were brought in due to the unfortunate absence of Lloyd Forsberg. Listen to A Pound Of Flesh, and you know that Lloyd is an incredible talent not easy to replace, but John and Marc did an incredible job of bringing new energy to the songs. Drummer Kevin DeRemer couldn’t make it tonight due to commitments to a project in New York, but Brad Shultz also rose to the occasion to make this a special night. The depth of loyalty and love that Cain’s fans have for the band was easily apparent from the smiles and looks of awe in the crowd. Although I am too young to have seen Cain in their heyday, I heard many remarks that Jiggs and company sound as good as ever. It’s a shame that Cain didn’t have the luxury of being able to perform a full set, but six songs is more than anyone could have hoped for. This is without a doubt one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever seen, and let’s just hope that Cain had as much fun and find a way to hit the stage again in the near future.
Click any picture for more photos of Cain (27).

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