Captain Hiram’s / Sebastian, FL 05/04/10
In the dubious tradition of
John Kay and Steppenwolf,
more recently, Guns N' Roses, comes the latest rock
revival (mis)leader —
Featuring Brett Scallions.
I first became suspicious when I noticed that my ticket read, “Fuel: Featuring Brett Scallions.” This is an old school tactic in which (typically) club owners, small-time promoters and or former rock contenders attempt to convince fans that a platinum-selling arena act will actually be appearing at their local “Brew & Cue” — when in reality, only one original member (or less) will be gracing the stage. The Guess Who have been milking this angle for years; promoting themselves as the “real deal” long after the departure of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.
I was of course familiar with Fuel's signature hits from ten years ago such as “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage” but I lacked the connection necessary to recognize or even care who was on the stage — a girl who I have a thing for had two tickets for tonight's show and she asked me to join her. I offered zero resistance.
The initial crowd reaction was enthusiastic. The five hundred-plus fans cheered as the band tore through such favorites as “Bad Day,” “Jesus or a Gun” and “Bitter Sweet.” Then, I began paying attention to comments being made by people around me. “This doesn’t really sound like them,” I heard one guy say. Another added, “they don't have the same energy anymore.” Then a disgruntled buddy of mine approached me and confirmed my original suspicion. “That ain’t Fuel,” he announced with a scowl.
My buddy was absolutely right (sorta). Upon a cracker jack investigation (Wikipedia to the rescue!), I discovered that after several years of intra-band discord, what I had actually seen tonight was something referred to online as the new “Re-Fueled” line-up — a hybrid version of Fuel, featuring Scallions and former members of other such top-name acts as Buckcherry and Shinedown.
I certainly don’t begrudge anybody, especially hard working, talented musicians for making a living. And I’m not implying that this billing was dishonest; just perhaps a bit misleading. In fact, the band was quite good and gave one heck of a performance. But it seems to me that this “Re-Fueled” project would perhaps be better served and received if it was presented as the all-star, '90s super group that it really is. Heck, had I known that Yogi from Buckcherry was gonna be playing, I’d have paid for a ticket!