By Ramona Zacharias
I can probably count on one hand the number of times a live vocal rock performance has sent literal chills down my spine.
Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers) is now responsible for two of those times.
Grimes, along with fellow stars/rockers Bob Guiney (The Bachelor), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Jesse Spencer (House), Adrian Pasdar (Heroes) and Hugh Laurie (House), collectively known as Band From TV, returned to Niagara’s Fallsview Casino Resort this past weekend for three follow up shows to last year’s extremely popular gigs.
And once again, they proved they can rock just as much as they can act.
One Year Later
They shook things up a bit by adding some new tunes to the lineup and even a great introductory video courtesy of Laurie and supporting bass player Brad Savage.
They did, however, keep many of the hits from last year, including all of the witty banter and the up close and personal fan experience (i.e. jumping offstage to join the audience or having audience members join them).
The result was an even better, more solid performance than last year.
Why it Works
BFTV has pretty much nailed the winning combination: familiar faces performing great covers…with all the proceeds going to charity. It’s what attracted Fallsview to them in the first place for an initial run of shows that ended up being a huge launching point for the band.
“We have someone who looks for shows for us, and he had actually booked some other bands in here to play,” recalls Guiney. “He had mentioned us to them and they loved the idea that we did it for charity; that was the big starting point for the shows here. To be honest, at the time we weren’t really all that fired up about traveling to play because of our schedules. But it worked out and we had such an amazing time while we were here; they said they wanted to have us come back and we were really excited to get that chance.”
It also helps that they’re clearly a tight knit group, both on and off stage.
“We play together a lot more now,” says Guiney. “And spend a lot more time together. Everything we do, we’re closer and closer friends and better as a team.”
They also seem to know just what songs to cover that will showcase each band member’s talent best. In these most recent shows, the aforementioned Grimes blew everyone away with The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” and Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Guiney’s husky, sexy vocals ruled on Van Morrison’s “Wild Night”, Denton had all the ladies in a flutter with Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac”, and, in a new twist to the lineup, Pasdar kicked some Irish jig tail with his rendition of Charlie Robison’s “John O’Reilly”. Not to mention the team effort, led by Laurie, on Billy Preston’s “Will it Go Round in Circles”.
Then there was Jesse Spencer and his fiddle. From Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down to Georgia” to The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly”, Spencer added such a unique flavour that just isn’t seen with most cover bands. Awesome.
Finding the right material takes work, though, and often a few good listens.
Denton explains: “When I first heard ‘C’est La Vie’, I sent Chris Kelly (musical director and guitarist for BFTV) a note saying ‘You’ve got to be kidding me; this is the most redundant song I’ve ever heard. But when Hugh does it, and you get a little funky thing going on, it works and now I love it. We’ll take a song, one that’s kind of a boring, overdone garage band cover and make it cool, and that’s fun.”
The Band…and the Reason Why
“Fun” seems to be the governing atmosphere with these guys. From snort-worthy short jokes targeting Grimes to constant, good-natured ribbing at Pasdar (not exactly sure why, but entertaining nonetheless), they come off a lot more like brothers than band members. And what seems to unite them above all is their passion for giving back. Now having contributed an astounding $3.5 million to numerous charities, they rock for more reasons than their musical talent. These three shows at Fallsview alone saw donations to flood relief in Australia and organizations such as Epilepsy Foundation, The Taia Peace Foundation, Toronto’s SickKids Hospital, and many more.
Which is also the reason the band will always be secondary to their day jobs. “Once it becomes a job, it’s over,” explains Pasdar. “Right now we don’t rely on it for our livelihoods, and that’s actually what makes it so much fun; there’s no pressure.”
“Besides,” adds Spencer. “We’d have to change our name and become Band that Used to be on TV”.
Source: Suite 101