Live review: Pam and Mark Schaff
Photos: Pam and Mark Schaff
Back in June, at the Maryland Doom fest, we got a glimpse of what we were going to see at the Captain Beyond show in Niagara Falls, New York. And we couldn’t wait for this one to get here. Headed up by the only founding member, legendary drummer Bobby Caldwell, this band was a supergroup before such a term had been coined. Having members from Iron Butterfly (Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt and Lee Dorman) and singer Rod Evans (Deep Purple), drummer Bobby Caldwell (Johnny Winter) they set the music industry on fire by doing something different. Captain Beyond gained a rabid cult following over the years, as their sound was very unique at a time in the early to mid 70’s, where music could be predictable and generic. Their sound was a mix of Hard Rock, Jazz Fusion, Prog Rock, and perhaps a little blues for good measure. Captain Beyond came out swinging with a sound all their own. Sadly Larry & Lee are no longer with us and Rod Evans has been out of the music business for over 30 years. Which left Bobby will some rather large shoes to fill.
Don’t let the fact that Bobby is the only original member scare you away from this band. Today’s version may not have all those big names to drop any more, but the talent Captain Beyond brings to the stage every night is more than capable of putting on an outstanding show. I think Larry and Lee are grinning from ear to ear somewhere from the great beyond seeing these songs brought back to life, and being performed on stage once again. Bobby has been meticulous in assembling a phenomenal group of musicians to do the great Captain Beyond songs the justice they deserve. The band features Bobby Caldwell (drums, vocals), Don Bonzi (guitar/vocals), Simon Lind (guitar/lead vocals), Jeff “The Count” Artabasy (bass/vocals), Corey Kertzie (percussion) and Jamie Holka (guitar/vocals). This show was about to start! Captain Beyond was up on stage, Captain Beyond…… is Now!
This show was special for the Niagara Falls crowd, and more so for hometown guitarist Jamie Holka, who had this place packed with family and friends. But if you’re a legendary drummer, what would be the best way to start a show you say? How about a drum solo to get the crowd involved right from the start. Bobby wasted no time showing he still has the goods and can bring it with the best of them. The music kicks in with the songs ‘Slow Blues’, ‘Oblivion’ and “Distant Sun’. Drawing the crowd in instantly with some great tunes, before kicking into the classic song ‘Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)’ from the self-titled debut album from 1972. If you weren’t riled up before it started, you were by the end of this song that’s for sure.
After blasting through the song ‘Everything’s A Circle’ they get to ‘Sufficiently Breathless’, both of which come from the second album from 1973 of the same name as the latter. Simon Lind does an amazing job on lead vocals and the rest of the guys make ‘Sufficiently Breathless’ one of the highlight’s of the night with their incredible harmonies. All the guys sing which makes for such a great sound, their harmonies blend seamlessly together and complement each other nicely. Bobby didn’t play on the second album but brings a handful of the songs into the live show for good reason, they’re still great tunes that people love to hear. They continue to hammer out songs like ‘Thousand Days Of Yesterday’ and ‘Frozen Over’ until they hit the Yardbirds cover of ‘White Summer’. Bobby says it’s time for Don Bonzi and Jamie Holka to take over, and on this night, Jamie Holka made his hometown of Niagara Falls proud! It was his night to shine, and shine he certainly did. Jamie is a truly gifted guitar player. Don & Jamie leave the audience roaring with a lengthy applause. Thanks to Captain Beyond, the rest of the world can now see what the Buffalo/Niagara region has known for years, that Jamie Holka is the real deal! He’s such a tremendous talent.
At this point in the show, Bobby Caldwell steps out from behind the kit, and Corey Kertzie (also local to Buffalo) takes over on drums, while Bobby takes the lead on vocals. Not only is he a great drummer, but he’s also an incredible vocalist. Damn, can he sing! Bobby proves it on the next couple songs ‘Night Train’ and ‘Star Glow Energy’ before moving back behind the kit to finish up the set with the great rocking tune ‘Raging River Of Fear’.
For their encore they jump back into the music with four more songs, ‘Mesmerization Eclipse’ and ‘Saturn’, start off the encore with a frenzied pace. And after finishing the night with ‘Harlem’ and ‘I Can’t Feel Nothing, Part II’, the crowd shows its appreciation with a standing ovation. The band takes it final bows onstage, and Bobby tells the audience to hang around so the band can meet fans, shows what a gracious and humble man he is. This great show has come to an end, but a great night of amazing music will stay with us for ever.
Captain Beyond is still on the road be sure to catch them on tour. This show sold out in 13 minutes, so make sure to get your tickets fast when they come through your town. They deserve to play to sold out venues every night. The band sounds amazing, they sound tight and the guys have a great grasp of what the music should sound like. They will be back here in November, but unfortunately, we have another show that night already scheduled, or we’d be there for sure. Bobby Caldwell was kind enough to sit down and do an interview with us earlier in the day. He talked with us about his past bands, working with some of the greatest musicians of the seventies, and where Captain Beyond is going from here. Be sure to check it out soon!
Dancing Madly Backwards
Everything’s A Circle
Thousand Days Of Yesterday
White Summer (Yardbirds Cover)
Star Glow Energy
Raging River Of Fear
I Can’t Feel Nothing, Part II