Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings delights a sold-out crowd at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Monday as he brought his Up Close and Alone tour to the North Okanagan. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Music icon wows Vernon

Burton Cummings captivated the sold-out crowd at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Monday

Burton Cummings didn’t disappoint.

As soon as the music legend walked out on the stage, he captivated the sold-out crowd at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Monday.

And the Up Close and Alone tour was truly that as the Winnipeg-born Cummings was without a band.

“It’s just an Irish old age pensioner at a Japanese piano,” joked Cummings, who will turn 70 Dec. 31.

“I’m hoping to bring back some memories.”

And he didn’t waste any time doing that by opening with the 1981 single You Saved My Soul.

He then moved on to some hits from his Guess Who era, including Sour Suite, and then he regaled the crowd with a story of him and Randy Bachman separately writing two songs in the same key. They were eventually squashed together into No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature.

Along the way, classics from the great Canadian song book had the audience singing along and tapping their feet — from Laughing and Clap for the Wolfman to I Will Play A Rhapsody and Stand Tall.

He also paid tribute to some of the big influences in his career by taking a crack at Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife and The Platters’ Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

But beyond the music, what was revealed was Cumming’s keen sense of humour.

And there was perhaps no better example of this than when he decided to ably impersonate Gordon Lightfoot singing Rod Stewart’s Maggie May. With the crowd howling and clapping, Cummings left the piano and began bouncing towards the front of the stage, where he took several bows.

“Pretty silly stuff,” he said.

But it wasn’t all fun and games as Cummings got serious when he played I’m Scared, a favourite of his mother’s. As a child, Cummings watched mom Rhoda beaten by his biological father.

“My mom had the guts to grab me and get out of there,” he said, adding that he felt comfortable telling the personal story.

“This is a beautiful room to sit and sing in and you’re a pretty good crowd.”

Cummings wrapped up the performance with Break It To Them Gently, his one song that has been played on Canadian radio more than any other.

“It pinched a nerve of so many people,” he said.

But that could be said about the entire evening as Cummings rekindled memories, not only of music but of days gone by. The word icon is often thrown around but Vernon truly learned what an icon is Monday night.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Major Rotary gift supports nursing education at Kelowna post-secondary schools

Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) are each receiving $50,000

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant soccer ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Queen Silver Star tradition upheld despite COVID-19

Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Armstrong and Enderby youth can apply

Class resumption raises challenges for Central Okanagan schools

Education ministry directive to resume K-12 classes Sept. 8 creating many questions

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

Kelowna real estate agent fined $6,500 for ‘misleading’ website

The website listed several services its owner was not licensed to provide

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read