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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Happenings on the Scene - Kenny Shields and Streetheart ready to rock Virden

The iconic rockers, Streetheart, are bringing their catalogue of classics to Tundra Oil and Gas Place Saturday, giving Manitoba’s oil capital its first taste of “arena rock” at an all-ages social.

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The iconic rockers, Streetheart, are bringing their catalogue of classics to Tundra Oil and Gas Place Saturday, giving Manitoba’s oil capital its first taste of “arena rock” at an all-ages social. (SUBMITTED)

They’re still out on the road and gigging consistently — in other words, doing it one ... more ... time!

But this is a first. Saturday will mark the first time Kenny Shields and Streetheart back the trucks up to set up their show in Virden, Manitoba.

Billed as a "summer concert" with a social-like setup, the show to be held at Tundra Oil and Gas Place will be every bit like an arena rock concert, complete with a light and sound rig that is capable of giving attendees a true "arena rock" experience at a fraction of the cost.

With ticket prices at $35.50, this is one show not to miss.

"Ticket sales have been steady and we’re prepared for a great show as Kenny and the boys always deliver," said Ray Walker, community events planner for the town of Virden. "This event has created quite the buzz here in the Virden area."

Extra ticket outlets have been made available, including Virden School and Office Supply, the Virden town office or online at www.oilcapshockey.com.

The setup will include a dance floor close to the stage on the ice level, which Walker says will give ticket holders a chance to get closer to the action.

"Ticket holders have the option of sitting in the stands to check out the concert or getting closer to the sound if they want to do some dancing, but I’m sure that won’t stop fans from dancing in the stands."

Another plus for ticket holders looking to "have a few" will be the three-bar setup, which Walker is confident will cut down on wait times in lineups. The arena canteen will also be open and patrons can purchase the usual arena menu items.

Tickets will be made available for sale at the door, which open at 6 p.m.

It will be an all-ages event, with a licensed area.

Brandon’s newest party rock band Fargen Gruben kicks off the live music portion of the evening at 8 p.m. Kenny Shields and Streetheart are expected to begin their show at 9:30. (All times are approximate and may change without notice.)

We hope to see you there!

Shortly after confirming they would be playing this gig, Kenny Shields agreed to the following interview with yours truly. It was a great chat considering I just called him out of the blue. This is an edited version but fans can check out the unedited version on my Soundcloud account if they search Frank McGwire. Enjoy.

FM: Kenny, we are stoked that you are going to come and play Virden on Saturday, June 14. Your first time playing Virden — let’s hear it for that. After all these years, there’s probably not many places on the map that you haven’t played.

KS: Absolutely. And you know how many times I’ve driven through or by Virden? Around 187,000 times ... Now I’m gonna pull over!

FM: Heading out through Canada on all those Streetheart tours over the last 30 ... how many years now?

KS: Oh, at least 35.

FM: So that’s a lot of miles on the old tour bus.

KS: It’s a lot of miles and a lot of flights ... walking, running, driving, flying.

FM: You should write a book about your travels through Canada.

KS: Well, I’ve often been approached to write a book but it hasn’t tweaked me yet. When it does, I’ll probably do one. But I shouldn’t wait too long because I might pass, ya know. (Laughs)

FM: (Laughs) No no no! You guys can’t sit down and write because you’re too busy rockin’ the country here.

KS: If I was retired rather than semi, I’d be writing probably ... but ya! I’m still too busy.

FM: So you consider yourself to be a semi-retired Canadian rock legend?

KS: I don’t even think I’m semi-retired — it’s terminology I can use at my age.

FM: Summer is shaping up to be a busy one for (Kenny Shields) and Streetheart as always. Lots of festivals going and fairs and rodeos and what-not. And for the first time in Virden, you guys get to rock Tundra Oil and Gas Place to its core!

KS: Wow! So in other words, there’s an expectation of many people.

FM: I tend to believe you are correct, sir. The first show they had in the arena a couple three years ago was a CMT-styled country show. So your concert will be the first official rock show.

KS: That’s great, I’d like to go to that one. (Laughs)

FM: How do you feel about playing Virden for the first time?

KS: It’s fun to head in to new territory and see how it goes. So, here we come Virden!

FM: OK, so over 35 years of performing and doing all your songs, you’ve got such a varied back catalogue of great classic rock. Do you treat all of your songs as your babies? You know, treat them all alike — or are there songs that after all this time, you say, "ya know, maybe we’ll skip that one tonight"?

KS: Oh yeah, that happens regularly. But no, it’s just OK. Listen, I would rather do a "Miss Plaza Suite" rather than Cherie, for example ("Hot Cherie" from the Buried Treasure album released in 1984). Things like that happen, but normally we run a pretty significant set list and it’s pretty rigid. However, flexible for change always.

FM: What’s your favourite encore to pull out? Do you have a set one or do you have a list of those?

KS: I’ve done many different encores over the years, different songs — but "Action" seems to be the most consistent, off Meanwhile Back in Paris.

FM: Yeah, that song kicks a serious amount of butt. So you can’t go wrong with that!

KS: If I can say this without sounding like I’m blowing smoke, it’s a very legendary song ... a classic song. It’s been accepted as a classic song right across the country. It’s just one of those songs that’s got a Streetheart stamp.

FM: For sure — it’s just the way the composition builds up nicely and the intensity in the room builds up as well, whenever you guys play it.

KS: It’s a fun, yet very challenging song to sing. Sometimes I say, geez, I don’t think we should do this one tonight — but we always do.

FM: How do you psyche yourself up for that big howl at the end of "Action"?

KS: That’s usually something that takes a lot of…. uh, guts and glory. Hopefully you’ve got that howl stuck somewhere. (Laughs)

FM: In the Kenny Shields and Streetheart back catalogue some of the bigger ones have been cover songs — "Under My Thumb" comes to mind. "Tin Soldier" — I love that one. Now you’ve probably done other covers on a live setting because I have seen you quite a few times over the years. Are there any new covers you guys like to rock out to just for a change?

KS: Sometimes we stretch out songs, like "Here Comes the Night" — we let that little middle part go, jam a little bit with it. But no, there’s nothing really new. If there’s anything new, it’s usually part of our catalogue that we haven’t played for a while and have a run at it. That’s always cool.

FM: What is your favourite song to play live, Kenny?

KS: Well, as you can tell, it’s not consistent. So, for lack of a better source of intelligence from within, my favourite song changes from day to day. But I do like playing "Miss Plaza Suite." Some people consider it a dark song — I consider just a song that stands tall today, with the reality of the way things are going. There are always missing children and runaways and so on, and I think I dedicate that song in my heart to those kids who don’t know what’s happening to them. That’s deeper than anybody else would interpret it, so it’s a good song, a challenging song — it has a different kind of feel. But anyway, that’s my story and I’ll stick with Plaza. However, "One More Time" is always fun and a great song to play. It’s a great dance song and I like to have people really involved with that. "Snow White" is always a big draw. I like certain songs because they do things to the audience — that’s what makes them favourites.

FM: In all those songs you mentioned, there are a lot of challenging vocal parts. At this stage of the game, how do you keep the voice in shape? What’s your secret?

KS: The secret is probably something I did a long time ago. I made a choice. It was a hard choice because it was right in the midst of the having-fun time. But I gave up smoking, I gave up drinking and I don’t party — because if you don’t drink, you don’t party. (Laughs) I go to parties, don’t get me wrong, but my late nights are no longer late. I’m very aware of my voice and what I do. Times have changed, obviously, physically and mentally for me but I figured if I wanted to keep on singing in my older years, these are the changes I had to make. So I started making those changes 20 to 25 years ago. I’m lucky to hit those notes! I’m lucky to be able to do the songs in the same keys that I recorded them 35 years ago. But while I’m lucky, I also know that I’ve done work to achieve that.

FM: You’ve got the tools of the trade, and here’s to you for keeping them sharp!

KS: Well ya, exactly! Now with all that, I’ll show up in Virden with a cold. (Laughs)

FM: (Laughs) Oh man!

KS: No, I won’t. I’ll be in fine shape.

FM: We look forward to seeing you rock Tundra Oil and Gas Place!

KS: Thanks, Frank, I can’t wait! Let’s fill that place up because the more people, the better one feels about what the hell one’s doing! (Laughs)

Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.

» Frank@961bobfm.ca

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 12, 2014

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They’re still out on the road and gigging consistently — in other words, doing it one ... more ... time!

But this is a first. Saturday will mark the first time Kenny Shields and Streetheart back the trucks up to set up their show in Virden, Manitoba.

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They’re still out on the road and gigging consistently — in other words, doing it one ... more ... time!

But this is a first. Saturday will mark the first time Kenny Shields and Streetheart back the trucks up to set up their show in Virden, Manitoba.

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