‘Taking care of business’

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 1999


Monday, August 09, 1999

C.F. Turner was only half joking when he told the capacity crowd he hoped his band wouldn’t blow them out of the stands. &uot;But, that’s kind of our business,&uot; said the Bachman Turner Overdrive front man.

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BTO took care of business Saturday night, wowing a standing room only audience during the first of two shows at the Freeborn County Fair.

A solid force in rock and roll for more than 20 years, BTO remains internationally known and one of the top live acts on tour today. They have two of the most air-played songs on radio, &uot;Taking Care of Business,&uot; and &uot;You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,&uot; and have five songs in the top 20 most requested songs on classic rock radio.

BTO’s music can also be heard on television commercials, with the Turner classic &uot;Roll On Down The Highway&uot; for Toyota, and &uot;Taking Care Of Business&uot; for Office Depot.

Three of the four original band members remain: Turner, a singer and bass player who wrote many of BTO’s top hits; Blair Thornton, singer and guitarist who co-wrote several hit songs; and Robin Bachman, who was once voted most energetic stage show for a rock drummer.

The lone addition to the original group – replacing Randy Bachman – is guitarist Randy Murray, who’s been with the band for six years.

The guys seemed intent on getting the sound just right Saturday night, keeping the gates locked until 6:55 p.m. for a scheduled 7 p.m. show while technicians and the road crew fine-tuned the sound system.

The crowd was typical for a Freeborn County Fair grandstand act, spanning several generations.

By 7:10 p.m. the stands were full and BTO was introduced, launching into its first big hit, &uot;Let It Ride,&uot; on which Turner’s distinct vocals, Thornton’s crafty guitar work and Bachman’s unmistakable back beat seemed to turn back the clock a quarter century. BTO sounded as fresh and crisp as ever.

Fans were smiling, clapping and bobbing in their seats – a preview of things to come.

&uot;Hello Albert Lea, we’re glad to be here,&uot; said Turner as the first song ended. &uot;This is Freeborn County, great country. We’re going to play some rock and roll for you.&uot;

The band followed with &uot;Take It Like A Man,&uot; and, after the only unrecognizable number of the night, played the first of many tunes in which the majority of the audience participated.

&uot;Are you ready to do some singing tonight?&uot; asked Thornton. &uot;O.K., we’ll start you with something easy.&uot;

After the fans joined in for &uot;Hey You,&uot; Turner told the crowd it was great to be in Albert Lea for more than one reason – not the least of which was the weather.

&uot;It’s a great night out here,&uot; he said. &uot;We were in Pensacola, Fla. last night and the heat index was 102 at 10 p.m.&uot;

Turner then introduced a song about a man from Saskatchewan – BTO’s home land.

&uot;Blue Collar&uot; remains as appropriate now as it did when Turner wrote it. BTO was and is a blue collar band. Turner wore blue jeans, a T-shirt covered by an unbuttoned shirt and an old floppy hat. Thornton looked like Neil Young, with his black pants and a blue jean jacket adorned with a red &uot;Fender&uot; patch.

The only real flashiness came from Bachman, who performed a lengthy, extremely intense drum solo during the hard-rocking, guitar-pounding &uot;Four Wheel Drive.&uot;

The set also included the rock classic, &uot;House Of The Rising Sun.&uot;

After his drum solo, Bachman had the crowd standing, clapping and yelling &uot;Hey!&uot; on cue.

Everyone remained on their feet for the rest of the show, swinging, swaying, singing and dancing to &uot;You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet&uot; and &uot;Taking Care Of Business.&uot;

Though some fans filed out as the band bid good night, most everyone remained standing, yelling and demanding one more song.

BTO answered, cranking up the volume for the high-powered &uot;Roll On Down The Highway.&uot;

One last time, BTO took care of business.