They may be aging, but their songs are timeless.
That’s the impression left by The Stampeders as they rocked the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre stage to a sold-out crowd of 750 Saturday night like it was the ’70s.
Comprised of the original trio of Ronnie King towing the bass line, Rich Dodson on his iconic double neck axe and B.C. boy Kim Berly with the kit, the lads rocked hits that took them to international acclaim in the ’70s, like the quintessential Stampeders track Sweet City Woman, which composer Dodson slid in without introduction.
Not that the track needs any introduction. Even without the foot-stomping banjo line, which Dodson intentionally rocked as if it was a classic six-string acoustic instead of the traditional plucking of the down-home tool, Sweet City Woman drew perhaps the biggest applause for a single song during The Stampeders entire two-set and roughly two-hour performance.
And, despite their grey hair and frequent pauses to rest their feet, the lads sound as sharp on their CanCon classic dittie as they did in 1973.
With King and Berly acting as stage leads, The Stamps didn’t miss a beat, frequently jesting about their senior-hood.
“Just want to let you know that he’s (King) having a senior’s moment,” laughed Berly. “He’s mistaken that stool for a toilet.”
Their camaraderie on stage was apparent. Despite splitting in 1977 after reaching international heights, The Stampeders — or, King suggested, Guys Without Waists — regrouped in 1992 and continue to rock their classic hits and enliven the stage with a smooth combination of tunes and stand up comedy.
“We’re going to take you back to the ’70s,” said King, the ladies’ man. “Soon, someone’s going to get naked. Next time it will be all in spandex.”
King, at his root, is an entertainer who busts his moves frequently before having a senior’s moment and taking a seat mid Running Wild. And, more importantly, he’s dedicated to the cause.
“Did you notice some of my moves? Some of the babes check me out when I start using my moves,” King deadpanned as he slowly rocked back-and-forth.
In King’s attempt to pick up more ladies, he and Dodson switched instruments in the second set, because, as he said, the bassist never gets the gal.
“Any hens who want to take a run at him, he’s single,” laughed Berly from behind his impressive kit.
“Our groupies have turned into droopies,” King jested.
Clad all in black, with Dodson donning his best pair of sunglasses, The Stampeders still look like they’re ready to rock. And they are. The sold-out show fell at the midpoint of their 13-stop southern B.C. tour.
“We’re going to go back and do some drugs. Not the ones you think, but the ones they make us take,” King said. “Sometimes we get battle scars, but it’s all worth it. We’re still rocking.”
And don’t let their grey hair and senior’s moments fool you: these lads still have it.