Blue Peter Displays A Wide Range Of Talent
BY MATTHEW FRASER
The Globe and Mail
FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 1984
BLUE PETER'S concert at the Ontario Place Forum last night amply demonstrated that the young Toronto band is one of the best live groups in the country and deserves to be reaching a wider audience outside Canada. The capacity crowd of about 12,000 must have been sufficiently inspiring, though, for the group was in excellent form, both with old songs and a few new and promising tunes.
Guitarist Chris Wardman is the creative force behind Blue Peter's music, but on stage tall, lanky singer Paul Humphrey is the lounge lizard frontman, with his Bryan Ferry greased flip of hair and loose thirties suit padded. at the shoulders. There is something affected about Humphrey's stage presence, and he does a lot of posing. But he swaggers confidently and the romantic lilt in his singing is perfect for bouncy pop songs such as Chinese Graffiti and the lyrically clever Video Verite. Last night the band did those and other old tunes such as Take Me To War, Burning Bridges and All Your Time, finishing with Falling and the single Don't Walk Past.
The best parts of the show, however, were the new songs. Blue Peter has been called an undiscovered Simple Minds, a comparison that seemed valid when the band performed Vertigo, Water Off The Moon and Into The Parade three excellent new tunes that indeed have the same rich, powerful sound as Simple Minds. Standing out was Vertigo in which the syncopated punch and thrash of Owen Tennyson's, drum kit chopped through Jason Sniderman's lush synthesizer textures while Humphrey's singing obviously owed something to Jim Kerr's sultry vocals. But Vertigo didn't come across as a Simple Minds rip-off any more than Kerr is a Jim Morrison mimic. Indeed, Blue Peter should be writing more songs like Vertigo and Into The Parade which demonstrated that the band is maturing artistically beyond its more trivial pop sound. Humphrey will reveal maturity as a performer when he works on his between song banter as effectively as he has polished his romantic posturing. He had nothing to say at all to the audience beyond asking if it was raining, and he appeared to be terrifically excited at being up there pulling it off in front of so many people.
There was one other more important flaw in the concert. At the opening, Blue Peter's instrumental music came over the sound system before the group came on. Dry ice started coming up from the stage and a cheer broke out. But then the smoke cleared, the music was still thumping away, but no group. Finally Humphrey and company showed up, but the timing was all wrong. Otherwise it was a superb show from a band that after two albums and three EPs can still be considered a group with a future. If the next Blue Peter album contains songs as good as Vertigo, the record might be for them what New Gold Dream was for Simple Minds.