In the seventies, Adelaide band, Buffalo Drive, flirted with the big time. They had one of their singles reach the national Top Ten chart and were signed to a major label. Things did not go so well for the band after that, and like so many other bands before and since, they split up and each member subsequently pursued their different life paths and slowly drifted away from each other.
After a query from a local radio announcer during an interview a few years ago about how many band members were still alive, and with most of the band in their seventies, they all re-established contact and are back playing their catalogue with passion and a discernible joy at being able to share a stage together once again.
After their planned 2020 reunion gig fell through due to a certain virus rearing its ugly head, the band finally played a series of shows at last year’s Fringe to very positive reviews.
In the twelve months since then the band have been making the most of their rekindled passion for making music together – culminating in a new show; a live album of last year’s gigs released this month, and another album – recorded live in the studio – imminent in the next month or so.
This year’s performance, whilst retaining the same three set chronological overview of the band’s career, was not a mere carbon copy repeat of last year’s show.
This time out, the band included a number of new songs, as well as tunes dusted off from the band’s heyday but that had not been given an airing in 2021.
There seemed to be fewer cover versions this year and those that were included proved diverse and interesting choices – some traditional folk tunes; songs from The Doors, Barry McGuire and Mary Hopkin, plus a wonderful acapella rendition of an old gospel tune originally sung by the Freedom Singers on Martin Luther King’s Freedom March.
Musically, the band are much tighter this year, obviously a result of a longer period of getting used to playing together again after such a long hiatus, and, given that most of the band are multi-instrumentalists, the sound they generate is varied and always engaging.
Along with the new songs, there is also a newer, more sophisticated, video and slide back drop to the show covering the changes in popular culture that have occurred across the decades since the band first formed. In fact, the multimedia element of this year’s show was quite elaborate. Along with the sound and vision coming from the stage, each table in the venue had colouring in activities for the kids (or the young at heart), paper sculpture templates, full colour fliers and business cards all based on the band’s emblem and logo. At the merchandise stall there were also band t-shirts and tote bags available, and they have even gone so far as to print their own Buffalo Drive currency!
The band will play one more show at this year’s Fringe and, given that the there would be few better options for local music fans to attend on a lazy Sunday afternoon, that show deserves to be a sell-out.
Rating: 4 stars
The Evolution Of Buffalo Drive…Continues was presented at the Osmond Terrace Function Centre (Norwood Hotel) on Sunday 6 March 2022, at 3pm.
There is one more performance scheduled at this year’s Adelaide Fringe at the same venue on Sunday 20 March at 3pm.
Tickets available here: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/the-evolution-of-buffalo-drive-continues-af2022
The Buffalo Drive live CD, Buffalo Drive Alive! can be streamed or purchased from Bandcamp here: https://buffalodrive.bandcamp.com/album/buffalo-drive-alive