TOM COCHRANE/RED RIDER

Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa, Saturday, May 10, 2003

Veteran rocker White Hot playing for a Big League audience

It was a great weekend to be a tulip.
Last night, some 8,000 diehards took a pass on the big hockey game for Tom Cochrane and Red Rider.
In the end, with Cochrane keeping score between songs, no one seemed to miss the action at the Corel Centre one bit.
We’ve seen a lot of Cochrane lately, with the release of his greatest hits package Trapeze and his induction into the Juno hall of fame last month.
Still, Cochrane was anxious to start early so that he could squeeze a two-hour set into his designated 90 minutes.
Last night’s gig, their first for the Tulip Festival, was as good as Cochrane and Red Rider get, cranking out all the big numbers while kibbitzing generously whenever possible. Cochrane’s clearly a man who loves to communicate. Like the perennially cool older brother, he spins fatherly advice and exotic life adventures through thundering rockers like Life Is A Highway, Victory Day, Light In the Tunnel and the show’s opening number, This Is the World.
” Are you into tantric sets tonight?” he joked.

GENUINE AFFECTION

Apparently, many in the front row thought him serious. “I’m buying you a beer, Tom Cochrane,” one overly excited fan yelled during a sensitive acoustic version of an early Red Rider number, Avenue A.
Whatever his convoluted intentions, it was just one of many moments of genuine affection between the band and the fans.
Cochrane enjoys a rapport with the audience verging on familial, confiding details of his father’s death of Parkinsons last November on Just Like Ali, a grieving father’s dedication in Big League or, just like the proud father he is, introducing his road son Chris.
” I’m calling the Senators in six,” he boasted. “Yeah, 2006,” a less optimistic fan yelled back.
Closers White Hot, Life Is a Highway and his encore The Boy Inside the Man lit it up, making everyone in the front of the house feel like a member of the family.