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Glass Tiger frontman Alan Frew performs ’80s/’90s REWIND show at Opera House


Some forty years after they topped the Canadian pop charts with the song “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”, Glass Tiger continues to appear regularly at festivals, casinos, and soft-seat theatres across the country.

But front man Alan Frew will have something different for fans when he plays Toronto’s Opera House night club on Saturday, February 17. His “80’s>90’s<<REWIND!” show spans Eighties standards by Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, The Cult, and INXS (and of course Glass Tiger), and Nineties favourites from groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and REM.

“It will be the first time doing this kind of thing in Toronto,” he says, “people coming specifically to see “REWIND”.”

Killer band

“It will be a blast. The band is killer.”

The lineup includes background singer Carmela Long, guitarists Sean Kelly and Russell Gray, drummer Chris McNeill, bassist Tom Lewis, and keyboardists Matt Giffin and Peter Kadar.

Recent additions to the show include The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”, REM’s “Losing My Religion”, and The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There For You”.

A whole new generation attracted to ’80s and ’90s music

The show is inspired several years back by Frew looking out at Glass Tiger audiences and noticing there was, “a whole new generation of people coming out, attracted to the sounds of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.”

It also gains some inspiration from Frew’s 2015 release 80290 Rewind on Black Box Recordings. 80290 Rewind finds Frew taking on beloved 80’s tracks – a set of songs from the decade during which his Juno Award-winning, Grammy-nominated band, Glass Tiger, became one of the most popular bands in the world – including Thompson Twins’ Hold Me Now, Simple Minds ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, John Waite’s ‘Missing You’ and Glass Tiger’s ‘Someday’.

“They’re amazing songs,” Frew says, “Songs that I loved as a fan and now love even more of as a vocalist. Due to the production of the time, so many songs of the 80’s weren’t quite appreciated for just how beautiful and well crafted they are. So, in the studio, we let the voice lead the way and went with ‘less is more’ when it came to the band.”

“The eighties were an era where so much of the music was defined by positive emotions and ideas,” Frew adds.

Frew’s Britpop roots

This charming native of Coatbridge, Scotland was raised on Britpop like The Beatles, The Kinks, and the Police, And he says, for “REWIND, they’ve stripped down the heavy production of ‘80’s hits to reveal some similarly elegant melodies.

“I was a fan of the Sixties, and Seventies. The Eighties just found me. It was electric and vibrant,” he comments. “The Nineties added a sophistication, with bands like REM, and Pearl Jam. I love it.”

But make no mistake, the show’s primary appeal lies in today’s strong nostalgia for music from the Eighties.

“They’re great songs, and (people) want to hear those songs again,” Lewis observes.

“And Alan’s singing is so impeccable.”

Stroke recovery

A father of two, 67-year-old Frew has fully recovered from a minor stroke suffered in August of 2015, and is still singing in all of his original keys. The stroke happened after the final recording of his vocals on 80290 Rewind at his home studio in Ontario in late summer 2015. It occurred in his sleep, and left him with temporary paralysis on his right side. “I was thinking of my family and friends first and foremost, but the album, my voice and whether I’d be able to sing again weren’t far behind,” he says, “particularly having just captured what I felt were the best vocals of my life,” explains Frew.

Glass Tiger inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame

In September of 2023, Glass Tiger became one of thirteen Canadian rock acts from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s to be inducted into Canada’s Walk Of Fame at the local Massey Hall, reuniting with old friends like Trooper, Platinum Blonde, Loverboy, and April Wine.

“It was fabulous. Backstage, it was just so full of bands, and record company (executives), every two feet,” he relates. “It was very nostalgic. That was the last time I saw (April Wine singer) Myles Goodwyn (who died of cancer in December).”

He says the induction was equally meaningful to his family, who, “watched me walk out the door for years, or more.”

And while Glass Tiger racked up five Juno awards, had one Grammy nomination and two Top 10 Billboard hits, toured with superstars like Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, and Fleetwood Mac, and holds the Order of Canada and the Queen’s Jubilee Award, Frew is also an actor, author of the best-selling book ‘The Action Sandwich-A Six Step Recipe to Success by Doing What You’re Already Doing’. and philanthropist.

What’s next for Alan Frew

So, what’s coming up next?

“There’s always a ton of music on the go. And I’m working on a novel, actually,” he says.

Showtime is 8 p.m. at the Opera House, 735 Queen St. E., with Toronto comedian David Murray opening up.

by Mike Beggs

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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