Since the 2008 release of their underrated children's release Snacktime!, much has changed with the band, but through it all, they remain intact, albeit a quartet now, and there is no reason to expect this weekend's show to be unlike previous BNL concerts: fun and entertaining.
Soon after releasing Snacktime!, co-founder and co-lead vocalist Steven Page was arrested in July of 2008 on charges of cocaine position - not exactly the best way to promote a kid's CD. Some suggest it was the ultimate factor in his deciding to split from the band, something he had been mulling over before the bust. What is interesting to note about this locally is that Page played with the band the next night across the river at The Horseshoe Casino in Southern Indiana. I'm guessing War on Drugs was not on the set list that evening. That summer, the band's website showed support for Page, saying he pleaded not guilty ... which proved to be inaccurate. Just over a month later co-founder Ed Robertson crashed his small plane, but he and three passengers walked away unhurt. And just think this all happened a few years after VH-1 aired the Ladies' Behind the Music special.
In February 2009, Page officially left the band, which meant Robertson, Jim Creegan, Kevin Hearn, and Tyler Stewart were the remaining ladies. There was no discussion on trying to replace Page, no Ray Wilson taking over for Phil Collins in Genesis sort of issue to debate here. What remains are four musicians who claim to be an even tighter band than before and even better friends now. Adversity can either tear you up or make you stronger; it appears that for BNL, it has done the latter. As Bruce Dickinson told Gene Frenkle to do during the recording of (Don't Fear) the Reaper, explore the studio space. It seems that is what the band has done on the new record.
While it is definitely a Barenaked Ladies album, there are moments when All in Good Time doesn't sound like any other BNL record. Some may say the band gains an addition by subtraction, but that's tough to claim since Page was such an integral member whose voice helped define their sound. Yet, oddly enough, Hearn and Creegan have assumed more songwriting and vocal duties, and they are both excellent musicians. In fact, Creegan's On the Lookout and I Saw It are two of the album's best songs.
While both the band and Page have publically been amiable and gracious, it most likely has been a tough separation for both sides. On the first single You Run Away, Robertson writes "I tried to be your brother, you cried and ran for cover." This lead single is quite a bit better than some of their other lead singles over the past few years, i.e. Another Postcard and Easy. In fact, it ranks at the top of the band's most powerful songs alongside When I Fall and What a Good Boy. On How Long, Robertson sings "So give it up for anger; it makes us strong," and on Golden Boy, he declares, "Everyone sees right through you anyway." Not sure I'd be reading into anything to assume who those comments are directed toward. But if Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith can reunite as Tears For Fears after their less than cordial split, a reunion is certainly possible some day.
But the band is a four-piece now, and there's no reason to think that they won't be bringing the same fun, and fan-friendly show to town on Saturday that they have done in the past. They've got a big catalog to choose from and some fine new songs, too. So it sounds like taking in the show would make for a good Saturday Night out.