Words & Deeds

Michael Deeds: The future of Alive After Five, which ends season next week

Michael Deeds
Michael Deeds

Autumn technically doesn’t start until Sept. 23, but let’s face it: When Alive After Five is done, it’s time to start sticking a (tuning) fork in summer.

The final Alive After Five of the year is Aug. 26. The concert will feature “smart-pop” band Phases, singer-songwriter Greg Holden and local opener Edmond Dantes.

It’s sad to see it end. But it’s a considerable feat that Alive After Five happened at all this year. After rumors circulated that it might have to be relocated because of jackhammers and hard hats nearby, the 13-show season went on as usual — albeit in a tighter part of The Grove plaza.

“Overall we’re pretty pleased considering the construction restraints,” Downtown Boise Association Executive Director Karen Sander says. “The space is definitely constrained, so you can only put so many folks in. But I think we outdid ourselves when we did the Basque Night. We threw in a few more thousand folks, and I think it was fine.”

Only one Alive After Five headliner got rained out. Not bad. Of course, it had to be The Suffers, definitely the soul-music highlight of the season. (Boise promoter Duck Club Presents is still in talks with the band to arrange a makeup date of some sort.) Oh, and smokin’ blues singer-guitarist Albert Cummings, also on the initial Alive After Five schedule, got quietly replaced because of a tour routing change.

So what about next year?

The plan is to keep Alive After Five in The Grove plaza, which is supposed to receive some improvements soon itself. Those should be done by June 1, 2016.

“But,” Sander added, “you know what construction is like.”

Eyes of a stranger

Love is a battlefield, Pat Benatar says. Well, so is touring. Fans found that out the hard way this week when Benatar backed out of her Western Idaho Fair performance Aug. 28. Her guitar-playing husband, Neil Giraldo, recently had emergency eye surgery necessitating multiple cancellations.

The news is a heartbreaker for Benatar fans. The scrambling Fair has booked progressive heavy-metal band Queensryche as a last-minute replacement. Or, more accurately, Queensryche’s drummer, bassist and guitarist sans the group’s original singer and best-known ax slinger. They’ve been replaced.

If you’re a Queensryche purist, you’re letting out a giant deflating-balloon sound. I get it. But I think the Fair hit us with their best shot.

It’s not unusual for a shell of a band to perform at a county fair. It definitely won’t keep thousands of Pronto Pup-fueled fairgoers from flooding into the grandstands to watch the rejiggered quintet unleash “Eyes of a Stranger” (1988), “Jet City Woman” (1990) or “Silent Lucidity” (1990).

Buy another tall cup of overpriced Budweiser. You won’t even mind that original Queensryche singer Geoff Tate is missing. He reached a legal settlement with his ex-band last year and now leads a separate group called Operation: Mindcrime. (Two Queensryches were touring prior to that.) You might even forget that talented songwriter and guitarist Chris DeGarmo quit Queensryche back in 1997. (He’s probably the smart one.)

Most. Fans. Just. Don’t. Notice. (Or care.) In 2013, a whopping 9,000 people headed to Expo Idaho to see Foreigner, which had one original member left (guitarist Mick Jones). It was more stunning that 3,500 fans showed up that same year for The Guess Who, which should be renamed The Guess Who Still Is In The Band.

The only question I have for the Fair is: Was Carrot Top just not available, guys?

Tour de Fat rocks again

Tour de Fat, the annual bicycle and beer bash held in Ann Morrison Park, was a hit Aug. 15 — as usual.

Organizer New Belgium Brewing Co. says about 10,500 people attended the bike parade, which literally snaked through its route. “The head of the parade was about 30 minutes in front of the tail,” says Boise Bicycle Project Executive Director Jimmy Hallyburton.

The same number of revelers attended the beer-and-music festival afterward, according to New Belgium.

So what does it mean for Boise bicycle nonprofits, which get money from the fundraiser? About $65,000.

Tour de Fat has raised more than $450,000 in Boise during the past 14 years.

Those are wheelie-poppin’ numbers.

Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene and alternating Sundays in Explore. He co-hosts “The Other Studio” at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.