Monday, May 25, 2009

weekend round-up of joel plaskett

This weekend was really all about one thing and one thing only.  That thing was Joel Plaskett at Massey Hall.  Dropped Sadie off with my folks and headed down to Toronto for yet another show at my very very favourite place to see live music.  It was brilliant as we expected.  I've seen a lot of shows at Massey Hall and this was easily one of the liveliest shows I've ever seen there.  At one point every one in that hall was standing and dancing - something I've never seen there.  There was even a tiny baby there who rocked out the whole time decked out in big red ear protector headphones!  Anyway, to avoid a giant diatribe on the greatness that is Joel Plaskett here are some key points that made the show great:
  • Joel Plaskett has zero ability to hide his enthusiasm.  If he is having fun, you can see it from the back of the room.  Playing Massey Hall made him practically giddy;
  • His father, Bill Plaskett playing that hall.  Just a regular guy with the extreme privilege of playing one of, if not the greatest music venues in this country.  If he wasn't looking at Joel, he was looking everywhere else.  And just smiling;
  • I've seen Joel solo, Joel plus one and  Joel plus 3.  Joel plus 5 though??? Genius.  Having Rose Cousins and Ana Ege as his back-up singers might have been the best decision he's ever made if only for the opportunity to see them adorably sing the ladies line in "Extraordinary";
  • Joel busting out a super stripped down of Thrush Hermit's Before You Leave.  Haven't heard that song in about, ohhh.......6 years?
  • Running into Peter Elkas out in front after the show and having what turned out to be the funniest conversation of the evening (email if you want the whole long story);
  • 2 separate sets: one acoustic, one with the full Emergency - complete with 2 different outfits;
  • I've seen Joel play tiny sweaty bars, outdoor festivals, conference showcases and now Massey Hall - he gives just as much effort for the tiny bar shows as he did Saturday night.  As an audience member, there are few performers that make you feel as appreciated as he does.  He honestly does make you feel like you made his night and not like he's done you a favour;
Whatever I can't muster with words, can be captured in video so here's some footage from the show.

Here's a clip of his great version of "Love This Town."  In Massey Hall tradition, he did come down and sing from the edge of the stage.  He even sang the new lyrics for sucky-baby Kelowna, B.C and even brought out Miniature Tim.

This is the acoustic version of "Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'" with the ladies

And this him doing Thrush Hermit's "Before You Leave."  A long-forgotten sad-ass song.  

If I HAD a complaint, it would have to be that he closed with the aptly titled "On and On and On."  It's just SO long and kinda loses momentum.  For me, if he would've closed with the INSANE version of "A Million Dollars" he did that pretty much brought the house down, I would have left floating.  And that he needs to buy some hipper shoes.  Seriously terrible shoes.  Other than that, it was 100% fun.  He is one of Canada's best songwriters and one of the few people you can call a true troubadour.

No comments: