Sunday, December 31, 2017

Concerts in 2017

I won't attempt to list all the concerts I went to, particularly the classical ones.  I'm sure I could probably reconstruct it, but it seems too much of a bother.  (I also don't think I wrote a year-end round-up of concerts for 2016, which would have included one of the final Hip shows and Sarah McLachlan at the Toronto Jazz Fest. Also, Steve Reich at 80 was a once-in-a-lifetime event.)

Relatively early in the year, I saw the Kronos Quartet in March, though they were only on for part of the show, as I mentioned here.

April I saw Dengue Fever opening for Tinariwen!  This was a great show, despite the somewhat uncomfortable seating at Massey Hall.  This is quite likely the last time I will be there before it is shut down for reconstruction, though I suppose I might be tempted to come out if an amazing act turns up.

At the end of April, I saw Amici doing Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.  I actually saw them play the same piece (one of my favourites) back in 1994!  How time flies...

I actually saw two performances of Carmina Burana.  I somewhat preferred the local version (in a church right on Danforth) that used a reduced score for percussion quartet, two pianos and a few string instruments, at least in part because I sat closer and also because I took my son, who was totally blown away.  It didn't hurt that the percussion quartet was TorQ, who did some of their own pieces in the first half of the show.  The full orchestral version, by the TSO, in June was also good, but not as much of a special event.

In September, we saw Depeche Mode at the ACC, which was a good show, though I do wish they had played a bit more off of Playing the Angel.

I also saw Lowest of the Low at the Danforth Music Hall.  This was the CD release party for Do the Right Now, so they played a lot of songs off that album, including my favourite track: "Powerlines."

In October, we went back to the Danforth Music Hall and saw the Psychedelic Furs.  This was a fun show, where they definitely played all the hits.  We had a good time and felt almost twenty (well late twenties) again.

In Nov. I saw Arcade Fire at the ACC.  This was a great show, and it really made me appreciate the last album, Everything Now, much more.*  I was fairly disturbed by the too-friendly woman standing next to me (and yes we had to stand the entire concert because everyone in our section was standing) who kept talking to me and occasionally trying to get me to dance and was generally not very respectful of my personal space (such as it was).

The day before U.S. Thanksgiving, I went and saw 54-40 (for the first time ever) at the Horseshoe Tavern (also my first time there).  It was a great show, though it did take the lead singer a bit of time to really get going.  My biggest regret was that my neighbours and I had tried to coordinate but ultimately went on different nights...

Then just a few nights ago I went and saw The Lowest of the Low again, but at the Horseshoe this time.  It almost didn't happen.  I kind of dithered around for a while, then when I went to buy tickets, the show was sold out!  On the day of the concert, I was looking up something about the band and I saw that someone on Twitter was trying to sell a ticket.  It took a bit of back and forth, and I didn't pick up the ticket until the very last minute, but I managed to get in -- and get a seat at one of the tables towards the back.

It was another excellent show.  No one has posted the set list yet, but hopefully they will.  They didn't play as many songs off Do the Right Now.  Of course, they did play "Powerlines." There's a small chance that they played "Gerona Train" again.  But then the other songs were not the ones they played at Danforth Music Hall.  I know they played "The Hard Way" and I'm pretty sure "Minuteman" and just possibly "Sister Jude."  I don't think they played "Something to Believe In" or "California Gothic," which is too bad, as those are good songs, but perhaps just a bit too "soft" for a rocking show.  Off of Hallucigenia they played "City Full of Cowards," "Black Monday" and probably "Eating the Rich" and "Beer, Graffiti Walls."  They didn't play "Gamble," which they played back in September.  From Sordid Fiction, they played "The Last Recidivist" and possibly "Giulietta The Just."  Somewhat surprisingly, they didn't play "The Kids Are All Wrong."  I guess they just haven't integrated this into their live shows.  Of course, most people were there to hear songs off of Shakespeare My Butt, and the band didn't disappoint: "Salesmen, Cheats and Liars," "Bleed a Little While Tonight," "Under the Carlaw Bridge," "Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes" (first time I heard Carlaw Bridge or this one live -- and it was certainly cold enough to justify it) and then the final song of the encore was "Rosy and Grey."  There are a few that they probably played, but I am just not enough of a fan to know the songs instantly while they were playing them.  So they probably played "For the Hand of Magdelena" or "The Taming of Carolyn," but I don't think they played both.  They probably played "Just About 'The Only' Blues" and maybe another song or two.  I do hope someone puts up a solid set-list before too long.**  Anyway, I've heard two quite good shows, with one basically ringing out 2017, and that may be sufficient for me, though never say never.

Sadly, one can't do or see everything.  I generally had been following TorQ but there was a long stretch where they hadn't updated their concert schedule, so I missed a CD release concert back in Nov. (the day before the 54-40 concert, so I might not have gone anyway) and apparently, they are doing a New Year's Eve concert, probably starting right about now!  While that would have been incredibly cool, it is up in Richmond Hill and the odds of me going to that are 0%.  I do see they have a few shows that I might be able to make in 2018, so I'll try to pencil those in, along with the other interesting concerts that should make 2018 a worthy successor to 2017.

Happy New Year!!!

* Edit (1/1/2018) I keep forgetting to post this photo.  We ran across this logo painted in a lot on Danforth, not far from Greenwood.  It certainly looks like part of a guerilla marketing campaign for Arcade Fire's Everything Now, but there wasn't any indication of how to follow up to buy the band's merchandise.  Also, this was pretty far from the ACC, so again I don't really get it.

** Setlist posted here.  I do have a few quibbles.  I simply do not remember California Gothic, but maybe they played a different arrangement that didn't start with three-part harmony.  Doesn't really matter.  A fine show, and I'm glad I made it.

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