Friday, December 30, 2016

Adventures in Live Music, with Munsi

In January, David Bowie passed away, and I was heartbroken.

In the aftermath of his passing, while talking to a friend about how I'd managed to see him play on his last tour before he had to stop touring, I promised myself I’d see more live music, rather than take for granted the idea that, if I missed a show, there’d always be another opportunity. Due to this policy, over the course of this past year I saw…

Joe Jackson, in support of a shockingly good Late-Career album, Fast Forward. I'm pretty sure were the youngest people in the crowd, which surprised me a little, Joe Jackson is a spectacular songwriter and a blast to see live. People my age and younger are missing out.

Mother Mother, at the Coke Stage at Stampede. Exact opposite experience, we were absolutely the oldest people in the crowd. At some point between then and now, Mother Mother went from playing the Coke Stage to selling out the Jubilee, I'm not sure what all happened in the interim, but good for them on what was apparently a very good year.

Peter Gabriel and Sting, with a huge thanks to Sarah. I assumed I wasn't going to be able to, and I'd have regretted it had that been the case, it was an incredible show. Peter Gabriel had always been a hero of mine, the man's a genius, and Sting was a blast as well...

The Tragically Hip. Most of us caught the Hip this year, I guess. At least, it feels that way. I cried, Gord cried, we all cried. It was a beautiful, connective experience that left me feeling very Canadian.

Duran Duran/Nils Rogers. Fun show, and I have NEVER seen so many women in their mid-late 40s absolutely killing it dancing as I did while watching Duran Duran play. A generation of women was sexually awakened in 1982 by Simon LeBon on Much Music, and they have still got it in them to fangirl out. Godspeed, women in your mid-late 40s, you are an inspiration to us all.

Echo & the Bunnymen. I will never in my life be able to thank Sue sufficiently for this show, or for the ten days that followed it. My trip to the UK was one of the most moving, connective experiences of my life, and I woke up my first day home feeling more serene than I have in a long while. This show wasn't the whole reason why, but connecting with my inner '80s anglophile high-school goth kid was certainly a major part of it. Plus, Ian McCulloch remains an awesome rock star to this day, which I always do appreciate...

The Dandy Warhols. I was going to see these guys in Calgary, instead I went to Edmonton to see them with Jen. She had to pull out last minute due to hilarious ID related hijinx, but I still got to hang out with her, I still saw the show (just didn't do both simultaneously) and it was still an absolute blast.

Our Lady Peace/I Mother Earth, and Chelsea gets credit for this one, I wouldn't have thought to go to this show had she not taken me, and I'm very glad I did. OLP, it turns out, kill it live, and having seen them deepened my appreciation of a classic Canadian '90s band that I otherwise hadn't given enough credit.

Elvis Costello and wow, this was a bucket list show for me. Elvis is one of a handful of artists that I legitimately could listen to nonstop for 24 hours off my current music collection and never hear the same song twice, and seeing him play has been a thing I've wanted but not been able to do since I was eight. Eight? That can't be right, when did Blood and Chocolate come out? Yeah, eight, i guess! The show was minimalist and incredibly intimate, just the man, five guitars and a borrowed grand piano he switched between, a lifetime of stories, and one of the best catalogues in rock, and I could not have been happier with the experience. Getting what you've always wanted and finding it exactly as good as you hoped is a rare thing, and one that should be appreciated when it comes.

…I have my opinions about 2016 and the number of artists of  personal importance that passed over its course, but I have to admit I did see some amazing shows. I stand by the decision I made at the beginning of the year, and hope to continue this trend going forward.

Catch your heroes while you can, is what i'm saying. Your opportunities to do so aren’t endless…

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