Almost exactly one year ago, my family traveled to Toronto as a mini-vacation. The impetus was my scoring tickets to see the Rheostatics live for the first for me (and potentially–but not in reality–last) time.
They had called it quits 8 years earlier and were reuniting for the 20th Anniversary of their Group of 7 album–a soundtrack of sorts that was created to celebrate the works of the great Group of 7 artists. They were scheduled to perform three nights at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
I purchased tickets to the second night assuming that the first night they might be a little rusty and the final night they might be burnt out. Well, it turns out, that was completely faulty logic. The first night was pretty great. The final night was outstanding and my night proved to be the weakest of the three. Of course, it was still awesome, especially since I didn’t know that it was the weakest at the time).
In terms of recordings, this one is a little less clear than yesterday’s show as well (it was recorded from the upper section of the hall).
The Go7 part of the show was pretty stellar. You can read my review of the full show here). During the break after track Six, Dave began talking to us, mostly thanking people and then commenting “we’re totally feeling the love.” Dave says his dad’s here tonight and he lent us his car for their 1988 tour. (Sorry, dad).
When the Go7 album was over, the band played some bonus tracks. Last night they played “Claire” and “Horses,” two songs I would have loved to hear. So when Tim walked up to the mic, I was sure we’d get Claire, but instead, we got “Henry’s Musical Beard,” a one minute song of total what the…? I can’t imagine when it was ever played before. But even though i didn’t get the songs I really wanted, I did get some songs that were still awesome: “Bad Time To Be Poor,” “Stolen Car” (amazing!), “Legal Age Life” (much fun), “Christopher” (another favorite), and “Saskatchewan.”
“Bad Time” sounded great–a lovely Tim sung song. Before “Stolen Car,” Dave described it as a desperation song, there are bad things going on in our country we have chance to change that on Oct 19. (Hard to believe that our election process was underway at that time as well). Martin seemed to miss a bit during the song, but was backed up wonderfully by Hugh Marsh on violin.
“Legal Age Life” was a lot of fun. Before the song began he shouted, “Fuck art, let’s dance.” And dance we did.
Our version of “Christopher” was pretty catastrophic. Before playing it, Dave introduced it by saying, “Let’s hear it for Saskatchewan.” But they played “Christopher.” It has a very cool slow opening, but Martin got really lost during the song. He repeated lines, forgot words and about half way through, he just ended the song (two minutes shorter than the other ones). I remember being concerned for him, because he seemed really upset about the performance.
They ended the show with “Saskatchewan” a great song that I love (and we were the only night to get it, so yes, we were lucky indeed). As I say, at the time, I was so excited to be there and to hear everything. It is definitely sour grapes to complain about the other nights, and I should just consider myself lucky that I can still hear them.
But between Martin’s stress and Dave’s surprising lack of banter (and, no “Claire” or “Horses”), Saturday was definitely the weakest night of the three.
Amazingly, though, with the various differences, the length of the concert is almost exactly the same length as the first night).
01. One (Kevin’s Waltz) 2:40
02. Two (Earth (Almost)) 7:42
03. Three (Boxcar Song (Weiners and Beans)) 7:00
04. Four (Landscape And Sky) 0:46
05. Five (Blue Hysteria) 3:55
06. Six (Cello For A Winter’s Day) 8:03
07. Banter 4:05
08. Seven (Northern Wish) 5:09
09. Eight (Snow) 2:05
10. Nine (Biplanes and Bombs) 7:00
11. Ten (Lightning) 8:01
12. Eleven (Yellow Days Under A Lemon Sun) 7:53
13. Henry’s Musical Beard 0:57
14. Bad Time To Be Poor 5:31
15. Stolen Car 8:54
16. Legal Age Life 7:05
17. Christopher 4:27
18. Saskatchewan 7:36
[READ: August 19, 2016] “The Shoe Emporium”
The July/August Summer Reading Issue of The Walrus has a theme of “Love and Lust.” The theme promised to be a bit more upbeat than the darker stories in the last few issues. Of course the other two stories this month were a little dark, but this one was pretty much just very funny.
It involves a delightfully convoluted romantic triangle of people working at The Shoe Emporium. And I loved the way the story was structured.
We begin with Steve, a 40-something year old guy working as a shoe salesman (he has a past). He is helping a customer and she is kind of smitten with him. Steve is hunky, and has the best features of his Irish-Canadian heritage showing.
And then the story shifts to his boss, Cathy. Cathy is 20 years younger than him–although she makes less money. We lean about Cathy because of a high-tech device that measures the heat of people’s feet (to best get their feet to match a shoe). Cathy had pressed it to her heart to demonstrate. She was showing this to the other salesman, Marty. But Steve saw it as well and thought that he could see an imprint of her nipple in the pad.
When Steve saw that, he was instantly turned on. Mostly because he typically didn’t think much of Cathy before that. She’s usually angry–justifiably as she is working two jobs and going to school. But mostly, she really wants to win the top salesman prize–a trip to Toronto and tickets to the musical Kinky Boots.
Even though he knows she wants to win, Steve is trying his best to beat her even though he doesn’t care about Toronto or the musical.
The two are pretty close in sales and he is doing a great job today. Across the store, Cathy has a family with a crying child–never a good sign for mega sales. Especially since the daughter wants an expensive shoe which the mother doesn’t want to buy.
But what of Marty? Marty also has a fascinating back story. Until recently, he lived with his grandmother. She recently passed away (in a shocking fashion). She was also a marine biologist and there is some amusing talk of sea cucumbers. His grief was intense and he went to a gay party (he is 100% gay) and took a lot of drugs. He’s been in a haze since. And he has recently hooked up with Cathy. But it had to have been the grief or drugs because Marty is definitely 100% gay (he thinks Steve is pretty hot too).
Cathy knows Marty is gay, but she believes the hookup has changed things–it was pretty great.
As the story comes to a close we get a close up look at that hook up which is steamy and funny, and we see Steve double down on trying to sell an expensive pair of Saucony to a customer who clearly can’t afford them.
I’d love to see more of this story–I really want more of these three. This has been my favorite Walrus story in a long time.