Saturday, November 22, 2008

Great Big Sea at The Aud in Kitchener

This was easily one of the most enjoyable concert experiences of my entire life. There is no doubt about it, these guys are as entertaining as they come.

Great Big Sea played to a nearly sold out crowd at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Thursday, November 20th, and seeing that we are both fans of the band, my girlfriend and I got tickets to the show. We were up in what felt like the rafters, as we were only about 4 rows from the top aisle of the arena. Thankfully The Aud is an arena that I know quite well from covering Kitchener Rangers hockey for 3 years, so I knew our seats would still be a good location for a concert.

If you have never heard them before, and are truly musically-inclined, then you don't know what you're missing. And I don't mean musically-inclined like you enjoy music and like to listen all the time. I mean having a true infatuation with music, whether classically, instrumentally, or vocally. The show that GBS puts on, even if you aren't a 'Newfie' truly does appeal to those who truly appreciate music. The a cappella quartets, the introduction of non-traditional instruments, and the very singability of the music cane appeal to such a large spectrum.

One of the first things that fascinated me about the concert was the scope of the ages that were in attendance. Behind my girlfriend and I sat some young adults. On my girlfriends side of the row sat a couple likely in their 40's, along with a woman, who I presume to be no younger than about 70, sitting with some younger members of her family. And then directly beside me was a man with his son, who I would pin at around 9 or 10. All of these people, at one point or another, could be singing along with a handful of tunes provided by the band.

I had my expectations set pretty high going into the show. Tickets were over $50 each, and there was no signal that anyone would be opening for the band. So I wasn't sure what to expect, but I set my bar high.

The concert got going on a high note for me, as the second song of the first set, Process Man, is my favourite GBS song. I was one of hundreds, if not thousands, who found themselves singing along to every word of the classic hit, which was part of their second CD 'Up' that came out in 1995.

That wasn't the only song throughout the night that I found myself singing along to. Of course I am a favourite of some of their more classic songs from the early days, like Mari-Mac, The Old Black Rum, Goin' Up, and Rant and Roar, two of which were used in different sections of the encore they played.

I also find that for me what makes a concert good is when you hear something you've never heard before that leaving wanting to know more. And yes, I did find myself on to find out information about a song I had never heard before and suddenly made me want to run to a record store to purchase.

The song that struck me was called 'The River Driver', a track from 'The Hard and the Easy' which was released in 2005. This was not an overly complex musical number, however it did primary feature a 4-part a cappella section that showed the band's ability to harmonize with one another with instrumental backing. It was an impressive musical feat from an impressive musical band that left me wanting more.

All in all, the concert featured a 70 minute first half with a 22 minute intermission and a 65 minute second half, which included 5-track, double encore.

All in all, Iwas very impressed with the concert and would recommend going to see them if the music is in you...
Photo courtesy of the Waterloo Regional Record -