A night out

A couple months ago, when I first heard that the Proclaimers would be in town last night, I tried to talk Bob into jetting up for the weekend. He somewhat reasonably begged off, citing things like distance/time ratio, job, global warming, etc. When I turned to coworkers here, I had no trouble lining up company. And when we saw what time they were due onstage, there was middle aged panic: could we actually stay up late enough for an event that didn’t start until after 10 pm????

But yes, and it was absolutely worth it and took not a whit of effort (beyond a rather dreary opening by Jeremy Fisher). If you’ve watched Matt Lucas’ interview with them last summer, right at the end they talk about this concert tour and how much they love performing. And it is, to my mind, a fitting kind of performance: immediate, genuine, without sweat or ostentatious staging. Although the music is different–by degree, not by universes–the performers’ presence reminded me of the very first rock concert I ever attended, which happened to be the same week as that other duo released “I Am a Rock”.

The crowd really surprised me here last night though. They had a one-night show, well advertised and well attended, at a club on the south border of Halifax’s North End. The stage was good, the lighting on it fine and the lighting on the crowd–sitting and standing–mostly dim. Everyone was white of demeanour as well as nativity (no surprise), the age range from late twenties to sixties or so. And, this was the strange part for me: they mostly stood stock still, without rhythm of their own in response to the performers. There were a few raised arms with, I suppose, phone cameras and recorders. But by and large it was beyond decorous.

And yet, people clearly were enjoying themselves. They seemed simply to be acting as an enthusiastic audience might at the theatre, rather than at a rock concert. I asked one of the locals with me and was assured that the behaviour seemed pretty regular and expected to her. An old prof of mine would probably say it’s the “lack of Mediterranean blood” in the vicinity.

The new songs (In Recognition, Here It comes Again) are as fine as promised. When they performed Letter from America I truly expected a warmer response from the assembled host, given the anthem-like status of the song, and yes, they responded enthusiastically, but I recognized it as enthusiasm only because, by then, I was understanding the crowd’s personality, never mind the band’s.

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2 Responses to “A night out”

  1. JB Says:

    I too, was part of the audience at the Marquee on Friday night, wondering many of the same things you were. Having grown up in Toronto, I am endlessly amazed at the lack of passion shown by Haligonians at concerts and the like….hell, even the mention of “Nova Scotia” in the lyrics of a song went virtually un-noticed except for me with raised hands (sans cellphone/camera)….I gasped, having expected a minor uproar at that point…nada, nothing! Hell, here am I, an Upper Canadian, celebrating the mention of Nova Scotia in a song….now that felt weird!
    Personally, I thought the show was a perfect balance of tried and true anthems, with some of their new stuff, and some other songs thrown in as well. They played for over 90 minutes straight…impressive, to say the least!
    I’ve seen them play probably 10 years ago in Ontario…their show was equally energetic and enjoyable on Friday as it was back then…the venue this time around was much better as we were able to stand within 10′ of them for the entire performance….
    Thanks for sharing!
    Jen

  2. Trevor Says:

    Hay guys, i was also there and enjoyed myself quite a bit. i forgot my camera though so if anyone has any pictures from the show i would greatly appriciate a copy of them. you could send them to my email jennifer.trevor@ns.sympatico.ca

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