Photos by Sue Sadzak
Bush @ 8:15
September 5th, It’s rainy, overcast and all in all a great day for the distnictive artistic flavour Our Lady Peace brings to its performances. Prefaced by Bush, a British rock band who was one of the most commercially succesful 90s rock bands. Opening their show with a shotgun blast of sound, leading directly into Machinehead blowing the age appropriate audience right back into their glory days. Spending much of the show glorying in the onstage antics of a much younger performer it’s impossible to tell whether Gavin Rossdale is 23 or 53. He spent much of the show walking a fine line between boyish enthusiasm and seasoned veteran in terms of presentation. Ripping through some of their best known songs, including This is War, Everything Zen right up to Bullet Holes the band presentation was both polished and professional, showing just the right amount of casual rocker disdain in and amongst the driving beats and now signature voice of Mr. Rossdale the show shook the rain soaked night and the audience was enthralled despite the weather’s best attempts otherwise (it was raining off and on and otherwise very wet). Despite the professional presentation and enthusiasm there were moments where one got the impression that perhaps Mr. Rossdale was either a bit tired (Bush , as with Our Lady Peace) was coming off a very long tour) or perhaps just less able to summon up all of the glory of youthful enthusiasm he once was able to. And as few and far between as these moments were , they were more jarring for their infrequency amongst an otherwise polished and extremely enjoyable performance.
Following Bush came the moment we’d all been waiting for, at 9:45pm
Our Lady Peace @ 9:45. Led by Lead vocalist Raine Maida, Duncan Coutts on bass, Steve Mazur as lead guitarist and Jaso Pierce on drums OLP opened with Hiding Place for Hearts released last year, a soulful address to the broken looking for healing, in quintessentially frank OLP style they immediately segued into Superman’s Dead one of their greatest hits and a brutal protest against societies push towards ordinary no longer being acceptable and the impact it has on the individual. During a brief respit Raine Maida addresses the audience with a simple “It’s good to be Home”, followed by a rousing and loving response from the hometown crowd.
As OLP powered through a setlist that included some of their greatest hits, such as DO You Like It , Somewhere Out There and their newer works; Drop Me in the Water. The band carried the audience an an emotionally complex and tumultuous journey two and a half decades in the making. Exhibitting an uncanily subtle ballad like style of story telling that touches on all facets of life from the deeply personal to the societally troubling OLP generously showed themselves to be artists worthy of their place in the Canadian pop music strata. In a brief moment between ballads and laments Raine Maida introduces one of OLP’s newest works Stop Making Stupid people Famous with a little backround and a rant revolving around the very apptly named song.
Towards the end of the evening mr. Maida shared with us an intimiate view into his own backround as a musician and songwriter, telling us about a moment during a Toronto Music Awards show where he was becoming increasingly more and more disheartened with the lack of any real artistic integrety being displayed on stage until in one crystal moment a man named Gord Downie stepped out on stage and he’s never forgotten said moment and performing Ballad of a Poet he shared with us a canadian musicians honest and intimate tribute to the legacy of Gord Downie. OLP finished their set with Clumsy, another of their heart wrenching hits.
As the lights went down and (before the encore) we were given a brief moment of cheering and a break from the emotional rollercoaster ride of the last forty five minutes. After about five of this, the center stage lights went up and something truly special happened. Playing the opening chords on a piano Mr. Maida cast these words out to the audience with an ernest desperation that had true power: “Walked around my good intentions, and found that their were none”. Then like an anthem 9000 plus voices rang out with “I blame my father for the wasted years, I never thought I would forget this hate, then a phone call made me realize I’m wrong.” In a warm flow of humanity Im not sure who was more involved in OLP’s last fifteen minutes on stage whether it was the audience or the musicians or both, they gave us what we came for and it was beautiful.