Spiritual Machines – album presentation
Fifth time is a charm! I have caught OLP 4 times prior to last night including a small acoustic set at a local radio station. With the exception of the acoustic set I have been less than impressed with their live sound. Last night was much, much different!
I have good rock & roll luck and as it would have it last night I ran into a guy selling a front row centre pair way below cost, nice! It was meant to be as I had tried earlier to get into the Mod Club for the Sirius Radio Song writers show featuring Joel Plaskett, Jeff Martin, Default and The Trews. When this wasn’t working out I went over to Massey for the OLP’s presentation of Spiritual Machines.
Man I forgot how good this album is. OLP’s concept album has some really nice stuff here. From the start Right Behind You sounds so good! It isn’t hard to tell the band doesn’t play many nights that feature albums in their entirety. Raine Maida has the MAC set up to play the narrative of author of the book the album is based on as well as a binder with the lyrics. We’re lined up in front of Steve Mazur and his wonderful sounding Marshall stack and full array of effects pedals, I am seriously impressed.
We get Life, Middle of Yesterday the lead vocals are soaring the crowd is heavily into it. This is one of the loudest crowds I have ever heard at a Massey Hall. It makes sense because this is a homecoming for this band. I really forgot how beautiful the guitar work is on this album. Basically we get the entire album song by song and it is really nice. I mean pull it out and play it through a few times again. I know you will say yeah!! Exactly!! The entire presentation worked well. I wanted to bolt home and pull out the Cd’s and it made me wish I been here the night before for Clumsy. There is still a chance they are playing Clumsy in Kitchener next week Friday. This album finishes with 3 very strong tunes, All My Friends, If You Believe and The Wonderful Future the best of the 3 is The Wonderful Future which Raine starts out saying they recorded this song never intending to play it live. The Wonderful Future has a hidden portion. The song lists at 20 minutes but fades out @ four minutes then is silent for 12 minutes before it coming back in with a conversation between the book author and someone else. (for obvious reasons the break was condensed down) I am not up on the whole thing enough to know who he is conversing with but I am up enough to know this was a great first set for this band and the entire album run through was perfect!! In between sets I managed to snag a guitar pick.
The second set started out with Maida telling everyone that the band looked at the first set as work and now it is time to have some fun!! The second set consisted of a 13 songs. Starting out with Monkey Brains from Burn, Burn which had several tunes show up in this second set and then ran into Superman’s Dead, Innocent, Clumsy and One Man Army back to back to back! The sing along with Innocent was pretty amazing with crowd basically singing the whole tune. Raine climbed the balcony at one point I think during One Man Army. I mean this whole chuck was worth the price of the ticket any day! A couple more from Burn and then we get a stellar Somewhere Out There! Then the unmistakable bass line to Naveed, Nice! This song finishes the set and the encore is not to be missed 4AM straight into Starseed!
Anyone worth their own weight in OLP appreciation was hooked back in 1994 by the Naveed album.
Overall I though Mazur’s guitar / guitar effects and Maida’s voice were in the best form possible. To be fair to the first shows I wasn’t in the front row and only one of these featured Mazur. The band was extremely appreciative of the crowd response and referred to this as a homecoming quite a number of times and as you could imagine this sent the crowd over the top every time. I managed to get a setlist from both sets. I stayed with this band until 1999 and Happiness and my interest beyond this period was somewhat sporadic and tied to radio hits but man I am glad I did this show!! It is nice to go back and listen to some of the stuff that came out I never paid much attention too.