Like Covid itself, Drive -In concerts are polarizing.
Some artists such as Kim Mitchell do not like the idea. First – a live show increases the performance of the artist. The energy between the audience and the stage is like a shot of heroin. Creativity and comfort- ability replaces the trepidation of catalogs new and old in artists new or old. People sitting in their cars and honking after a song? A definitive no -no for artists such as Mitchell. Energy cannot pass through glass after all?
Another reason artists do not like the idea in the time of a pandemic is safety. Lives before money. Health before happiness. In Kim Mitchell’s case, he is also part of the high risk category health -wise since his heart attack a few years ago. Covid’s (the government’s) effects paint many canvasses in vastly different colors. Mitchell not wanting to place himself or his audience in danger.
Therefore it is a slippery slope that folks like The Damn Truth and Evenko maneuvered. They were damned if they did – damned if they did not.
Saturday evening at The Royalmount Drive – In Theater, Montreal’s premiere Rock n Roll band The Damn Truth (along with Osheaga and Evenko), did something that Montreal has never seen or heard before. A Rock n Roll Drive – In concert.
The excitement in a punter as they approached the entrance (with the stage looming in the background) momentarily erased everything Covid. Suddenly you were fifteen again and visions of Elton John at Jarry Park danced through your head quicker than an Elton John hissy fit. Suddenly you were transported to the days in front of The Montreal Forum at Atwater Park. Part of the fun of live music is the anticipation. The people you encounter along the way to the opening chords, all with the same goal in mind, is a profound variable that sets live music apart from a turntable in a basement. The buzz in the air, the smoke in the air.The music from the ‘flavors of the day’ creating magic in the air through surrounding mega – watt speakers. Ambience 101.
Live music has no competition to fill the soul.
The staff at Roylamount Drive – In are Grade A. They politely guide you to a parking space which has been delegated two meters apart from your neighbor. Instructions to wear a mask in washrooms and any indoor space are transmitted and received. Food comes to you through mask wearing vendors while roller-blading masked females attempt to sell band merchandise. Zeppelin, The Stones and The Beatles are the violins to this initial voyage for all passengers.
‘The stage is set, the band will start playing and suddenly your heart is pounding.Wishing secretly you were a star.’
If you are going to a pandemic drive – in concert to pick up chicks or Ken lookalikes; fudge about it.
Social distancing police (aka security) have eyes on you. Step away from the front of you car into the aisles to dance or talk to a neighbor two meters away? Frowned upon. Mask or no mask – your parking spot is your home for social distancing. You better really like the person you came with or start calling a lawyer who specializes in homicide.
Life itself, day-to-day operations have many conflicting rules with Covid and a Drive In Rock n Roll concert imitates life. A non masked walk to the merchandise table or to the food vendors or to anywhere except in the aisles is allowed. You can speak to anyone along the way respecting social distancing rules with mask on face or mask (brass) in pocket. That feeling of ‘Yes sir – No sir’ sung by The Kinks many moons ago is non Rock n Roll. Rebellion and teenage (adult) angst is the prime motivator behind Rock music. A drive in concert does not allow the finger in the face of authority. For that reason – the energy from the crowd, the gas to the artist is absent. No dancing in front of cars, no screaming in front of cars and polite applause following a song is not a Mick Jagger’s grand-kids’ concert.
The Damn Truth put on a top notch show musically and performance -wise. Lee -La Baum, the lead vocalist, enthusiastic thanking everyone for coming and how much live music is missed by the band. Baum’s vocals as crisp or soft as the stages of life itself. New songs were preformed by The Damn Truth for the first time as isolation paused the band’s new record recording sessions. Isolation paused the fan’s hunger. Guitarist Tom Shemer, bassist PY Letellier and drummer Dave Traina did not display rust. A sign of a professional band is the ability to drive fast and safe – blindfolded or not.
My revolution is in disconclusion
Allegations of hope
There’s no room for people like you and me here
We’re devilish folk
The audience had great intentions as well. Pressure seemed deflated in their faces as they viewed the stage,the screen and the ambiance. A relief to be out. A relief to be doing something ‘normal’ once again.
Polarizing or not …