Top Ten Concerts of 2012

It is unfair to list top ten shows since every artist or artists give their all each time they play. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad on any given night.

Here are the top ten shows which I enjoyed the most in 2012 …

10. Lee Mellor

Lee’s show was high energy and joined a love of country and old-fashioned rock n roll. Lyrically profound and an eye opener …

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9. Sagapool

Sagapool’s folk music a la Arcade Fire was outstanding! A great two hours filled with upbeat highs and  ‘ brought to tears’ ballads. A great group of musicians playing at  their peak ..

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8. Martha Wainwright

Wainwright’s music combined with an ‘ Am I on stage for real and this is not a rehearsal?’ attitude was both pleasing and a relief. No diva here even if she comes from music royalty …

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7. Colin James / Steve Hill

Colin may be stuck in the 80’s but he can still play guitar with the best of them. Opening act Steve Hill set the bar very high and James almost reached it. Combined – the two artists provided a great evening for the blues …

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6. Cecile Doo – Kingue

Cecile’s show is filled with integrity and great guitar playing . A true player whose  talent remains unscathed by pretentiousness. Her rythym section is nothing to sneeze at either …

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5.  Gilberto Gil

The seventy year old man provided an evening filled with warmth. Warmth through his music and his attitude. An incredible backing band had everyone standing up and dancing for most part of the show …

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

4. Susie Arioli

Susie’s show of Jazz standards was  impeccable and fun. A great sing a long if you did not want to interrupt one of the true great Montreal vocalists. Combined with Jordan Officer – the long-standing musical relationship came to an end on a high note at Place des Arts

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3. Steve Hill ( Club Soda)

Mr. Hill wowed the sold out crowd with his one man show. This man can do things with a guitar that Keith Richards can only dream off …

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2. Jonas and the Massive Attraction

Club Soda probably has not recovered from the energetic set that Jonas and his mates provided. It started upbeat and never stopped – not even for one minute. Enjoy the music or not – a truly professional band who deserve all they get …

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1. Zachary Richard

M. Richard has done this for a very long time. His environmental conscience  shone through in his new songs and when he dove into his Cajun/ Zydeco roots – nobody at the show could have remained seated. A great story-teller, a funny guy and a true musician sending the right message…

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***Honorable mentions

David Usher

The Hi – Fins

Jesse Cook

Brie Nielson

Carolyn Fe

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Gilberto Gil; A Brazilian Mick Jagger?

When a seventy year old man is able to lift people from their seats – over and over and over again …

A flip of the fedora in his direction is not just necessary – it is required.

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira, born in 1942, is the man responsible for a love – in at Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts last night. Who knew that a man from  Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, could one day be king of Montreal – if only for a couple of days.

Dressed entirely in a white suit and a blue guitar as an accessory, Gil was a presence the moment he took center stage. John Bon Jovi and Stephen Tyler take note. Before the status of Mick Jagger is obtained – an obstacle by the name of Gilberto stands in the way.

Gil is an icon. Gil is a performer and a groundbreaking songwriter. Gil is special.

With his trademark dance moves a la James Brown / Jagger, his falsetto notes arriving on cue and an ability to raise the level of the musicians around him – Gil possesses that ‘something’ which all superstars possess. Elvis Presley had it, Micheal Jackson had it and the man who was at one time his country’s Minister of Culture – is one of the few living who not only ‘have it’, know precisely how to use ‘it’.

Photo courtesy of Anne Achan

That’s exactly what Gil did, utilizing every tool in his white suit jacket to get the audience so involved – the rain outside, a footnote in the long history of Montreal Jazz shows.

Gil utilized his song;  ‘Fe Na Festa’, as an instrument of warmth. A beach – the only thing missing in a theater suddenly alive with rays of musical sunshine. People perked up, they took notice and from that point forward – a sold out theater  were drinking from the palm of the ‘once upon a time’ jailbird’s palm.

‘Vamos Fugir’, ‘Expresso 2222’ and ‘Andar com Fe’ – three songs ripe with a vocal following from the crowd mixed in age, continued a stand-up, sit-down, stand-up roller coaster of a set. The crowd danced, the ushers danced, the band danced and the man himself –  appearing ghostly under a white spotlight, summoned  the only man who may have been able to upstage Gil himself.

Bob Marley appeared. Through song. Particularly – ‘Three Little Birds‘ and ‘No Woman No Cry’. A pair of tunes which rode along within Gil’s four decade repertoire. A duo which delivered smiles to people’s faces and warmth to the coldest of souls.

People were lifted out of their seats over and over again.

Even seventy year old men …

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