2013 - Review Archives of live shows in Montreal and around the globe

October 22, 2013
Steve Hackett at the PDA
A review by Robert Dansereau, 22/10/2013
At the beginning of October was one of the year's most anticipated shows at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, as legendary Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett stepped onstage to present the music of his highly popular album
Genesis Revisited II. It was also one of FMPM's biggest attendance ever, with over 2700 enthusiastic prog rock fans at the Place des Arts.

I had the pleasure of listening in during rehearsal and the band performed several tracks, including one that didn't make it on the setlist of the show that night, Your Own Special Way sounded fantastic.

Backstage, I had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Hackett and his lovely wife Jo, and even met famous producer Tom Lord-Alge (U2, Stones, Peter Gabriel). At 8:00 sharp, the first part of the evening was presented by our friend Jérôme Langlois – founder of the classic band Maneige – on the piano, accompanied by his talented daughter Romie De Guise-Langlois on clarinet, who performed a wonderful selection of Maneige classics as well as material from his most recent album, and dedicated a brand new track to Steve Hackett. A subtle and soothing duo that went from joyful and vivacious to solemn and moving.

Then on to Steve and friends, so much anticipation to see and hear these old Genesis classics played by the master himself, on his trusty Les Paul Gold Top! the show began with the surging wave of mellotrons of the intro to Watcher of the Skies, with the imposing Nad Sylvan on vocals, much to the pleasure of the fans. This grand interpretation of the 1972 epic set the tone of the entire evening. Steve then introduced in French (to the best of his abilities) Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, with Lee Pomeroy pulling out the old Shergold double-neck! Then on to a sublime version of Fly on a windshield/Broadway melody, sung by Gary O'Toole.

The atmosphere was electric, it was just like the FMPM team organized a big prog party and everyone was invited! The band went on to the ethereal and serene The Lamia, accompanied by a subtle and hypnotizing light show. The Musical Box was followed by a vigorous standing ovation. The band delivered like a well-oiled machine, so tight and precise. Steve then pulled out his acoustic guitar and offered us a medley of his classic acoustic tracks, to segue into the intro of Blood on the Rooftops, again sung by Gary. The great Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers/In That Quiet Earth was just spine-tingling, with the soaring Afterglow finale.

At that point, Steve presented the band, with the fabulous Rob Townsend on saxophone and flute, his steadfast companion Roger King on the keyboards, the highly theatrical Nad Sylvan on vocals (Unifaun, Agents of Mercy) the exuberant Lee Pomeroy on bass (Nick Beggs being away on tour with Steven Wilson) and of course, the always entertaining Gary O'Toole on drums, sporting a bowler hat.

A powerful version of Fountain of Salamacis followed, then on to an enthusiastic version of I Know what I Like and a rhythm-rich Dance on a Volcano.

Let's face it, Supper's Ready is one of Genesis' most breathtaking epic, and Steve offered us a monumental version of it, even featuring spoons playing during the Willow Farm portion. A flower? I realized just how perfect this show was during the majestic Apocalypse in 9/8, the grand finale being the brilliantly extended guitar solo at the end of As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs. A long, loud and well-deserved standing ovation followed.

For the encore, Steve offered a masterly version of Firth of Fifth and then finished the evening with Los Endos, which included bits of Steve's Slogans, from the album
Defector (1980).

What a show! An amazing performance that left thousands of fans on cloud nine! Thank you Steve for this unforgettable evening!

October 22, 2013
Roger Hodgson photo album
Photos by Manoli Papadakis, 17/10/2013

Check-out the new Photo album of Roger Hodgson at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, taken on Thursday, October 17, 2013 by Manoli Papadakis. Thanks Manoli for these awesome images!

September 22, 2013
Martin Levac album launch concert
A review by Robert Dansereau - 21/09/2013
Martin Levac, creator of the highly acclaimed Dance Into The Light Phil Collins Tribute show, and formerly of The Musical Box, launched a daring and highly original project in 2011 called
A visible Jazz Touch of Genesis, a splendid studio recording comprised of Genesis classics rearranged with a cool jazzy style. Martin performed the music of his album at the Lion D'Or in 2012 and decided to release the recording made that night, his latest CD entitled A visible Jazz Touch of Genesis "Live".

It was with much pleasure that I got the invitation to attend Martin's
A Visible Jazz Touch of Genesis "Live" album launch concert. It was only fitting that the show be held at the Lion d'Or, where this live recording was made initially.

The show began a 7:00 PM as our host Martin started the evening with Follow You Follow Me with a totally different rhythm, he then followed by a peppy, finger snapping interpretation of No Reply At All, Motown Style! He then offered a suave and emotional version of Hold on my Heart.

It was just a flawless performance, from an exceptionally versatile and creative musician, accompanied by a top notch band. The evening proceeded with a very jazzy interpretation of Throwing it all Away, again with a clever new rhythm, but with the audience participation that made this song a favorite at Genesis concerts.

Martin was very happy of the enthusiastic audience response and thanked profusely all of the musicians accompanying him, including Jocelyn Couture on trumpet, Sébastien Grenier on sax, Julie Lamontagne on keyboards, Emmanuelle Caplette on drums, Mathieu Gagné on double bass and Fred Doiron on Guitar, with special thanks to Master Sébastien Cloutier on the sound console and Marc Girard for his work producing and recording the album.

Martin got quite emotional when he thanked his lovely soulmate Janyce for her monumental work in organizing this great evening. The show concluded when singer Maciel Yannira accompanied Martin for the last song of the evening, a magical version of The Carpet Crawlers.

Just a brief foretaste of his amazing show, it offered fans a great preview of things to come! Thank you Martin for this show, you made these old Genesis classics sound brand new again!

Your next opportunity to see Martin play this awesome material is on
Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Place Salle L'Entrepôt du Complexe Culturel Guy-Descary (2901 St-Joseph in Lachine). Write that date down on your calendar!

April 28, 2013
UK 2013 at the Gesù: a review
A review by our guest contributor Mark from Upstate New York - 28/04/2013
A real treat it was, indeed! UK's performance at Montreal's intimate Gesù theater was outstanding, and I enjoyed it even more than I did the trio performance at the same venue last year. The Gesù is a small, 400-seat venue with great sound and pretty much no bad seats – I was seated in the third row to the left of the stage, so got a great chance to see everything Jobson was doing, and Wetton tended to make a lot of eye contact with my section as well. As many reviewers have noted, Wetton's live vocals sound almost superhuman these days, which was not always the case during previous decades. He does not have a particularly theatrical stage presence, but it doesn't matter, because he puts so much concentration and passion into his playing and singing, which really paid off in this performance.

The selection of material, particularly in the first half (or more) of the show leading up to Jobson's solo, simply could not have been more sublime. They began with the entire In the Dead of Night suite; since my favorite part of that suite has always been the beautifully melancholy By the Light of Day, that (relatively) rarely-performed section was a particular treat. I've heard some concert recordngs of it where Wetton seems a bit uncomfortable with the vocal line, but that wasn't the case last night at all – he really hit it out of the ballpark, and having Jobson come out with the violin for a short section was pretty wonderful as well. The whole band created the perfect, haunting tension that made the eventual "release" of Presto Vivace and Reprise all the more effective. The standing ovation at the end was well-deserved.

The following song was Nevermore, an even more rarely-performed treat. Machacek really shone on this one, especially with the beautiful intro, but, then again, so did each and every band member on this complex composition. It was pretty stunning to see how Jobson plays this material live – while others have mentioned that he does use triggered samples here and there, he relies on them much less often than most keyboardists I've seen. The droning section toward the end – so amazing on the studio recording, seemed a bit awkward from a stagecraft perspective, as most of the band could only stand and wait. However, Wetton more than came through when the vocal resumed, singing with such strength and passion that it blew the studio performance right of of the water – I was completely and totally transfixed in the Soho neon glow.

Still on a high from that experience, the delicate sounds of the Thirty Years intro started to fill the hall, and I could barely believe that so much of the band's absolutely most transcendent material was being performed back-to-back. Another powerful performance followed, with the whole band seemingly on fire and Wetton singing like his life depended on it. Such evocative lyrics – it barely seems possible that he was not even 30 when he wrote them – but he sings them now with what seems like a more nuanced feel for their meaning. The conclusion was so powerful that the audience seemed to sense that the band was ready for some kind of intermission – the standing ovation was heartfelt, and though I knew the setlist from earlier reviews, I was still taken almost by shock when, even before the ovation was finished, the haunting tones of the mellotron began to wash through the venue.

Starless is, of course, my favorite song from my all-time favorite album. The kinds of memories and feelings it brings back cannot fully be described in words. Interestingly, perhaps, I first heard it as a teenager in the '80s, when albums from the early '70s seemed like relics from a distant, somewhat mythic past. Perhaps that sense of embodying an unrecoverable time (in the era of Madonna, Huey Lewis, etc.) added something to the somewhat gloomy richness of the track, which seemed to me to bring up all the layers of emotion I (as an agnostic former Catholic) imagined people felt in worship at a candlelit cathedral at moments of deep personal crisis.

So this was a performance I've waited to see all my life. No, it wasn't the original King Crimson, but the most important member (on that song, at least) was there in the flesh, at what seemed to be the peak of his powers as a live vocalist. I did not particularly miss the other members of Red-era KC, as Machacek and Donati treated us to world-class performances of Fripp and Bruford's famous parts. Jobson clearly loves this material, and his violin provided a wonderful substitute for the tune's beloved saxophone melodies. The main star of this particular show, however, was Wetton, who not only nailed the vocal part, but gave us a sense of his legendary bass playing from back in the day. I'd have to say the sound engineering was really spot-on throughout the entire concert, and for this song, the nuances of the all-important bass seemed to be highlighted. What an amazing, amazing night for me. Surely, with the whooping and hollering standing ovation that erupted, the band is ready for a break.

But no – Jobson starts playing the disquieting intro to Carrying No Cross. Interestingly, I always wondered if this song had been intended as a kind of Starless part 2, and its placement in the set seemed to confirm that suspicion. Of course, it isn't Starless – what could possibly live up to that? However, the band really pulled out all the stops again to make the most of this mini-epic. I especially liked the theatrical lighting and sound effects during the intro and outro vocal sections, with a darkened stage punctuated by a bright spotlight on Wetton's face, and the opening exhortation of "Stop!!!" presented at an appropriately startling volume. This song, of course, mainly features Jobson's keyboard virtuosity, and he did not fail to impress. Wetton, for his part, sang as if he were feeling the full force of every single word. I can't recall ever witnessing such intense commitment from a vocalist in concert before (though he came close on the same track during last year's trio performance).

When this song reached its astounding conclusion, I basically reached the point of having had the perfect concert experience – a grouping of some of my favorite songs of all time, back-to-back, expertly and passionately performed, close-up in an intimate venue filled with extremely polite and respectful fellow fans. Everything from that point forward was just icing on the cake. That icing included Jobson's multifaceted solo, mainly the same as last year's, but expanding on the
Theme of Secrets material, which was nice, as I bought that album when it came out back in the '80s. After the solo, the remaining tracks were Caesar's Palace Blues, The Only Thing She Needs, and, for the encore, Red and the piano-vocal version of Rendezvous 6:02. I have no complaints about any aspect of these performances, but none of them quite gave me the chills of the earlier selections. Red was probably a rare case where Jobson's violin didn't always fit in soundwise with the material (IMHO), but it was still wonderful to witness this powerful track performed live. The Rendezvous duet was very nice. I particularly enjoyed Wetton's "air piano" accompaniment to Jobson's solo – you got the sense that the music was so engrained in his nervous system that his hands could not help but to move that way when hearing it played. In some ways it seemed almost anticlimactic to end the show on such a delicate note, but what made it extra special was just seeing Wetton and Jobson together, as a duo, onstage. I know they have had a fraught and even painful history, and who knows what they were really thinking, but they appeared genuinely happy to be onstage together--I just wish I could hear what they were saying to one another.

What an amazing evening for me – for this virtually lifelong fan of King Crimson and UK, I can barely imagine a more incredible concert experience. Afterwards, as I walked "home" (to my partner's small, shared apartment, as I mainly live in the US), I got to reflect on the experience in the "Soho neon glow" of St. Catherine Street on a Saturday night, its odd combination of glittering nightlife and urban squalor bringing back vivid memories of other times and places, when I was first discovering the music I got to hear performed tonight. I felt like a very lucky person indeed. To John, Eddie, Alex, Virgil, and the crew last night, I want to thank you for all the hard work that went into putting on last night's stellar show.

March 24, 2013
Stick Men at Petit Campus
By Robert Dansereau, March 24, 2013
There are those shows where you know exactly what to expect as far as quality goes, but will still be a complete surprise musically, Tony Levin's Stick Men is among those select groups of artists. Their show at the very intimate and minuscule Petit Campus
on Friday, March 22, 2013, accompanied by Montreal's Karcius as the opening act, was a wonderful, memorable evening.

A crowd of about 100 people attended this evening featuring 2/5 of King Crimson and Montreal's finest prog-fusion band. I thought that the combination of both bands was sublime because they are a great match musically and stylistically. The evening began in time with Karcius offering a great performance that included several compositions from their latest album entitled
The First Day. Sylvain Auclair's vocals were phenomenal, many spectators not familiar with the band expressing their awe and admiration. The band was tight and energetic and really made a great impression, especially to Mr. Levin who thanked them during his show for their fantastic warmup set.

Then on to the evening's main act, comprized of the magical trio of Tony Levin, Pat Mastoletto and Marcus Reuter, who proceeded to blow our mind with a solid, generous and oh so delicious set of Stick Men and King Crimson material! They played their new album entitled Deep in its entirety, as well as a few improvisations including a stunning number that Tony entitled "Campus Improv" and a very Crimson-like composition by Robert Fripp entitled Exposure, concluding with a blistering version of King Crimson's Lark's Tongue in Aspic part II, and for the encore, the band interpreted an off-the-wall version of Firebird Suite.

Stick Men's latest album Deep, features a combination of eerie soundscape and energetic stick riffs, a truly captivating recording and well worth getting!

Soft spoken Tony is a very likeable fellow, a total gentleman, who appreciates and respects his fans as much as they appreciate him. The band happily stayed after the show to sign autographs and have their pictures taken with the fans at their merchandise table, generous of their time and their sharpie markers! A splendid evening offred by both bands!

January 20, 2013
Mystery and The Box in L'Assomption
A review by Robert Dansereau - Sunday, January 20, 2013
A long awaited event yesterday in l'Assomption, even though I had to confront treaturous roads and very inclement weather on the way in, the Mystery/The Box double bill was one of those not-to-be-missed shows and a fantastic way to start the year concertwise.

Opening the evening just a bit after 8:00 PM, Mystery offered us a splendid show, featuring excellent interpretations of the latest epics from their highly acclaimed album
The World is a Game. Energetic and sharp, the band shook the walls of the auditorium with a great setlist that included one or two seldom-played tracks. Mystery is gaining momentum full steam these days, with a series of great live events including opening for the Marillion Convention in March and headlining at prog rock festivals in Holland and in Mexico.

Then on to The Box. Folks of my generation remember fondly the popular Montreal band that released a string of excellent pop rock albums between 1984 and 1990 with over ten charting singles, winning a Felix award in 1985 and nominated for a Juno award that same year. After a long hiatus, a new lineup of The Box featuring original front man Jean-Marc Pisapia released two splendid albums in 2005 and in 2009.

It was my first time seeing this band live, and they offered us a thoroughly enjoyable show. Their setlist was a wonderful mix of their early pop/new wave hits, and their proggier later material, including Ordinary People, L'Affaire Dumoutier (Say to Me), Temptation, Stardust Hotel, Closer Together, My dreams of You, Must I Always Remember and So Beautiful among many others. They also performed a condensed version of their stunning
Horla de Maupassant album, even in its shortened form (albeit over 20 minutes), was still epic and one of the highlights of the entire evening!

The entire set – well balanced between the poppy and the harder-edged material – was performed with much energy and enthusiasm, with great chemistry onstage. Add to that the excellent sound provided by Sir Sébastien Cloutier and the cool light show offered by Olivier, this was definitely an evening worth its weight in gold! In Jean Marc's own words, this show was So absolutely beautiful, it blew my mind away!

The trip back home from L'Assomption to Montreal was even scarier than the way in, with a completely snowed and slippery road surface and blizzard-like conditions. Average speed on highway 40 was 65 Km/h. But like the old expression says, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these proggers from the enjoyment of good live music!"


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