Pat Methaney Massey Hall
Very little to post as last night I sat outside a “Timothy’s” off Charles Street, drinking iced green tea in the glorious sunshine; a little light window shopping in the ManuLife centre underground walkway to the station – of course – and then I went to my usual Thursday evening “group” and rushed home to pack for the long weekend’s jaunt to St John’s Newfoundland.
If one more person looks at me aghast when I tell them I’m only going to St Johns for the weekend, I will start to foam at the mouth. People travelling on the jam packed roads to their cottages this long weekend are likely to take longer to get to their destinations than we shall…………Kiss of death statement or what.
So, in a bid to make sure I write regularly on this blog and because I wanted to catalogue this particular event so badly: a quick flashback to last week’s amazing Pat Methany gig at the wonderfully atmospheric Massey Hall.
Couldn’t get a taxi for love nor money because of the torrential rain. Surprise, surprise, I was late because I’d stayed too long chatting and sipping (ahem) wine at a Supper Party hosted by one of my “Toronto Newcomers’” pals (great views from the …….floor and yummy scram) so I had to run all the way down to the gig. I use the word “run” loosely; as firstly I’d had a drink and as I’ve previously mentioned I’m not really a drinker, AND I was wearing 4’ heels (not very well!).
My recently aquired in a panic (that day actually) umbrella broke with the first gust of wind, and with a mile to run and about 20 minutes till the performance started, I all but gave up. I slid through the entrance with minutes to spare and then – blimey – about 8 flights of stairs to the nosebleed seats (serves me right for buying cheapskate tickets), I was not a happy bunny by the time I reached the auditorium. Scanning my ticket, I noticed that (as luck would have it), my seat was in the middle of a row of 10 or so already occupied seats. Soaking wet and looking like a bag lady, I squeezed past everybody making sure to give all and sundry a generous wipe with the faulty umbrella.
I carefully placed my coffee (and let’s not forget the coffee I wasted precious minutes buying on the way) Why did I think that was such a great idea? Oh yeah I enjoy the challenge of running, simultaneously trying to keep both my hood and my umbrella up AND juggling hot coffee – Stupid!! Where was I? oh yeah arranging myself and my bags in a seat made for people with size 3 feet (about US 34), gingerly inching my upper body (seated of course, as you do) out of my coat. You know that move; the one where it would have been less distracting, irritating and more honest just to stand up and take the damn coat off quickly rather than prolonging the agony by spending 10 minutes doing a seated back stroke whilst praying that you won’t knock over that coffee!
Just when I had settled, everbody in my row decanted and made for better positions – well at least I think/hope that’s why they all moved!!! It was like the parting of the Red Sea, with me left like Johnny no-friends (that’ll be a theme in these blogs) bang in the middle of a vacated row. So I gathered all my belongings and sat right at the front so I could hang over the railings looking right onto and behind the actual stage.
Good move, what a brilliant position. I did think it a bit odd that, although there was lots of band accoutrement on stage, there were absolutely no people milling about behind the set at all. I was soon to find out why. There was only Pat Methany. When he first came on-set and played a few guitar solos I kept thinking that at any minute he would bring on his band. But no, about the third song in, he turned around and unveiled a huge bank of stacked (in wire cages) instruments. You could almost see a huge question mark bubble rise collectively from the audience; that was when the real show began:
All the instruments were programmed to play themselves and accompany his solos!
I was gobsmacked and faintly weirded out at the same time.
Flashback to those spooky Victorian Fairground organs driven by rotating drums of perforated cardboard, with the peeling plaster figurines that tapped out tunes on organ pipes
My parents who were first aiders with St John’s Ambulance dragged me and my brother regularly to these awful soul wrenching Steam Engine Rallies. Most of you will have no idea what I’m talking about as Steam Engine Rallies in particular appear to be a British obsession harking back to the glory days of steam power whilst Fairground organs dominated Northern Europe; so, if you want to feel even a smidgeon of the horror of my childhood in this respect, take a look http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL0_6f5F514.
Anyhow back to Pat Methany, it was sheer brilliance; What an experience!
Imagine glockenspiels; xylophones; drums; snares; pianos and strings all playing themselves. He broke it down for the audience towards the end so we could see exactly what he was doing re programming and feedback; all smoke and mirrors to me, but what an amazing layered wall of sound. Anyway, in case you are wondering, I have included a YouTube link so you can take a peek http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VymAn8QJNQ.
Over and Out