Steven Page in Concert

[photo of the concert ticket]

A cou­ple nights ago we went to see Steven Page in con­cert at the West­man Cen­ten­ni­al Audi­to­ri­um. It’s been a while; he has­n’t been to Bran­don in twen­ty-five years. He was on tour with Craig Northey of The Odds and Kevin Fox, a cellist.

The show was amaz­ing. I con­fess, I did­n’t know much of Page’s new­er stuff, but what I heard I liked. We end­ed up buy­ing a cou­ple CDs dur­ing the inter­mis­sion, so I look for­ward to hear­ing more of his recent work.

The music was great, a nice mix of old Bare­naked Ladies tunes and Page’s new work. He’s got a dis­tinc­tive voice, both in his vocals and in his lyrics. His songs each tell a sto­ry, and Lord knows I’m a suck­er for a sto­ry song. But the sto­ry’s not often straight­for­ward, and deep, dark truths can be hid­den in bop­py, hap­py pop tunes.

Page, Fox, and Northey had a great rap­port on the stage, too, and the ban­ter between the three of them was com­fort­able, amus­ing, and easy­go­ing. There was­n’t a sin­gle moment, lis­ten­ing to their lit­tle sto­ries between songs, that I was impa­tient for the music to start. The tales told were as much a part of the expe­ri­ence at the songs.

Here’s my favourite of Page’s new work, at least so far: “Grav­i­ty”.

Ear­ly on in the show, he launched into the BNL tune “The War on Drugs”, after which he joked that he knew a lot of us were hop­ing that he’d play some of the old Bare­naked back cat­a­log, and he also knew that we were all hop­ing he’d pick the most obscure, depress­ing ones to treat us to.

They snuck an Odds song (“Some­one Who Is Cool”) into the break­down in “Alter­na­tive Girl­friend”, which I thought was a nice touch (and it was good to hear Northey’s voice in the fore­front, too; he has­n’t lost his touch either).

On the whole, I loved the con­cert. A friend of ours, at the end, said it was bet­ter than she’d expect­ed. My wife and I dis­agreed: it was as great as we’d hoped.

Hope­ful­ly we don’t have to wait anoth­er twen­ty-five years for anoth­er encore. Eh, Steven? 

[Edit­ed to add:] Oh man, I for­got to men­tion the Sleep Coun­try Canada/Wexit song. You’ll have to ask me about it some time.