| HOW'S THIS FOR OPENERS? Talk; a.k.a. Nicholas Durocher, |
graduated from mom's basement to setting the mood
for Shania Twain's Queen of Me Tour. Photo lifted from
Here're just a few of the things I learned. Or was reminded of.
Shania Lesson One:
If you're going to a concert, show up on time.
Even when you've never heard of them before, try to take in the opening act. When I was in grade nine, I and my friend Rick came to Toronto for a Frank Zappa concert at Massey Hall. Opening for Zappa was some piano player with a weird singing voice that nobody'd ever heard of and few of us paid attention to. His name was Tom Waits. True story.
But back to Shania. The concert was at the ScotiaBank Arena, and though the event was sold out, I'd estimate half the audience didn't arrive until the opener--a performer who bills himself as "Talk"-- was almost done.
Talk, who used to be Nicholas Durocher, took everybody by surprise and I bet nobody in the joint was like Rick and I were at that Zappa concert and thinking,"okay okay let's get this over with and on to main act."
Talk was wholly engrossing, lovable and if you listen to Run Away to Mars you'll hear why we--the smart people who showed up on time--were glad we did. I don't know how these opening acts get picked but I know I feel about Talk the same way I felt the first time I heard Shania.
Shania Lesson Two:
Crocs--the shoes not the reptiles that you'll eventually see but only after awhile--come in size 17!
Halfway through his performance, Talk demonstrated a new sport that he created--the Croc Kick--in which he sees how far into the audience he can hoof one of his giant Crocs. Best part? He, who looks twice my height and weight--very sweetly asked the audience to return the kicked Croc "because I'm not rich and I'd like my shoe back. I wear size 17 and it's hard to get shoes that big."
Shania Lesson Three:
|PRETTY LIAR: No. Not her. The song. That's the name|
of the song. About her ex, I'm thinking. Well, me, too, if I
told you I took this photo. I instead swiped it from
The Toronto Sun review. Photograph by Dean Pilling
Shania Lesson Four:
Crime, too, is more way fun when committed by people you don't expect. First, you have to know that time was--when you entered the Toronto Transit system at a subway station--you dropped your token into a slot and a turnstile gave you one entry. Over the past few years, the turnstiles have been replaced by electronic gates, which you open by scanning your ticket. As soon as you're through, the gate shuts, locked, behind you. When Mary and I headed to the concert Sunday, Mary was so excited she actually entered the subway station closely enough on my tail that she came through the gate on the same scan as me! Do you have any idea how hard that is to do? I'm pretty sure she did it by mistake, but afterward we were laughing like stoned teenagers, and I said, "Mary I've lived in Toronto almost 40 years. I've ridden the subway at all hours of the day and night and with all manner of ne-er-do-wells and yahoos and in all states of mind including being really drunk but nobody has EVER pulled that before." Even better, there was a transit cop watching when it happened and he didn't say a word. I think he was in shock. I know I was. Turnstile leaping carries a $400 and change fine. Something just occured to me. I bet Mary's felonious behaviour was caught on camera. Pray the clip finds its way to YouTube.
Shania Lesson Five:
|LARCENY IN SPARKLY JEANS |
Me and my fare-evading big sister. Photo by
a woman walking her dog on our street.
Shania Lesson Six:
As our late brother Ed said, "if you never say 'never' you can't say 'never say never.'" In April, 2016, my generous and brilliant niece Jennifer Carter treated me to a Garth Brooks concert at Canadian Tire Place near Ottawa. Along the drive from Toronto to the show, I was telling myself: "Peter. No matter what, you are NOT going to stand up and sing along, even during Low Places." You already know the end of this story. Same thing happened at the Shania show. Except for the f word. I did not sing the f word.
Shania Lesson Seven:
She's still, at 58, got it. Twain & Talk put on an incredibly entertaining show that you can read about here, but more importantly, should you ever get a chance, go to a concert with Mary. It'll be unf'nforgettable..