Over the last few days, I was incredibly fortunate to experience an absolute tonne of amazing, spine-tingling, soul-stirring music. It started on Thursday night when, brilliantly, the mighty Arcade Fire came into town! I’d been a bit gutted in the summer when I saw they were playing Canadian spots while I was in the UK, and British spots after I was back in Canada, but a few weeks ago I saw they’d added a stop in Winnipeg. The day tickets went on sale, I put my “do not disturb” sign on my office door, waited for the clock to strike ten, Ctrl+V’d my Visa number into the box… and absolutely rejoiced when we got possibly the best seats in the house! (These turned out to be a bit of a nightmare when we got there and found we were seated behind a selfish cow of a girl who decided she was going to stand up, smoke a joint, and dance by herself for the first three songs, completely blocking everybody’s view, and refused to sit down “because they were her favourite band”. Call me an old lady, but isn’t that why they offer tickets for the floor?) It ended up being all good, as within about 20 minutes the entire stadium were up on their feet, watching the nine-piece ensemble rock two drum sets, fierce violins, xylophones, accordions and mandolins, backed by a giant screen of images reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins circa Tonight, Tonight. It was indie, it was beautiful, it was clever, and it was epic. And seeing the gorgeous, 6’4″, half-head-shaved mastermind frontman Win Butler for two hours didn’t hurt either. 🙂
On Friday night, Sweet and I teamed up with a couple of good friends, got all dressed up and headed for opening night at the Symphony. Our friend is a music teacher and a composer, and it was awesome to see SUCH enthusiasm for the intricacies of the music – it was kind of like watching a kid in a very posh candy shop 🙂 The first half was a new composer, whose piece was kind of a bluesy, southern-style symphony complete with duelling violins, which was thoroughly entertaining. Then came Mahler 1, which, through highs, lows, haunting funeral marches and explosions of sound was nothing short of breathtaking. Highlight: the opening of the first movement sounding just like the Star Trek: TNG theme and whispering “Space: The Final Frontier” to ourselves in the seats 🙂 It was amazing to be able to see such incredible talent (and appreciation for it) right in the heart of the city – I’m hoping over the winter we can all go more often.
We had a few errands to run over the weekend too, which resulted in a lot of time in the car. Now, the one thing that makes me want to get that driving licence isn’t the thought of no longer having to wait 40 minutes in the dead of winter in a blizzard for a bus to not show up – it’s the thought of being enclosed in my own little bubble where I could blast whatever music I wanted and sing to my heart’s content with nobody to worry about impressing. Sweet’s really great about letting me take my music in the car, and this weekend I decided on a bit of a blast from the past: Kate Bush. Not my past, obviously – for those unfamiliar with Kate Bush, she was signed up by EMI at the age of sixteen, and topped the charts in 1978 for a month straight with her debut, the stunning Wuthering Heights. She was the first woman ever to have a number one single with a self-written song, and the first female artist EVER to enter the album chart at number one. She even knocked Madonna off the top spot in the eighties. She only ever toured once, in 1979, but has won Grammy awards, BRIT awards, and an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. She is an absolute LEGEND – lyrically amazing, musically genius, dramatic, controversial, and surreal – and her eerie, eclectic voice sends chills down your spine. Sweet let me crank up a Greatest Hits while driving around this weekend, and after hitting repeat on this one about seven times, declared this has to be one of “the best songs ever written”. Late seventies art rock power ballad, literary intellect, ghost stories and haunting vocals – what’s not to love? Crank this one up and dance around in your nightie – Kate didn’t need a meat dress to get the world’s attention. 🙂