Saturday, September 03, 2005

I'm back & Happy 100th B-day, Alberta

Got back yesterday morning after over 20 hours of driving during the last 2 days.

I was vaguely disappointed by last Friday's Ben Folds show. The music was great and all, but he barely played for an hour with no encore and quickly had to vacate the stage for Rufus Wainwright since the whole outdoor show apparently had to wrap up before 10pm (noise bylaws, I reckon). A lot of the people there weren't even there to see Ben Folds, but to either see Rufus or sit and drink wine. Did I mention this concert was at a winery? I think the older folk were clueless about the performers but had some sort of season pass to the Summer Concert Series which includes (later) the likes of Mark Knopfler, Steve Winwood, Robert Plant, and Tori Amos. Plus, I had a junky seat way at the back. Hopefully I'll get to see him perform again someday in a better venue (with better seats!).

One of the highlights was a hilarious live cover of Dr. Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit. He apologized to the band's adoptive family in Seattle, who he said had probably not heard such salty language before. I'm sure the parents in the crowd with their toddlers weren't too impressed either, but it was a hoot. Check out a studio version of it here:

Ben Folds - Bitches Ain't Shit

Another cool part was when Rufus Wainwright joined Ben on stage for a cover of Careless Whisper. Here's a version of that recorded at a show last year:

Ben Folds with Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper
[originally by Wham]


I came back to Edmonton just in time for our province's 100th birthday celebration yesterday. I had a ticket to the big gala show at our newly renovated Jubilee Auditorium. It was a big live television thing synchronized between a bunch of cities/towns in Alberta, but mainly in Edmonton and Calgary. The Prime Minister, Governor General, Lieutenant General, and Premier were all there for this 2 hour show which featured performers like Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, and K.D. Lang. The show kicked off with a big country song about Alberta from Paul Brandt, which made me vaguely embarrassed that our province is stereotypically defined by horses, tractors, haystacks, and cowboys. I'm not a country music fan, so I thought I was in for a long night. Thankfully, the rest of the show was more diversified with some rock, jazz, Celtic, and native performances. There were also simultaneous province-wide fireworks supposedly bright enough to be viewed from space. Organizers had hoped for NASA to take photos of the event, though apparently the available satellites over North America were focused on hurricane Katrina, which does seem a bit more important than a big birthday party.

The showstopper of the night was a gut-wrenching, fist-clenching, wall-shaking performance by K.D. Lang of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Oddly enough, this was the second time in less than a week that I had heard this song performed live. Rufus Wainwright also did a cover of it last Friday beautifully accompanied by his cousin Lucy. Though his version was great, the person who yelled "Wooooo! The Shrek song!" basically underlined the vaguely cheapened effect of having the song so prominently featured in the big CG ogre film [trivia: John Cale's version is in the film and Rufus's is on the soundtrack]. Here's K.D. Lang's take off her album last year of Canadian covers, Hymns Of The 49th Parallel.

K.D. Lang - Hallelujah [originally by Leonard Cohen]

Later in the show Paul Brandt came back on stage for a dreadful cover of Convoy (not gonna post it). I generally don't like country music and combining that with Convoy makes my ears bleed. Ian Tyson ended the show with some old-school country, which I enjoyed in spite of myself (so there, I don't hate all country music).


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Fongolia said...

OK, I've turned on word verification for any (if ever) comments because I just had to delete two automated spam comments. Bah!