Toronto: Fan Review from Helen - Mon 16th Jul

Toronto: Fan Review from Helen
16 July 2001

Thanks to Helen in Toronto who has sent us this review
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Monday, July 16, 2001

The mood in the Air Canada Centre, a typical hockey arena cavern, was more than expectant.
I overheard a lot of "I don't believe this is happening" type comments. And I was thinking the same thing. I'd seen the TOTP2 performance. I'd heard the Glasgow concert. But this was for real. Finally.

The arena was in a "half bowl" configuration, meaning a capacity of
about seven to eight thousand people. The front of the stage was
hung with the double headed phoenix (or is it an eagle?) banner, and
the crowd was one of the most diverse ever seen. Twentysomethings
who had seen Velvet Goldmine to the forty-to-fifty crowd reliving
their youth.

At 9:20, the lights went down, and South Downs started playing over
the PA system. The crowd hushed.
"Dim the lights - you can guess the rest"

Remake-Remodel - and they did. The power of TGPT's drumming. Bryan Ferry in black leather belting out the tune like it was 1972 all over again, and PhilManzanera grinding out chords on the red Firebird.

Streetlife followed. The crowd still hasn't gotten over the power
Roxy is producing. This ain't "The High Road" boys and girls!

Ladytron. Andy Mackay's oboe gets lost in the mix. Zev Katz's bass is a powerful low growl, and Phil Manzanera attempts to throttle his white Stratocaster to death in the solo.

Heart Still Beating sounded the best I've ever heard it. Had to be
The Great Paul Thompson's drumming.

Out of the Blue, again Andy Mackay's oboe was lost in the mix. Lucy Wilkins practically had an orgasm in her violin solo.

Song for Europe. What can I say? Colin Good's piano intro was absolutely beautiful. Bryan Ferry appeared in a white tux jacket, and Andy Mackay has a blast (literally). A personal highlight.

My Only Love. Phil Manzanera has the black Les Paul out. Spedding's guitar solo was excellent, if expected, and I got the distinct impression that the crowd did not know what to make of it. Until the end.
Spedding and Sarah Brown got some of the loudest cheering so far in the evening, and a standing ovation.
Next up - Oh Yeah. The audience let out a huge cheer - this was one
they knew. And we even got to see a couple slow dance in the front
rows. Yup - the audience still had their bums in their seats.

Both Ends Burning. Andy McKay was in fine form for this one. The
dancing girls behind The Great Paul Thompson managed to get sections of the audience up and moving. This one was basically a rave-up.

Tara. Beautiful. I wasn't sure what to expect. Tasteful, classy.
A piece of musical art.

Bryan comes back onstage in a silver tux jacket. Phil had his jacket
off by now. As Bryan gets to centre stage he decides to introduce the
band. "And the man who needs no introduction from me - The Great
Paul Thompson!". Crowd goes nuts!

Avalon comes next. Good song - standard treatment.
Dance Away follows, and seems to be another standard treatment until the end, when someone screws up. Not sure who - but the grins flashed around the stage told the story of a bunch of guys on stage having fun.

Jealous Guy finally gets people moving. Standing ovation right from
the start. Ferry's voice still seems fresh. He's in better voice
trying to snap a photo of the band with a small camera from the
aisle. Security escorts her back to her seat. Give it a break,
boys! From my vantage point - they didn't look to be being polite
about it.

Editions of You. About time - the set was starting to lose
momentum. Lucy goes bananas on the VCS2. Bryan is having a blast
egging on the sidestage seats into a "clapalong". The song sounded
just as contemporary today as it did nearly 30 years ago.

Virginia Plain is next. The floor seats are all standing. Julia
Thornton is head-banging like she's in Iron Maiden. But, when it
gets to "What's her name...?" Toronto tentatively whispers "Virginia
Plain?" It's not a question, people!! End of the set

Encore is: Love is The Drug. I danced - and I don 't dance to this
tune. And Phil's Firebird was back for its second appearance of the

Do the Strand - finally Andy's jacket is off! The dancing girls are
here again. Its the showstopper is always has been.

And Finally - For Your Pleasure. It was beautiful. It was my
pleasure to be there. Thank you, guys. And now I know where TGPT
gets that great drum sound from - mallets. A vastly different end to
what most of the crowd were expecting too. The curtain dropped back
into place and the houselights went up.

WOW. I can't wait until Boston. And be warned - merchandise was
pricey, so will probably be higher in the US. $25CDN for tour
programmes. $40CDN for T-shirts.

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