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#BGReviewer: I Mother Earth & Our Lady Peace October 27, 2016

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#BGReviewer: Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth featuring Edwin and The Standstills

I was very fortunate to be chosen as the “#BGReviewer” for the Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth (ft. Edwin) and The Standstills show at Budweiser Gardens. I can’t even begin to explain how much I needed this experience! I have been a fan of Our Lady Peace for well over 20 years.  I used to run a very popular fan site (back in the days of Geocities) and I followed them to well over 20 concerts, including the time I saw them in England at The Borderline (a tiny club with a stage as high as my kneecaps).

The show began with the most energetic talent you could ever imagine out of a two-piece band, The StandStills. This pair, who met while attending London’s own Fanshawe College, have been a Canadian success story ever since.  Together, their electrifying music and “hometown” familiarity was the perfect vestibule for one of Canada’s most beloved bands – I Mother Earth featuring Edwin.

I Mother Earth and Our Lady Peace go together like Jenny and Forrest -- or peas and carrot (I bet my friends didn’t think I could work a Tom Hanks reference in to this review – you were wrong!). Concertgoers were in for a special treat on this tour as Edwin (who left the band in 1997) was back with his former band mates for another go at making us all feel a bit of nostalgia and a whole lot of energy! Edwin’s enthusiastic return to IME could be felt through the vocals and it felt like I Mother Earth had never been separate. I couldn’t think of a more perfect ensemble to open for Our Lady Peace.  In fact, it was Our Lady Peace who opened for I Mother Earth when the band was still in their infancy.

I was reminded of a time when I was 15 years old. At the time I was attending every Our Lady Peace concert my parents would provide transportation to.  I watched shows indoors, outdoors, intimate acoustic shows, shows in the pouring rain, from the middle of mosh pits – but very rarely have I actually had a chair to call my own during one of these shows. Many years have passed and I appreciated the comfort the seat provided (thanks fancy RBC Theatre cover!) and fondly remembered the times of rushing to the front of a general admission show.  I remember hanging on to the front barrier as hard as my 5’3” body would allow. At the end of the show my ears would be ringing and I could feel my body re-inflate.  Although I fondly remembered those times, I could never imagine 35-year-old me clinging to a barrier in hopes to catch my favourite band up close.

The beauty of the RBC Theatre is the intimacy. Even though we were further back than what I was used to, you could feel the energy from all around the arena and didn’t have to worry about getting burnt with a cigarette in a mosh pit (yes, that happened to me before – I have a scar!).  Don’t let the fancy curtains and seat covers fool you, this was a rock concert and it definitely served the purpose of rock.

After a brief intermission, the lights were dimmed and the familiar melody of One Man Army calmed the sound of the anticipating crowd. “Save me from this space…” I was immediately taken back to my days of listening to OLP on my bed in my basement bedroom for hours (I was one of those kids).   What struck me as peculiar at first was that the crowd was calm.  Most of them were standing, or sitting in swaying, all in a trance by the melodic vibes of this staple to the Canadian music scene.  I quickly realized that we are a lot older than 15 now – and jumping up and down all night and going to work in an office the next day aren’t a good mix for us old people.  Although the crowd was mellow, that certainly didn’t stop the sing-alongs or the chanting “OLP…OLP…OLP”.

Raine Maida’s passion for music is a refreshing reminder of how music is supposed to be. Jason Pierce (also a Londoner!), who is filling in for live shows due to the departure of beloved band member Jeremy Taggart, was an enthusiastic addition to the ensemble.

The crowd was treated to old favourites as well as a new addition, Drop Me In the Water, an attractive addition to OLP’s anticipated ninth studio album. The excitement in the theatre was blossomed as they drilled directly into their stellar hit Naveed right after energizing the crowd with another hit single, Superman’s Dead.

At one point in their set, during a matured rendition of In Repair, the band threw a small, beautifully acceptable and haunting rendition of Grace, too, a tribute to one of the founding fathers of Canadian rock, Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip. After a well-rounded set of favourites, the band briefly left the stage, only to return to play two more fan favourites, 4AM and Starseed.  

A huge thanks goes out to Budweiser Gardens for having the BGReviewer program and for allowing me and my guest to enjoy the show in exchange for a review.

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