Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The annual Christmas show

For several years now, Andrew and I have attended the Vinyl Cafe's Christmas show (although we missed last year's). If you've never heard of the Vinyl Cafe, it's a one hour radio show that runs on CBC 2 on Saturday at 9:00 am and on CBC 1 at 12:00 pm. The show is hosted by Stuart McLean and features music from up and coming Canadian artists, and stories, some by Stuart, some by audience members who have written to Stuart. When you see the show live, it's a little like a variety performance, I suppose. Stuart will talk a little (okay, maybe a lot), and various musical guests will play in between, and usually there's at least one group number. It's a great deal of fun. Stuart's stories are often quite humours, and the musicians are often quite good.

This year's show (this past Sunday) got off to a bit of a slow start. Andrew and I made it to the theatre with about 15 minutes to spare, which was our plan, although the other 2 members of our party whom we were meeting there were running late, due to traffic. Many other people were running late, due to traffic too. We were sitting in the theatre wondering when the show was going to start when an unassuming figure walked out onto the stage. It was Stuart and he had heard that there was a huge line up for the parking garage with he figured, people yelling: "I told you we should have left earlier" at each other. So, for about 15 minutes he took questions from the audience. The first couple, very basic: What is your shoe size (10), and how old are you (it has a 6 in it). Then we got to hear about Georgie Murphy and how Stuart only ever kissed the air between him and her, and then Stuart told us his favourite story about Peter Gzowski (involving a charity bucket for Tourette's Syndrome).

After that the show really did start. The lights went down Stuart came out again (wearing a vest and jacket this time) and the fun began. A word about the musicians first. This year's musical guests were Jill Barber, and Matt Anderson. I'd heard of Jill Barber before, she's played fairly often on the CBC. She has an interesting, quivery (as opposed to vibrato) voice that's reminiscent of female singers from the 1940s and 1950s. I think I like the slightly anachronistic quality of her style of music, as many of her songs sound like they should be playing on an radio with the whole family sitting around listening. The second artist was Matt Anderson. I'd never heard of him before, but WOW. That man has a voice that easily filled the entire Jubilee Auditorium. He was called back out onto the stage after both of his performances. I purchased both of their CD and listened to them on after we got home.

Stuart told 3 Dave and Morely stories during the show. The first was a re-tell of one of his older Christmas stories: Polly Anderson's Christmas Party. I've heard this one a couple of times before, but it's still enjoyable to hear again. The second story seemed to only have a fleeting glace at Christmas, beginning with a simple bike given as a gift one year to Ted Anderson. The rest must have happened several years after the Christmas gift and in the spring or summer. It described how Ted, after being given a basic 3-speed, had grown to love biking. The final story, again had less to do directly with Christmas, and more about a surprise gift that led to Stephanie's love for reading. I really enjoyed this story. It wasn't silly or ridiculous like many Dave and Morely stories are, it was just wonderful. I won't give anything else away, but the current year's Christmas concert is usually played on the CBC the weekend before Christmas. Listen in for a good time.

Finally, as a Beatles fan, since I've written a post for today anyway, I just want to note that today is the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Imagine.



1 comment:

karoo said...

Was listening to the show regularly before my iPod shuffle cable broke... I like the stories but they tend to be long winded, despite having a good moral or punch line. He likes to talk, which in some cases can be a good or a bad thing. :)

Nice to hear it from the perspective of an audience member!