JJQ's - Etobicoke
Saturday, March 27, 1999
by Tiuu Shelley

It's Saturday night and time for another show by our favorite piano man. It's been a couple of months since I've seen the guys and, after promising Bob Roper that I wouldn't give any of them this nasty head cold that's been pestering me (especially Larry, who's recording!), I'm off to JJQ's for what can only be a night of fun and entertainment.

Barb and I arrive at JJQ's at about 9:00pm - it's a Toronto bar gig, typical 11:30 start, so promises to be a late night. We catch up with Bob and Ian before quickly finding seats at the very front.... and run into a few familiar faces along the way. (It always seems to happen that way!) Never being one to sit still for long periods of time I spend most of the time before the show wandering aimlessly, chatting with Bob, Ian, and anyone else I know who happens to be around - Larry is out and won't return until shortly before show time but I'll find him later. When he does arrive it's easy to tell he's been warned - I get greeted with; "STAY AWAY! Ian said you're sick!" Thanks Ian. We chat for a few minutes and, when I tell him that I can't hear out of my left ear due to this cold he says "That's OK, I don't sound any good from that side anyway." Hee hee.. Good to see the humour is still there. Before you know it he's being called upon stage and I'm running to get to my seat!

From there on in the night was simply electric. High, high, energy (isn't there always?), lots of new material, and lots of new songs (can't wait for that new album!). A very captivating show, so captivating that I even forgot to take pictures (Sorry Chantele! I took maybe 3 in total!). Unlike the last show at JJQ's when everyone asked Bob was Larry sick or ticked off because he wasn't talking on stage at all!, Larry's in a talkative mood tonight, bantering and joking with audience - something that gets a little vuGowanar at times. How can it not with the constant shouts of "TAKE IT OFF" and "We love you!!!?" Ha! He definitely had fun with those! After the millionth shout of "we love you!" Larry dedicated a song to the ladies who were shouting it.... "People are Strange!"

The highlights of the night (well, it's all one big highlight, but you know what I mean.), were definitely the new songs - the new album is going to be great. "Manchester Morning Grey" is definitely a favorite, as is "Still High From The Night," others.... "Stranglehold," "Bring On The Storm," (written after nearly electrocuting himself during a outdoor show after a RAIN STORM!), "Merry Road To Hell" (amazing piano work here!), and, of course, "Insane." Stellar!

He also played many old favorites during this two hour extravaganza (where did the two hours go??? Time flies!): my all-time favorite "Moonlight Desires," "Cosmetics," "All The Lover's In The World," and "The Good Catches Up," to name just a few. Another favorite of mine,... Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" - better, in my mind, than the original. (Sorry Neil!). It all came to an end with a standing ovation and a brief encore - "A Criminal Mind" (of course!) and "I Am The Walrus." WOW! Beatles eat your heart out - Mr. G has taken over! (Again, better than the original - and it's not just because I'm biased - I love the Beatles!)

Through all of this, I tried to keep my coughing and hacking to a minimum - a feat I realized I didn't achieve when Larry asked from the stage "Are you OK??" - OOPS! At least he didn't point it out over the mic! Still, I guess I wasn't too loud because he left the stage to thunderous applause and another standing ovation. Thank God I didn't drown him out!

The night wasn't over quite yet as Larry moved to the back of the room to sign autographs and chat with fans - after all that time he's still as energetic as ever! It's a good thing too because the room is still packed an hour later while Larry leisurely signed, chatted, and posed for pictures with anyone who cared to stay - it seemed everyone cared to stay on this particular night. I, of course, stopped briefly to said "hi" and get a picture (Hee hee.. He stood on a chair to make up for the height difference - despite being 6'0" I wore 3" heels!) and, despite the numerous times I've seen him play, he seems surprised that I enjoyed it - go figure, he's as humble as ever. He appreciates his fans - a refreshing rarity in the world of fame and rock and roll - accessibility!

Especially impressive tonight considering there were several of his friends and family in the audience tonight. I guess he caught up with them later as, even when Barb and I left, there were still people lining up to chat - I wonder what time he finally got home??! All in all, it was a great night. One of the best shows I've seen... and you know I say that after every one because he just keeps getting better. From what I hear, the next show in this area, or really even anywhere, won't be until after the new album so all I have to say is..... "Hurry up and get the album finished!!!!"

   
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