And We Danced While the City Slept

*Updated Feb. 3*
(Sam’s just been nominated for some Juno Awards. Love at the End of the World has been nominated for Album of the Year, the music videos for both Them Kids and Detroit ’67 are up for Video of the Year, and Sam himself is in the running for Artist of the Year.)

Thursday night was great. The Sam Roberts tickets which had been burning a hole in my pocket since October were finally put to good use. Nothing breaks up a long, cold prairie winter like a loud, sweaty rock concert. It felt good to breathe in the heat and feel the bass drum pound in my chest. I forgot about everything else outside of the stage. The night was made even more special because I brought my 13-year-old brother along to his first rock show. It was sort of a rite of passage; if we were Guinean tribesmen, I would have sent him off alone to hunt and kill a marsupial or something.

The Stills, another Montreal band, opened up the show. It’s always an added bonus when there’s a good opening band, because it sets a good tone for the rest of the evening. Sam and the boys took the stage at exactly 9:00 and played for over an hour and a half. The set list was good, it kept me guessing, although they played fewer songs from their new album than I was expecting (Here’s a link to a recent Free Press interview with Sam, which discusses his new album). They opened up with their summer hit, Them Kids, and then continued on to play songs from all three albums. No Sleep, The Resistance and Detroit ’67 especially stood out. Aw, heck, they all stood out. Sam can’t write a bad song. They also extended some of their songs with jams at the beginning or end, which I always enjoy. Their closer, Mind Flood, is over eight minutes long on the album, but the band blew us away by extending the tune by another ten minutes to end off the show on a high note (pun fully intended). Neither Sam, nor his two backup vocalists, missed one note the entire evening. Dave, the other guitarist, is seriously underrated. And is it just me, or are rock bands way better when they have a keyboard player? The band also has a lot of great sing-along songs in their back catalogue, like Where Have All the Good People Gone?, and those songs always translate into lots of fun in a live setting.

One more thing: I really like the acoustics in the Burt. They allow the audience to hear each individual performer really well, as opposed to the acoustics at the MTS Centre, which sound somewhere in between a concrete bunker and a tin can. Long live the small old venue.

Here’s the set list, it’s not completely in order, but it’s close.

1. Them Kids
2. No Sleep
3. The Resistance
4. Up Sister
5. Fixed to Ruin
6. Hard Road
7. Bridge to Nowhere
8. Dead End
9. With a Bullet
10. Where Have All the Good People Gone?
11. Love at the End of the World
12. Lions of the Kalahari
13. Brother Down

14. Detroit ‘67
15. Words & Fire
16. Mind Flood [extended]

3 Comments

  1. wow i bet that was amazing! i would love to see sam roberts one day… it’s ridiculous how many concerts i’m missing this year. it was like all the artists i like conspired to come when i’m NOT AROUND… grrr.

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  2. what….no taj mahal? best song ever. last time me and my bro saw them and went to an indian restaurant to have taj mahal beers…then rocked out to the song. wonderbar.

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  3. Yeah, Taj Mahal is a great song, it’s one of my favourites, it would have been great to hear it live but there’s always next time. The only song I was surprised that they didn’t play was ‘The Gate’. I think that song would be a great opener for their shows.

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