Elton, Paul Simon/Sting to make tour stops in Toronto and Montreal

Two BIG concert announcements to tell you about. First up: Sir Elton John and his band will be playing Montreal and Toronto Wednesday February 5th and Thursday February 6th respectively. According to his website.  Elton and the band will be playing classic album tracks from his incredible five-decade career, as well as a selection of songs from his new album, The Diving Board, which was released on Capitol Records in September.

This will be the 18th time that Elton has performed in Montreal (the first being in October 1972) and the seventh time at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Tickets for the Montreal show (prices not listed) go on sale to the general public on Saturday, November 9 at noon at evenko.caTickets for the Toronto show ($71-$171 including the fees) go on sale to the general public on Friday November 8 at 10:00 a.m. at ticketmaster.ca.

I’ve seen Elton three times in 1980, 1982, and 2006. At the 1980 show his opening act was a UK singer named Judy Tzuke who was signed to Elton’s Rocket Records label at the time. In 1982, the opening act was Quarterflash (remember “Harden My Heart“?); both Elton and Quarterflash were labelmates on Geffen Records at the time.

Check out my ticket stub from the 1980 show. Note the price:

Elton John 1980

The other BIG announcement:

Paul Simon Sting

Yep, this one is interesting. Paul Simon and Sting are hitting the road for a short joint tour that runs February 8th-March 16th (with more dates possible) with stops in Montreal (Friday February 28th) and Toronto (Saturday March 1st). According to what I’ve read, the tour will likely follow a pattern of each performer playing their own hits followed by some duets.  This one won’t be cheap, though (at least for the Toronto show).

I’ve seen Paul Simon three times, including the amazing Graceland tour in 1987; Sting just once when he paired up with Annie Lennox for their 2004 tour. That last one was a fantastic show.

Tickets for the Montreal show (prices not listed) go on sale to the general public on Tuesday November 12 at 10:00 a.m. at evenko.caTickets for the Toronto show ($63-$268 including the fees) also go on sale to the general public on Tuesday November 12 at 10:00 a.m. at ticketmaster.caHowever, there are presales that begin TOMORROW Wednesday November 6th as follows:

Fan Pre-sale

Start: Wed, 11/06/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Fri, 11/08/13 03:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Pre-Sale

Start: Wed, 11/06/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Mon, 11/11/13 10:00 PM EST

Front Of The Line By American Express

Start: Thu, 11/07/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Sat, 11/09/13 05:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Post-sale

Start: Tue, 11/12/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Sat, 02/08/14 05:00 PM EST

Get out your wallets now. Looks like the 2014 concert season is going to be expensive.


Peter Gabriel covers album out September 23rd. Even has some CanCon.

peter-gabriel“Rather than make a traditional covers record, I thought it would be much more fun to create a new type of project in which artists communicated with each other and swapped a song for a song, i.e. you do one of mine and I’ll do one of yours, hence the title – Scratch My Back – And I’ll Scratch Yours.”

Peter Gabriel

The first phase of this project, Scratch My Back, was released in March 2010 and featured Gabriel covering tracks by such artists as Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Lou Reed and Arcade Fire. Now comes part two. On September 23rd, Gabriel will release And I’ll Scratch Yours, in which many of the artists Gabriel covered the first go round return the favour here.  Among the Gabriel tracks covered are “Big Time” (Randy Newman), “Don’t Give Up (Feist) and Lou Reed turning one of Gabriel’s most popular songs, “Solsbury Hill”, into something far removed from the original. Very far removed.

Here’s the complete tracklisting for And I’ll Scratch Yours:

I Don’t Remember David Byrne
Come Talk to Me Bon Iver
Blood of Eden Regina Spektor
Not One of Us Stephin Merritt
Shock the Monkey Joseph Arthur
Big Time Randy Newman
Games Without Frontiers Arcade Fire
Mercy Street Elbow
Mother of Violence Brian Eno
Don’t Give Up Feist feat. Timber Timbre
Solsbury Hill Lou Reed
Biko Paul Simon

BONUS: You can listen to samples from the album here.

And just for fun, here’s Peter Gabriel riding a bike. Seriously.

Happy Sunday. Here’s my playlist from this morning. #whatareyoulisteningto

Hope you like some of these:

1.Lovers’ Eyes–Mumford and Sons

2. Dancing In The Dark–John Legend

3. Us Against The World–Coldplay

4. Sweet Wanomi–Bill Withers

5. Hearts and Bones–Paul Simon

6. One More Night–Blue Rodeo

7. Right Down The Line–Bonnie Raitt

8. The Search–Pat Metheny Group

9. I’m Not Drowning–Steve Winwood

10. The Fever–Bruce Springsteen

The “It’s Friday. Finally.” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

Ok, so the weather forecast for the weekend is iffy, but who cares. It’s the weekend. Just the thought of sleeping in a little made the subway ride today all the more tolerable.

1. Take It Inside–Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Hearts of Stone) [Great New Jersey rock n soul.]

2. Gone At Last–Paul Simon (Still Crazy After All These Years) [A little bit of gospel. Bet you can’t sit still through this one.]

3. Jump Up Behind Me–James Taylor (Hourglass) [A good album from JT. Recommended.]

4. Another Day (That Time Forgot)–Neil Diamond (Home Before Dark) [A killer tune. Really.]

5. Drowned–The Who (Live at the Royal Albert Hall) [One of my favourite Who songs. Pete’s amazing on this one.]

6. Blues In The Night–Quincy Jones (Quincy Jones’ Finest Hour) [Great ’60’s big band from Q.]

7. I Wanna Marry You–Bruce Springsteen (The River) [The Boss is such a romantic.]

8. Place To Be–Nick Drake (Way To Blue: An Introduction To Nick Drake) [Seems every year new people are discovering the genius that was Nick Drake.]

9. I’m So Proud–Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions (The Anthology 1961-1977) [Classic soul.]

10. Nothing But A Good Time–Lyle Lovett (My Baby Don’t Tolerate) [Catch him at Massey Hall in Toronto this summer. Sorry, couldn’t find a link for this track.]

The “Starting to Feel Like Summer” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

Finally. It’s finally starting to feel like summer. I don’t even mind the walk to and from the subway now. The actual ride itself…well, that’s another matter altogether. In rotation today:

1. That Was Me—Paul McCartney (Memory Almost Full) [Sir Paul continues to tour this summer, putting on three hour-plus shows. Amazing.]

2. Heavy—The Black Crowes (By Your Side) [A great album from start to finish from a soon-to-be on hiatus rock n roll band.]

3. Time Bomb—Dave Matthews Band (Big Whiskey and The GrooGrux King) [Catch them on the road this year if you can. They’re taking 2011 off.]

4. Phone Call—Joe Satriani (Flying In A Blue Dream) [A bouncy number from a the guitar master.]

5. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)—Simple Minds (The Best of) [Great cut from 1982.]

6. Song About The Moon—Paul Simon (Hearts and Bones) [Like Paul Simon? Don’t have this album? Get it. One of his best.]

7. Lookout—Cheap Trick (At Budokan) [One of the best live albums. Really captures the band at their peak.]

8. Nina’s Dance—Tony Scott (Talkin’ Verve) [Ok, Cheap Trick into this acid jazz groove from 1967 can be a little jarring, but hey, that’s shuffle mode for ya. Sorry couldn’t find a link for this one.]

9. Stool Pigeon—Kid Creole & The Coconuts (Wise Guy) [Saw Kid Creole twice in the ’80s, as a headliner then as an opener for James Brown. They put on a helluva show.]

10. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)—Marvin Gaye (15 Greatest Hits) [There will never be another like Mrvin Gaye. Superb.]

Montreal gets lone Canadian date for Peter Gabriel mini-tour; new Bowie live disc

Peter Gabriel, whose new all-covers disc “Scratch My Back” hits stores mid-February, will be launching a North American mini-tour this spring in just three cities: Montreal, New York and Los Angeles. It actually comes as no surprise that Gabriel would choose Montreal as the city’s music fans have long had an affinity for the prog-rock sounds of Genesis, Pink Floyd, ELP and the like. Gabriel hits the Bell Centre on April 28th, followed by two shows on New York May 2nd and 3rd and an L.A. show on May 7th. No word on any further dates.

“Scratch My Back” is an all-orchestral covers album (as noted on his website, no drums and no guitars) and includes covers of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)“, Neil Young’s “Philadelphia” and Paul Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble”. There are also plans for a disc called “I’ll Scratch Yours” featuring covers of Peter Gabriel tunes by those same artists. Ticket info for the Montreal show has not yet been announced.

Gabriel’s cover of “Heroes ” can also be heard on Download To Donate for Haiti, a compilation of as-yet unreleased music with proceeds going to earthquake relief. You can hear “Heroes” and other tracks here.

And speaking of Bowie, his new live double-disc souvenir of his 2003 Reality tour hits stores tomorrow. It contains over 30 tracks including such hits as “Rebel Rebel”, “Changes”, “Ziggy Stardust”, the aforementioned “Heroes” plus selections from his “Reality” disc, which while not up to par with some of his earlier work is actually pretty good. Check out live clips here.

2010 lineup for Massey Hall continues to grow

Ever been to a concert at Massey Hall in Toronto? I love seeing performers in a theatre-setting like that one. Sure, the building is showing its age (hell, it was showing its age 25 years ago) and the seats are a little on the snug side. And while a sell-out means just over 2700 in the hall, it’s still a remarkably intimate venue. Over the last 100+ years, the grand dame of Toronto concert venues has seen an incredible range of performers grace its stage, from Canadian icons like Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Oscar Peterson and Rush to a who’s who of American and international performers. I’ve seen a handful of shows there, including Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon and most recently, Steely Dan.

For 2010, the roster is building nicely. Already scheduled are homegrown faves like Colin James (January 26th), Jann Arden (January 27th-30th) and Blue Rodeo (February 2nd and 3rd). Blues legend Buddy Guy comes to town on April 9th, and another guitar virtuoso, Mark Knopfler plays later in the month on April 29th.

Now comes word of three new additions to the Massey Hall calendar, with tickets all going sale within the next week. First up, Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace will play two shows on March 12th and 13th. Tickets are $42.50-52.50 and go on sale to the general public Saturday December 12th @ 2:00 p.m. ET at ticketmaster.ca. According to the Massey Hall website, the band will perform their album “Clumsy” in its entirety on March 12th, and “Spiritual Machines” on March 13th. Each show will be rounded out by selections from the OLP catalogue.

On March 23rd, singer-songwriter Norah Jones takes the stage to promote her latest cd, The Fall. Tickets are $55.50-65.50 and go on sale to the general public Monday December 14th @ 12:00 p.m. ET at ticketmaster.ca. You can listen to music from the new cd streaming on Jones’ website here.

And then on May 13th, the always interesting jazz guitar legend Pat Metheny hits the stage for a solo show, of sorts. Metheny’s new disc, Orchestrion, will be out in January. According to his website, the disc is described as follows:
“With Orchestrion, Metheny dramatically redefines the concept of the solo album. He is indeed the only live musician on this recording, but it’s the opposite of, say, the austere 2003 One Quiet Night, in which Metheny hunkered down in his home studio to explore the musical possibilities of a single new guitar. Here Metheny works with a magical set-up of acoustic and acousto-electric instrumentation, assembled for him by a far-flung team of mad musical scientists and digital dreamers. ”
Make of that what you will. I am a huge fan of the Pat Metheny Group (featuring long-time collaborator, keyboardist Lyle Mays) and have seen them in concert a couple of times. This is probably the configuration for which he is the best known and popular. Tickets for the Metheny show are $42.50-85.50 and go on sale this Friday December 11th at 10:00 am on tickemaster.ca.

All good stuff. Can’t wait to see how the rest of 2010 fills out.

Our Lady Peace:

Norah Jones:

Pat Metheny Group: