Review by Jesse Espana

 

Barenaked Ladies set a milestone by playing their 20th show at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The quintessential Canadian rockers have been at it for 27 years, and Barenaked Ladies gave the crowd everything and more.

The night kicked off with Get Back Up off the band’s latest release Silverball, the name of the tour. Ironically, it wan’t until after the song that the whole crowd got up. This was the case for a lot of the newer songs to the band’s catalogue. It was very apparent that fans were there for the hits.

I admit, I grew up to the band’s hits being on the radio. Hearing them for the first time live was a great experience. However, the band’s newer songs didn’t seem to get the crowd going as much. Be it how recent the songs are or the change up in their sound, the music didn’t seem to resonate with show goers and they didn’t get out of their seats for much of the band’s newer material.

Luckily for fans, myself included, many of BNL best known songs were spread throughout the night, which included The Old Apartment, Brian Wilson, and One Week, among others. These were by far the highest points of the show. Everyone knew the words and the excitement in the room was through the roof.

Between songs Barenaked Ladies showed they can still entertain a packed room. Cracking jokes and have a few laughs with the crowd have always made the Canadian four-piece a band you could connect with. Lead vocalist Ed Robertson would poke fun of anyone and everyone.

Speaking of Robertson, he’s managed to stand the test of time. While I’ve never been too big on his voice or styling, he did many of ex-member Steven Page’s part with ease. There were even moments when I was kind of amazed with his voice. He’s had to step up as the leading voice for the band and he’s made the transition quite seamless.

Robertson wasn’t the only one taking the reins on vocals. Bassist Jim Creeggan sang Narrow Streets, a song that he penned, and multi instrumentalist Kevin Hearn sang the love song Passcode. Drummer Tyler Stewart took over the speedy vocals on One Week as well as the first song of the band’s encore, Drawing.

BNL brought open Great Big Sea‘s Alan Doyle out to help with Lovers in a Dangerous Time and it added that much more to the song. Robertson’s two sons came out for Keepin’ It Real as one joined Hearn and Robertson on guitar and the other sat behind a miniature drum set next to Stewarts.  Robertson joked that they couldn’t be a band forever and that their kids could potentially become to next touring line up for BNL. For Roberton’s eldest, who was mentioned as having his first shift at his first ever job, it must have been quite the week. The accompaniments made the music more enjoyable and fun.

The peak of the performance came with If I Had $1,000,000, alongside Alan Doyle and his backing band. The crowd waited patiently for it and were ready when it hit. Everyone sang and danced and were on the brink of holding hands as if the whole hall turned into a campfire singalong.

Barenaked Ladies rocked the historic Massey Hall just as Toronto got it’s first taste of the impending winter weather. There really couldn’t have been a more Canadian way of spending a Friday night.

Setlist:

Get Back Up

The Old Apartment

Odds Are

Gonna Walk

Matter of Time

Brian WIlson

Narrow Streets

Lovers in a Dangerous Time (w/ Alan Doyle)

For You

Falling for the First Time

Did I Say That Out Loud?

Passcode

Keepin’ It Real

Duct Tape Heart

Pinch Me

Big Bang Theory Theme

One Week

If I Had $1,000,000

Barenaked Rap

Encore:

Drawing

Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)

We’re Not Gonna Take it (w/ Dee Snider)