After seeing what turned out to be the most amazing show I have ever seen in Montreal, I headed to Barrie not knowing what to expect. A huge outdoor venue in the middle of nowhere, infamous for it's ridiculous prices and lack of organization, left me skeptical as to whether or not PJ could pull off another great show. We stayed over at friend's house the night before and got up early to head up to Barrie. I promised myself I was going to have a good time today, I wasn't going to let the venue and ignorant people get to me. After our last trip to Molson Park, which ended with me hurling a hamburger patty 30 feet in frustration, I promised everyone I would take it easy and relax.
After arriving at the park, lining up and getting merchandise, I settled in to watch the acts on the side stage. Hayden was a major highlight. I'm a huge fan and I was not let down. His set was extremely short but lived up to expectations. The venue was the same as usual, $2 to get hosed down, and $20 for a hot dog and a Pepsi. Yep Molson Park gotta love it!
Cheap Trick put on another energetic performance and for the most part the crowed behaved disrespectfully. Once again welcome to Molson Park, please check your brain at the door. We all sat towards the back of the lawn, not wanting to be anywhere near what promised to be a ferocious pit. The change over seemed to take a little longer tonight, but PJ hit the stage as scheduled at around 8:15.
The Color Red was not played tonight and we were all kind of surprised when PJ arrived out of nowhere, without warning. Ed picked up his guitar and Matt started the band into a short improve which threw us a little off. Everyone looked at me (I was the only "Hardcore" fan in the group) and all I could do was give them a dumb look and say, "What the hell is this?" The improve was brief and led into Corduroy. Only a few minutes into the song Ed's guitar cut out and he took it off his shoulder and has greeted by his tech, who gave him a new guitar. Brain of J followed and once again Mike, who appears to be training for the Olympics, began running from one end of the stage to the other.
Hail, Hail and Animal followed and both were on. During Animal, I decided to point out to every one in my group the impressive McCready scissor kick. "Ok, here it comes, watch this." Mike doesn't kick. "Wait here it comes." No kick and everyone quits looking and of course Mike decides to kick. "There! Look!" I think they thought I was crazy for a while but in the end they ended up seeing the kick and were all very impressed.
After animal Ed addressed the crowed. "We made it! It looks beautiful out there. I remember this place now. We played here a long time ago. This time I promise it will be better, it was alright last time, but this time it will be better. I feel better, I'm Eddie Vedder!" We had to laugh, that Ed is one funny guy. I was surprised and happy to hear Dissident next. I had seen them play it earlier this year and I think this is one of those songs that the band enjoys playing live. Given To Fly was greeted with a huge cheer and I impressed everyone by playing the "What song is next game", although Given To Fly is one of the easier ones.
MFC and Habit followed and Ed took this moment to address the U.S. bombings. During the "Speaking as…" part in Habit, Ed, after pausing and searching for words said, "Speaking as a dumb-ass, beer-drinking, propaganda-believing, missile-shooting, American." I'm not sure the crowed really got it but it was hard to imagine that Ed would not mention the topic at some point. Wishlist once again appeared to get the largest crowed reaction of all the Yield songs. Ed added the lyric, "I wish I was as fortunate as fortunate as you."
The crowd was fairly loud and into the show, Even Flow however, sent them into frenzy. Ed once again focused, Mike wailing, Stone and Jeff intense and Matt pounding away. Daughter was played a little earlier on then usual and included Surrender by Cheap Trick as the tag. The crowed erupted for In Hiding, which was the current radio signal and was getting heavy play in Toronto. Jeremy was, as it always is, was a crowd favorite and finished with the crowd taking over the vocal. Ed just leaned back and enjoyed the free time and acknowledged the crowd, "Good singin."
From where I was sitting it was virtually impossible to make out any interaction amongst the band members, however it was noted to me later on, from someone who got close, that Ed spend a lot of the night enjoying Mike's lead work. Before State of Love and Trust, Ed noted that Mike McCready had a special guest, and Mike emerged from the side of the stage holding one of Rick Nielsen's double-neck guitars! Mike, who had been in awe of Mr. Nielsen the past two days, blazed threw SOLAT with the guitar.
There was a bit of a delay as Jeff grabbed his stand-up bass, and once again I'm stumped. "Maybe they'll play Daughter again", I was thinking jokingly. NOTHINGMAN!!!! I have yet to meet a PJ fan that does not have some emotional attachment to this song. It's in my top 5 and it was my first time hearing it live. During the song they flashed a slide show of lightning crashing. It complimented the song beautifully and once again I found myself in that place, I was lost in the music. Betterman was next and it wasn't till about halfway through it hit me. I turned to my girlfriend, "what do you think, the man trilogy?"
Joanne looked at me doubtfully, "Nooooooo."
Ed walked up to the mic, people were screaming "Leatherman! Leatherman!" Ed smiled and looked out to the crowd. "Well we played Nothingman, then we played Betterman , now we're going to play a B-side called Leatherman." I was freaking. Halfway through Leatherman Ed's guitar, the same one from the beginning of the show, cut out. He took this point to speak while the rest of the band played the interlude in Leatherman. "On the drive in today I saw a couple of cool things. First there was this guy walking around with a watermelon on his head. That guy should be Canadian of the year. Then I saw the coolest thing I've seen all tour. There were these guys with a trailer and on it they had a couch, a table…..they were right at home! This song is about a bad ass. And you guys are a bunch of bad asses! All of you! The people up front, the people in the back!" It was cool. Ed got a new guitar and they finished the trilogy.
Alive closed out the set and during Mike's solo Ed ran to either end of the stage, walking out onto the huge speaker platforms and acknowledging the crowd. Once again I though about how fresh and re-energized the band seemed, and I'm referring to this year in general not just this show. Eddie danced all night and Mikey ran all over the place. Jeff never seems to have trouble getting into things and Stone look genuinely content for the first time in a long time.
Upon returning for the encore Ed explained how the size of the show was too much and next time, promised to play three shows in a smaller venue. I looked at Joanne, "Thank Christ!" He thanked Hayden and Cracker and said, "It was nice to be the Band tonight." He explained however there might not be a next time because the Doomsday Clock had been moved up and was now at 5 to midnight. It went over most people's heads and Ed responded, "You have no Idea what I'm talking about do you?" The Crowd cheered and Ed shot back, "It means were all gonna die, Fuckers!" I laughed my ass off again.
Immortality is one of those songs, a Mikey song. During the solo I found myself with my head back and eyes closed, like Mike, focused on the moment. Rearviewmirror was another crowed pleaser and led into Last Exit and I Got Id. Towards the end of I Got Id I was thinking about Toronto 96, "Is he gonna do the Cinnamon Girl tag again?!" I got my wish. The crowd went crazy as Ed threw Mr. Young into an already amazing set. Black was next and I must say that this song seems to have been transformed into a McCready wail-fest . Mike once again let it loose and left me begging for more. Ed ad libbed some extended vocals at the end of black and then thanked the crowed and all his friends including Neil. He also thanked the crowed for looking out for one another and explained how he though Toronto might be the only place where they could safely pull a show like this off. He concluded with, "The Backstreet Boys have never had it so good!" (They were in town that night as well) With that they launched into Do The Evolution. The video was played in the background but it did not take away from another blistering performance.
They returned for the second encore and all the lights were turned up. Mike launched into Yellow Ledbetter, which included a completely different style solo. It was Tremolo drenched, if you know what that means. The band concluded by applauding the crowed and had done the impossible. They made us forget about the heat, the venue, and the prices. It was an amazing show! And I myself had done the impossible, I had a great time with out stress or loosing it at any point. No hamburger was tossed on this day.