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Christophe Elie / Blog

Neil Young & Crazy Horse show - Ottawa, ON

The Sadies brought their Canadiana Cowboy rock to the Neil Young & Crazy Horse show in Ottawa last night. The songs came fast and steady through their quick set with the guitar player Travis Good's heavy Gretch sound and furious fiddle play leading the way! A very satisfying start to the show.

Patti Smith is known for her poetic style and individualism. Patti was so present, her excitement to be performing in Ottawa for the first time, was palpable and her energy spread through the crowd as she drew us all in. Her show was very intimate and combined music across the spectrum of her career including some new music. Patti played the pieces she's most known for like Gloria and the song she penned with Bruce Springsteen "Because the Night". She reminded us that the power is with the people and shared an expressive interpretation of a Neil Young cover, practically painting the story for us and then confessed to us her excitement and anticipation of the upcoming show. If you want to explore Patti Smith's music further, I would personally recommend you check out one of her first cd's Horses, on that cd is a version of The Who's my generation! Her book is also fascinating! Thanks Patti.

Neil and Crazy Horse introduced themselves with close to a 10 minute lets call improvisation. So some guitar to get things started! To be accurate it was preceded by a rendition of O Canada and some wrangling by the scientists, that included Einstein responsible for the stage set up Powderfinger a favourite of mine was second on the setlist, my buddy John called this one, Neil has been touring across Canada and the setlist has been very similar all the way. I loved a new song that Neil performed called Ontario.

Neil played a bit of acoustic that included a great version of "Needle and the damage done" but it was his song Giant that was what he wanted people to remember. The song's lyrics include "I used to be a giant but now I feel more like a leaf on a stream" the song was bookended by a endless series of Neil's thunder clap shots over and over seeming to hammer at us the impact we are having on the earth, as plastic bags and paper pieces were blown across the stage. The song was amazing but the theatre could have been better orchestrated, memorable though!

Neil performed a tune on piano, beautiful new song, along the lines of a singer without a song. It even included a young female singer songwriter strolling around the stage, her guitar in tow and a whimsical look.

Another risk, as a friend described it, was a new song called "Fuck up" where Young joked with his band mates and the crowd as he seemed to make light of the term. The sound tonight was solid, Neil's guitar sound was as massive as the amps they stood in front of.

The band then got down to business with a solid renditions of Cinamon Girl, Cortez the killer and Hey Hey, My My. Awesome way to close out the show as they rolled a little something for the road! Neil and his Crazy buddies fundamentally played with heart and that's what they conveyed tonight is a Heart of Gold.

~Christophe Elie

The Who - Quadrophenia - Ottawa, ON

Wow, what a great show, kudos Roger and Pete. This was a favourite album of mine growing up, for years in my 20s I would listen to this album each lazy Sunday morning. The soothing ocean sounds that welcome you on that first track just seemed the way to ease in to the day. I ate up the rebellious youth themes, the different, edgy, British culture portrayed in the songs and I loved the whole idea of a concept album. To me the album felt like a movie well before I ever saw the movie.

It was also inspirational from a songwriting perspective, the Who wrote great songs, with tremendous energy, melody and story.

The show wednesday night I would say definitely captured the essence of the album. They did a great job with the backing video and arrangements given the band's limited size. I had thought that they may be touring with a small orchestra. The backing band that included Pete's brother did just enough, you almost didn't notice them, but you did, great support and at times they really shone. Keith Moon and John Entwistle were well represented in the short but brilliant tributes to the Two with outstanding footage of Keith's distinctive backing vocals on Bellboy. It was also a treat to hear "Who are you" and "Behind Blue eyes" 2 songs I couldn't have hoped they would play.

I'd love to see the show again before the tour ends next year, but for now I'll give thanks to just having had the chance, with good friends, to experience Quadrophenia, the way we were treated to it on Wednesday night, thanks Roger and Pete.

~ Christophe Elie http://www.chriselie.com

Remembrance Day - Face of a Soldier

A SOLDIER'S FACE

The soldier is a shell

A shell of metal medals

The soldier is the messenger

With a country's deadly message

--

The soldier is a trained killer

A soldier's eye is trained

On an enemy pre-defined

Our blackest fears framed

--

The soldier carries out

The orders of a few

A soldier's hands are tied

By a flag's blood white and blue

--

A soldier's flesh and blood

Is spent on the battlefield

War's currency

The years of youth we steal

--

A soldier has a face

A soldier's heart is not unknown

It's their heart we all must face

Can we bear to face our own

~ Christophe Elie

Big Easy Sundays

Despite being quiet attendance wise last night, the evening was a treat. Sean who works at The Daily Grind and also currently has his art on display at the cafe introduced himself and his art to us to begin the evening - http://www.SeanHyatt.ca/. I introduced a new song Firekeeper featuring some wah.. and an intense guitar solo! Jordan had a special guest last night, his Dad Bill performed with him, one of the highlights being the Stan Rogers classic - A Northwest Passage. Chris, Jordan and I closed the night in harmony with Neil Young's Helpless! Thanks to all who made it out!

Big Easy Sundays

It is great getting out and performing each week at the Daily Grind and in particular with Jordan and Chris. These 2 guys are very talented and a great pleasure to play with!