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Nada Surf @ Lee’s Palace

. : : March 29th, 2010 : : .

Let me preface by saying that I have seen Nada Surf perform live about a dozen times. From tiny record store basements to shiny Apple Store show floors to expansive theatres and concert halls. If Nada Surf has played it, the odds are pretty good I’ve seen it.

I’m a pretty devoted fan of the band, and have traveled far and wide to see them. The story of how and why I am such a big fan will be better served elsewhere, but for the purpose of this particular entry, I’m going to fast forward to March 29th, 2010. I’ve been actively following the band for seven years, and having seen them several times on each of their tours since, I’d been starting to feel like their sets were becoming a bit too predictable. Yes, every band has that handful of songs that you’re going to hear every single night for as long as they’re performing. And yes, many bands perform a predetermined setlist every night in every town across an entire tour. But I am a firm believer that by simply rotating the order in which songs are played, a band can create a sense of excitement, anticipation and curiosity — important ingredients in the live concert arena. For years, Nada Surf did this admirably and made each and every show I attended new and engaging. But by the time the Lucky tour rolled around, I could predict the set order virtually song-for-song from beginning to end. I found myself getting a little bored by the live shows I once loved so dearly, and began to wonder whether or not I could still bring myself to unquestioningly attend Nada Surf concerts as frequently as I did.

At the end of the Lucky tour, the band quieted down quite a bit. There was little news to speak of and literally zero performance dates. Nada Surf’s oeuvre of albums had all but entirely fallen off my frequented playlists and the occasional visit to the band’s official website yielded the same old, dated content. Imagine my surprise then, when months after my last visit,  an impulse visit to the band’s website yielded news of a new album! if i had a hi-fi… a cover album. Generally, I’m not a fan of cover albums — but at this point, any news was good news. There were no additional details to be had: no tracklisting, no list of bands being covered, no set release date. For weeks I would frequent Nada Surf’s site more frequently, and be rewarded with additional tidbits of information. One day, the holy grail of updates: not only would Nada Surf be embarking on a short promotional tour to be promoting the album, and not only would they be selling the album exclusively on this tour for the first two months, but they would be also be kicking off the tour in my hometown of Toronto as Lee’s Palace, one of my favourite venues and site of several fantastic Nada Surf shows!

I quickly picked up a handful of tickets for myself and friends, but kept my expectations firmly in check. The last few shows had been underwhelming and I hadn’t heard most of the new songs , many of which I wouldn’t recognize as they were covers of niche and obscure artists. In order to keep myself from getting too excited, I remained on my self-imposed Nada Surf sabbatical, avoiding listening to any of the band’s recordings until after the show. This proved to be a wise decision, as Nada Surf blew me out of the water all over again. The band stormed the stage with all cylinders firing. Their set was filled with old favourites, and only lightly peppered with the new covers. Having come off of three special one-off shows in which the band performed the entirety of one of their last three albums on each night, they also brought a couple of unexpected gems infrequently performed live. Treading Water and Neither Heaven Nor Space were two specific unexpected highlights, and it was great to hear that Ice on the Wing survived the conclusion of the Lucky tour and would continue to be a set staple. The new covers were catchy, and went over well with the attentive and energetic audience.

This night will go down in the history books as the one that restored my love of and faith in Nada Surf, and it’s with great pleasure that I’m able to share my audio recording with you. The sound quality is pretty solid, and is flawed only by a “tape flip” that cut off the beginning of Hi-Speed Soul and a dud of a battery that required me to change batteries again (I managed to change the original one at the same time as the tape flip), and cut off the beginning of Always Love. A bit sad, but at least it didn’t effect any songs we haven’t already heard 1,000 times. 😉

I also taped the show on a Creative Vado HD camera mounted on a tripod at 720p, but am having difficulty finding a way to share it on YouTube or burn it to DVD. Anyone able to assist is encouraged to send me an e-mail or leave a comment or otherwise get in touch with me. Without further ado, here are the downloads!

01. [intro]
02. See These Bones
03. Whose Authority
04. Happy Kid
05. Killian’s Red
06. What Is Your Secret?
07. Love Goes On
08. 80 Windows
09. Treading Water
10. Your Legs Grow
11. Fruit Fly
12. Enjoy The Silence
13. Weightless
14. Ice on the Wing
15. Blonde on Blond
16. Blizzard of 77
17. Neither Heaven Nor Space
18. Love and Anger
19. Hi-Speed Soul [cut]
xx. -encore-
20. Do It Again
21. Always Love [cut]
22. Blankest Year

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Love Goes On (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]


Thanks to Nada Surf, opening act Dawn Landes, and the staff of Lee’s Palace for an exceptional evening. Please download and distribute this recording freely, and support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise and concert tickets when they perform in your town.

Published inLive Recordings

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