. : : December 31st, 2020 : : .
Going to concerts in my twenties and going to concerts in my thirties have proven to be very different experiences.
In my twenties, I could quite literally go online, check out the line-up at a few of my favourite venues for the evening, and just choose to go out and see a performance impulsively.
In my thirties, it’s a whole other affair. I have to arrange sitters for my kids, schedule work around the evening, worry about back up plans if the sitter bails last minute, etc.
Whereas ten years ago, my only punishment was a mild level of sleep deprivation at work the following day, I now find that I’m yawning before the opening band even takes the stage and it can be a week following before I’m back to a normal sleeping schedule.
All of this is compounded for event concerts. Forget about travelling out of town or multi-day festivals: what do you think it’s like to get a reliable, trust-worthy sitter on New Years Eve in suburban Toronto?
Needless to say, although it’s been on my wish list since inception, I’ve never been able to make it out to Dwayne Gretzky‘s celebrated New Years Eve shows.
With sprawling set lists and performances that approach 4-hours in length, song selections varied and eclectic but popular, and explosive, bombastic energy, I can’t imagine any better way to celebrate the passing of another year, and welcoming the start of a new one.
But, I’ve become Old. And have Obligations and Responsibilities that require Priority. Awful, dreadful words that twenties-something me would scoff or spit at.
But the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns lead to some unique and exciting opportunities, including Live Streaming concerts that can be accessed any where, from any time. In 2020, Smirnoff was kind enough to sponsor Canada’s favourite cover band to take their annual celebration to Youtube, where I was finally able to take in a Dwayne Gretzky New Years Eve gala.
OK, you won’t hear any arguments from me: while professional lighting and camera equipment beat the sight lines of even the best seat in any venue, and the direct audio will always sound better on personal speakers than the theatre’s, something’s undeniably lost in translation. It’s why Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones can still sell out the world’s largest stadiums decade after decade in spite of having a dozen performances professionally recorded to DVD.
But the success of this blog (and other sites like it) are indicative of one thing — a concert experienced vicariously is better than no concert at all.
The soles of my shoes weren’t sticky the next day, and I didn’t go to bed with ringing in my ears that night, and my laundry wasn’t covered in the sweat of a dozen other music-lovers… actually, when you put it like that, it kinda sounds like this was better than being at the concert?
Oh, god, I hate being old. But I love me a Dwayne Gretzky concert, and although (at time of print) this concert is still available to stream on YouTube, it’s been listed as a limited time stream that could disappear at anytime. Thus, I’m archiving it here not only for when it’s gone, but for fans who like to close their eyes and listen — and imagine the soles of their shoes are sticky, their ears are ringing, and their clothes are covered in the sweat of a dozen other music-lovers.
For the young, and the young at heart.
- SET ONE
01. Auld Lang Syne [trad’l]
02. 10th Avenue Freeze Out [Bruce Springsteen]
04. Don’t Stop Me Now [Queen]
05. Dirty Work [Steely Dan]
06. Waterloo [ABBA]
08. Would I Lie To You? [Eurythmics]*
09. Crazy [Patsy Cline]
10. Gotta Get Up [Harry Nilsson]
12. Money City Maniacs [Sloan]
13. You Learn [Alanis Morissette]
15. Still Crazy After All These Years [Paul Simon]
17. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) [Whitney Houston]
- INTERMISSION ONE
19. [intermission / cocktail 1]
20. [intermission / cocktail 2]
- SET TWO
*21. If I Could Turn Back Time [Cher]
22. Once In A Lifetime [the Talking Heads]
23. Knowing Me, Knowing You [ABBA]
24. Any Way You Want It [Journey]
26. We’ve Only Just Begun [Carpenters]
28. Magic [Pilot]
29. Bobcaygeon [Tragically Hip]
31. Ahead By A Century [Tragically Hip]
32. Take On Me [a-ha]
34. Somebody To Love [Queen]
36. Bohemian Rhapsody [Queen]
- INTERMISSION TWO
37. [intermission / cocktail 3]
38. [intermission / cocktail 4]
- SET THREE
*39. Don’t Let Me Down [the Beatles]
40. I Saw The Light [Todd Rundgren]
41. I Feel The Earth Move [Carole King]
42. Lotta Love [Nicolette Larson]
43. Owner of a Lonely Heart [Yes]
44. You Can Call Me Al [Paul Simon]
46. Auld Lang Syne [trad’l]
47. Takin’ Care of Business [Bachman-Turner Overdrive]
48. Dancing in the Dark [Bruce Springsteen]
49. I Can’t Make You Love Me [Bonnie Raitt]
50. I Believe in a Thing Called Love [the Darkness]
- INTERMISSION THREE
- SET FOUR
*51. Only Love Can Break Your Heart [Neil Young]
52. Movin’ out (Anthony’s Song) [Billy Joel]
54. Son of a Preacher Man [Dusty Springfield]
56. I Love You Always Forever [Donna Lewis]
57. Sledgehammer [Peter Gabriel]
59. You’ve Got a Friend In Me [Randy Newman]
61. How You Remind Me [Nickelback]
62. Help Me [Joni Mitchell]
63. Piece of My Heart [Emma Franklin]
64. The Chain [Fleetwood Mac]
- INTERMISSION FOUR
- SET FIVE
*66. Total Eclipse of the Heart [Bonnie Tyler]
68. Pump It Up [Elvis Costello]
69. You’re Still the One [Shania Twain]
71. Born to Run [Bruce Springsteen]
72. Under Pressure [Queen]
74. Dancing Queen [ABBA]
75. Auld Lang Syne [trad’l]
76. Cuts Like A Knife [Bryan Adams]
78. The Weight [the Band]
> Auld Lang Syne [trad’l] [tease]
* Pre-recorded live the previous night