Turner filled England's Wembley Arena last month and is a bona fide star in his homeland while he continues to build his following around the world. His Toronto fan base is definitely growing and is undeniably loyal.
The set began with "I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous" and continued with 12 more songs from the breadth of much of his catalogue. People were singing and clapping along to most of them, including "Long Live The Queen" -- which I'm convinced is one of the best songs of this century.
Turner should be back at home in England by now and will soon start working on his next album. He previewed two songs that could be on it on Friday. The first was just finished that day and was getting its debut performance. It's still untitled, but is a relatively gentle song with lots of lyrics. The second newbie was "Wherefore Art Thou Gene Simmons?," a bittersweet yet humorous number about the KISS bassist's long, catalogued and photographed list of sexual conquests.
There were too many people in the theatre lobby during Turner's set, but I'm sure that he must have made believers out of a good portion of the Plaskett fans who might not have been familiar with him before. The man may have the worst tattoos in rock and roll, but he wears them proudly. I look forward to his Toronto return.
Joel Plaskett Emergency opened Canadian Music Fest with an invite-only gig high up in Toronto's CN Tower in March, and I thought that it was the most rocking and animated performance I'd seen from the group out of the dozen or more I've taken in over the years. There were certainly elements of that present on Friday night, but this was a much longer and varied set that also included a solo acoustic interlude where drummer Dave Marsh and bassist Chris Pennell got to take a break.
|Joel Plaskett Emergency|
I think I've probably thought of Plaskett as a songwriter first and foremost, even though I've never left one of his shows without having a good time. But this past weekend's shows reinforced that he's also a great guitarist and -- at age 37 and with seven studio albums to his credit since 1999 after the demise of former band Thrush Hermit, which released its first EP 19 years ago -- has become a complete entertainer who can totally charm a large audience.
Marsh and Pennell have combined with Plaskett to make the Emergency more muscular than it's ever been, and having "monkeys on a switch pedal" and a fedora-wearing bust of Wayne Newton on amplifiers near the back of the stage didn't hurt the entertainment value either.
|Monkeys on a switch pedal|
I was chastised for paying too much attention to my note-taking and photography on Friday night and not enough to the young hotties who were dancing beside and in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that the days of women half my age being interested in me are gone. Still, I elected to leave my tools of the trade at home on Saturday just in case I had one more kick in the can left in me. And what happened? I spent the night standing beside a young woman who I made cry about six years ago when she interned for me at ChartAttack.com and thought I was too tough on her performance assessment. So, needless to say, I didn't score that night either.
Here are the set lists from Turner and Plaskett's May 18 performances at Toronto's Queen Elizabeth Theatre:
"I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous"
"Try This at Home"
"Peggy Sang the Blues"
"I Am Disappeared"
New and still untitled song
"Long Live the Queen"
"If Ever I Stray"
"Wherefore Art Thou Gene Simmons"
"I Still Believe"
"Waiting to be Discovered"
"Deny, Deny, Deny"
"Heartless, Heartless, Heartless"
"You Let Me Down"
"Beyond, Beyond, Beyond"
"Love This Town"
"Face of the Earth"
"Nowhere With You"
"Work Out Fine" with interlude medley featuring Lee Dorsey's "Rain Rain (Go Away)," April Wine's "Oowatanite," The Rivieras' "California Sun," Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy," Sam Cooke's "Cupid" and Eagles' "New York Minute"
"Through and Through and Through"
"Maybe We Should Just Go Home" with interlude medley featuring Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?"
"Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'"
"Come On, Teacher"