Saturday, April 13, 2013

A tribute to the legendary Stompin' Tom Connors

Dave Bidini and Chris Parson
I was honoured to be one of the volunteers who helped coordinate the April 10 tribute to Stompin' Tom Connors spearheaded by the multi-talented Dave Bidini, and it seems that pretty much everyone who filled the Horseshoe Tavern for it was as thrilled as I was with how things turned out.

Chris Parson was an adept organizer, Daniel Bradshaw made sure that things ran smoothly as artists rotated on and off the stage to honour Tom by interpreting his songs, and many other people made valuable contributions both before and during the concert that kept folks entertained and raised more than $6,000 for Street Soccer Canada and the Toronto Homeless Soccer League via ticket and poster sales, a silent auction and a draw.

Jokers Hockey Club

Tom Connors Jr.'s hockey team started the proceedings at 9:30 p.m. in typical patriotic fashion by singing "O Canada," something much more commonly heard before hockey games than concerts. But the sporting world was well-represented, with former NHL player Boyd Devereaux (who I interviewed six years ago about his love of music) and sports broadcasters Stephen Brunt, Sid Sixeiro and Dave Hodge all appearing on stage over the course of the three-and-a-half-hour show at the club where Tom played so often during his career.

The grand-daughter of "Wop" May, "the top Canadian pilot of the day" who Tom wrote a song about, was in the house along with a musical member of parliament, Charlie Angus. They were just two people from a large cross-section of friends and fans of the man who passed away after a very full life at age 77 on March 6.

And of course there were the musicians, all of whom shared respect and appreciation for what Tom did in his career and how his maverick approach to the music industry indirectly opened doors for them. They freely gave their time to sing his songs and further strengthen that bond, even though the man in the black has has left us -- in body, but certainly not in spirit.

I shirked a bit on my normal note-taking since I was busy co-ordinating interviews and performance shots for CityNews, giving away ball caps from sponsor Labatt 50 and selling five-dollar souvenir posters, so this set list may not be quite complete, but it should give you a good idea of who performed and what they played:

Dave Robinson
Rheodinis: "Bridge Came Tumbling Down," "Gumboot Cloggeroo," "Wop May," "The Ketchup Song" and "To It And At It"
Kurt Swinghammer: "Snowmobile Song"
Shawn Creamer (The Beauties): "Ben in the Pen"
Peter Elkas: "Bud the Spud"
Steve Stanley (The Lowest of the Low): "TTC Skidaddler"
Dave Robinson: "Algoma Central #69"
Tom Wilson: "Old Atlantic Shore"
Charlie Angus: "Fire in the Mine" and "Reesor Crossing Tragedy"

Charlie Angus
Whiskey Jack: "Gumboot Cloggeroo," "Bud the Spud" and "The Hockey Song"
Mikey Chuck Rivers: "Peterborough Tuesday Night: A Stompin' Tome to Tom Connors"
Shiloh Harrison and Andrew DeVillers: "Red River Jane"
Elliott Brood:
Jose Contreras and Lily Frost: "Sudbury Saturday Night"
Paul Kolinski: "I Am The Wind"
Stephen O'Grady: "Streets of Toronto"
Matt James and Boyd Devereaux: "Tillsonburg"
Jen Cutts: "Muckin' Slushers"
B.A. Johnston: "Rubberhead"
Jerry Leger: "Don Valley Jail"
Doug Feaver: "Bud the Spud"
All performers: "The Hockey Song"

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped make the night so much fun. If you didn't make it out, there seems to be a groundswell of support for making the tribute an annual event, so you might still have a chance. 

Jeff MacNeil and Stephen O'Grady

Playing Tom's songs late into the night. I think he would have appreciated it -- and tried to keep it going until sunrise.

I raise a toast to you, my friend. I'll be keeping an eye out for small pieces of falling plywood just in case you find a stompin' board in the sky.

If you're interested, you can read some of my interviews with Tom here and here and here.

1 comment:

Darlene said...

Kudos to you and the organizers for putting on a great show and tribute to a fine musician! Thank you!