Olympic Shenanigans: Fit the Third

Even more great shows going on around, including one of the best surprises ever! I'll back track a tiny bit, to before the Hey Rosetta!/Stars show, and I won't try to ramble on too much, but that could be difficult considering last night.

Thursday, Feb 18
Back into Richmond to see Arkells. The park was pretty packed, but sadly that was probably because they were opening for Our Lady Peace. They played a pretty decent set, starting with "The Ballad of Hugo Chavez" and going through a few tracks off of Jackson Square, with at least one new one in there. The whole set seemed a bit... off, though. I don't know if it was bad positioning, where we were standing, or what, but the whole set just didn't sound right. Instruments were murky or too high or barely audible. During "Oh, The Boss Is Coming", for example, the bass seemed overpowering while the guitar nearly indistinguishable. Due to this, it was probably the worst least-good Arkells set I've seen thus far. But even despite that, they still put on a hell of a show to the packed field, and if the response was any indication, they won over their fair share of fans that night. Some other highlights were "Deadlines", which morphed into a brief cover of "My Boyfriend's Back" and the always awesome "John Lennon" to end the set, which again included a few lines from "Eleanor Rigby".
Due to my vast indifference for OLP, we bailed before they actually came on.

Friday, Feb 19
After the spectacular Stars show, we attempted to race over to Robson Square to check out the free show Said The Whale was doing. Unfortunately, it was way too insane, and we didn't really get a decent spot, ending up behind the band. Half the songs were not very audible, and it was getting pretty late, so we took off about half way through the set. I would have felt bad, but I'll be seeing StW soon enough, when they open for Plants & Animals in May.

Saturday, Feb 20
This was quite the tricky day. Right up until the night before, I was still unsure as to what to go to. Sam Roberts, Arkells & Coeur de Pirate at Livecity Yaletown? Or Hey Ocean!, Mother Mother & Said The Whale in Surrey? That was quite the predicament. Fortunately, my decision was made by Ontario House, of all places. The night before, they announced who their surprise guest was going to be, and that made my decision right there. For you see, the surprise guest was...

Broken Social Scene.

Being incredibly paranoid, I ended up heading down far too early, so after soaking in some of the sights around the area, I met up with people and got in line around 6. For the 10:00 show. And they were not admitting people in til 9. Though considering I hadn't seen them live for almost three years (not counting the Kevin Drew show two years ago) and since it was Broken Freaking Social Scene, I was more than willing to wait in line.
After an epic wait, they hit the stage around 10. It's always interesting to see who is going to show up to the shows, and just after they came out, Kevin Drew made the introductions. There was Drew, Canning and Peroff, of course, as well as Jimmy Shaw, Bill Priddle and a few others, some new to the band. (Random aside: Canning was clean shaven, which looked kinda weird and made him look really young!) They kicked off with "Superconnected", before bringing out another BSS veteran, the lovely Lisa Lobsinger for "7/4 Shoreline".
The set consisted mostly of older songs, spanning the BSS library as well as a few from the Drew and Canning solo albums. Half way through the set they brought out a surprise, Julie Doiron! For a cover of Neil Young's "Out On The Weekend"!! They followed that up with one of my favourite songs, "Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl", with Lobsinger fitting in almost perfectly for Haines. As they set came to a close, they brought Doiron back out and rocked through one of her songs, "Consolation Prize" (which was, apparently, unrehearsed!). They finally "ended" the night with another one of my favourites, and a fantastic live song, the ten minute epic "It's All Gonna Break", dedicated to the city of Vancouver. Perhaps a sly way of getting around the contract they signed not to speak ill of the olympics? It was an incredibly sublime sight, especially to see all ten of them out there, absolutely rocking out. The song ended and members slowly filtered off with just Drew left on stage, thanking us profusely and promising to be back soon. He then spontaneously (or "spontaneously") proclaiming he didn't want to leave, and would do one more, but a song made up on the spot (or "made up on the spot"). It started with just Drew and his guitar, but he was joined first by Peroff, then Canning as the night ended with the three core members, proving that Broken Social Scene didn't need a stage full of people to be amazing.
They took their leave at 1130, but the crowd was still fanatical to see more, even though the roadie removing all instruments and equipment seemed like a bad sign. But Drew eventually made his way back on stage and apologized for not being able to play more, due to the curfew... before leading the crowd in an impromptu karaoke of the first verse & chorus of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

The setlist was as follows:
Superconnected, 7/4 Shoreline, Backed Out On The..., Churches Under The Stairs, Love Is New, Stars & Sons, Out On The Weekend (Neil Young cover), Anthems for a 17 Year Old Girl, Frightening Lives, Sweetest Kill, Consolation Prize (Julie Doiron "cover"), It's All Gonna Break, "spontaneous" song, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (U2 a cappella sing-along cover)

It's probably a good thing I am taking the next few days off from the free shows -- partially to recharge, partially because there is nothing I need to see -- because there is no way anyone is going to be able to top that.