Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ David Vertesi @ Vogue -- 04/14/12

Photographs by Leigh Eldridge
Even though he was here for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival last summer, it seemed like it had been forever since the last time Joel Plaskett was in Vancouver, so nothing was going to stop me from missing one of my favourite live acts return to the Vogue Theatre -- and seeing as it was sold out, more than a few people felt the same way.

First up was David Vertesi to warm up the crowd with his deep, smooth voice and heartfelt folk-rock songs. Joined only by Andrew Rasmussen on keys and backup vocals, Vertesi had the crowd into it, from the heartwrenching "Learn To Run" that built to a grand finish, to the shoulder-shimmy-inducing "Broadcasting".
Aside from his solo material, he also hit one of his Hey Ocean! songs "Jolene", and a great cover that's been a staple of his live shows, Spice Girls' "Say You'll Be There", which had a great jazz-piano solo to end it. He wrapped up his set by inviting a surprise guest to the stage, Hannah Georgas to sing on "Mountainside", but not before making sure everyone left the theatre with a copy of his CD, offering it on a "pay-what-you-feel" system, be it money or hugs.

Gentlemen Say; Soft Skin; Jolene; Caroline! A Ghost!; All Night, All Night, All Night; Learn To Run; Broadcasting; Cardiography; Say You'll Be There [Spice Girls cover]; Epilogue; Mountainside.

Then it was time for Joel Plaskett Emergency, the trio kicking it off with "You're Mine" from the new album, Scrappy Happiness, for a nearly-two-hour set that spanned a good chunk of Joel's career. They came out rocking, right off the bat, with "Tough Love" and "North Star" before the Emergency band took a break for Joel to play a few songs solo, including the heartbreaking "Face of the Earth", and two of his biggest songs, "Nowhere With You" and "Love This Town"; which got a roar of applause when he, a little sheepishly, sang the infamous Kelowna verse unchanged.
Joel started into "Lightning Bolt" and the band came back out mid-song for it to build to a huge ending, and they didn't let up the energy until the end. "Work Out Fine" had everyone singing along, and Joel slipped in a few lines of other songs and played around with the song and on stage, lying down on his back for a verse. There was a huge sing along to "Through & Through & Through" and they brought it to a big finish with "Extraordinary".
But of course, the crowd was hungry for more and Joel was back out after not too long for "You're Mine" -- a nice echo to the first song of the night -- and the band joined him part way through "Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'", but not before the entire sold-out audience was clapping along, and capped off the night with "Come On Teacher"
Plaskett is a phenomenal performer and showman; effortlessly charming and funny on stage -- joking about his dancing monkey statues which he had on a foot switch, told stories about his old van, and more -- Joel managed to take a sold-out Vogue Theatre and make it seem much more like an intimate night of music. I don't think there would be many that would disagree with Joel Plaskett being one of Canada's best live acts.

You're Mine; Deny, Deny, Deny; Tough Love; Waiting To Be Discovered; Heartless, Heartless, Heartless; North Star; Harbour Boys; Let You Down; Love This Town; Face of the Earth; Nowhere With You; Lightning Bolt; Work Out Fine; Through & Through & Through; Maybe We Should Just Go Home; Extraordinary.
(encore) I'm Yours; Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'; Come On Teacher.