#50by50 #03 – Go to a concert at the National Arts Centre
One of the things I was thinking about for my 50by50 year was to see some live events. Maybe some sports, like hockey, football, soccer or baseball. Maybe some plays like Ottawa Little Theatre. Or maybe some live music like Bluesfest, Jazz Festival, a concert or the NAC. I thought about separating the sports from the arts, but in terms of going out, the organizational side i.e. the “prep” work to go is the same.
And I realized somewhere in there that it isn’t about “going to do x with someone”, it’s about going to do it whether anyone comes or not (I don’t control if they join or not). I like going for wings, and doing so with friends, but the commitment would have to be about MY effort i.e. arranging and going for wings, not whether the friends decide to join me that week. Equally, while I might be excited to see a specific show or game, the focus is on GOING, the “doing”, not the specific event. I have to schedule it, I have to figure out logistics, buy tickets, figure out if anyone is coming with me, find parking, and go. All of which is about the same whether it is for an arts performance or a sporting event.
So I committed to a second item on my 50by50 list:
See five different types of live performances
I’ve thought about waiting until I reach the five different types before I write about it, but where’s the fun in that? There are a couple of goals like that, but this one can be part of the shared area.
This past week, Andrea and I went to see the NAC Pops series (we had a mini-subscription), and this week it was listed as the Four Tenors. I swear that is what it said when I ordered tickets. But then they became the Canadian Tenors, and then they had their fourth member who intentionally altered the national anthem during a MLB appearance and blew up social media, and they became the three tenors in search of a name that wasn’t already taken. Now they are simply The Tenors.
I knew none of this of course. I don’t even think I really registered who the Tenors were under whatever name until Andrea explained it to me. Often when the Pops series is on, they come up with some catchy title like Broadway Divas, but it isn’t an official group name. So when I read there were tenors, I thought they were just lowercase tenors. Not an actual act. I know nothing about bands or music groups. Heck, I’m doing well to recognize U2 or The Tragically Hip — I like songs, not bands, and I almost never know who the artists are.
So I went into the night expecting a group of four lowercase tenors. And then there were only three, and the event title was simply The Tenors. Oh, that group. Okay. Didn’t really help clarify anything other than the name. 🙂
I also wasn’t that impressed when I went to the program and it says “The program will be announced from the stage.” In other words, people didn’t get their shit together in time to publish the actual schedule in the program. Nice. I’m a BLUE RATIONAL INTROVERT — I want an agenda to follow, people! hehehe Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with “spontaneous music” by a band. But for the NAC series, they have a program already set because the orchestra has to have and practice the music; they KNOW what the program is, they’re just not going sharesies! Heck, even the group description was just pulled from Wikipedia.
Which also makes it hard afterwards to review and say they did “this” song well, or “that” song really well. Because ten minutes after I left the hall, I’d forgotten what half the songs were, and even more forgotten after a day. Their set included:
- The Canadian Tenors — Hallelujah, Home I’ll Be;
- The Perfect Gift — Instrument of Peace, Hallelujah;
- Lead With Your Heart — snippets from Manana, Forever Young, Anchor Me;
- Under One Sky — I Remember You;
There were a smattering of other songs from Reba McNeil, Rankins, etc., plus a medley of Elvis and others. I am okay with Hallelujah, but as Andrea pointed out, it’s kind of saturated with tons of artists doing the covers, and she didn’t think it was the best cover. I liked Home I’ll Be and Instrument of Peace, plus I Remember You. O Sole Mio was impressive to see, but honestly, 30 seconds is enough for me. While I’m impressed that the sound doesn’t seem to match the body generating it, I could care less about that singing. It’s like opera — why do I want to see someone singing, even impressively, in a language I don’t understand, for any length of time? If there’s a backbeat to tap along to, something Spanish maybe, sure. But a friend of mine went to see 18 hours of opera one weekend in New York in languages she didn’t speak. If I had a choice of that or letting a rat chew on a body part for a minute, it would be a close call.
Now, don’t get me wrong — the Tenors were way better than being a rat’s chew toy, but the multi-cultural aspect left me bored. Even with the french songs, I found it challenging to follow the lyrics. Which would be a good time to tune out and listen to the orchestra, if you could hear them. Often they’re pretty muted during the singing.
The NAC Orchestra did do an instrumental opening and closing, and I wish I knew what the finale was (hey, look, it would be in the program, if they had generated one!). It had a spanish-sounding string section that was quite cool.
Overall, as always, I enjoyed the night. Wasn’t the best show we’ve seen, wasn’t the worst. And better than being a rat’s chew toy. What greater praise can I give?
One of five live performances checked off from my 50by50 list, and accompanied by a fun panda.