Andy deserves to be praised for a number of reasons. Firstly, he continues to write, record and perform new songs 40+ years after his initial hits when most others are content to sit back and relive their past. Second, he keeps himself in great shape physically and vocally as evidenced by the many current youtube clips that keep popping up daily. Finally, he stays in tune with today's music which laid the groundwork for the 7th Annual Christmas show in Toronto.
A huge crowd over 1000 strong packed the large Phoenix Theatre downtown last night as Andy took the stage to a throng of deafening cheers. News cameras, portable cameras, cell phone cameras and old style flash cameras recorded this action packed event for future generations to relish. There were people attending for the first time and many like myself making this a family tradition like Christmas and Birthdays.
Backed by his stellar bandmates, Andy christened the evening with the highly regarded Baby I Love You-So Good Together-Rainbow Ride medley. The soundman (or maybe I should call him the soundmadman) cranked up the volume to deafening levels that must have had the entire neighbourhood dancing. The music was enhanced by a gentleman playing conga drums and a young lady pumping out a powerhouse trumpet. Wow, it was the best I've ever heard the medley performed.
Young new artists poured out of the backstage area and combined, they provided a blend of hard rock, folk, country, hip-hop (yes hip-hop), and some good old Christmas melodies. In between Andy, graced us with superb versions of Be My Baby, Sugar Sugar, Rock Me Gently (the finale) and an amazing full version of It's Your Life, the highlight of the evening for me.
There were a couple of radio-tv personalities that handled the introductions and in between sets banter while Andy rested his voice after a couple of weeks of heavy cross town promotions. Forgive me for not naming names but I came to see Andy and as talented as the others were, I can't imagine ever attending any of their solo performances in the future. That being said, there have been a number of singers that I discovered at these Christmas concerts whose music I really enjoy. Among them are Serena Ryder, Che and Jully Black. I'm sure there will be many more that I'll look forward to hearing in future shows. Perhaps as a sign of the times, the last couple of Christmas shows have focused on the louder, heavier rock sounds and with them have come some very unruly fans but in general mostly wonderful people. One can't argue with success however as this may have easily been the largest of the 7 shows in terms of number of people, press coverage, and sheer quantity of acts that sang their hearts out for charity.
My 'in-the-current-decade-appreciation-of-music' wife, Janet, found this to be the most enjoyable Christmas special since the first one and judging from audience reactions, I must agree. Although scrunched together, everyone continued to stand on the large dance floor for the entire 3 hour concert. As I told a newsreporter before the show, Andy's Christmas show has gone beyond a mere concert and is now a major event on the Toronto entertainment scene in December.
As much as I love Andy's full concerts, I can visualize a succesful travelling music variety act with Andy as host singing 6-7 songs and this Christmas show lineup performing much as they did last night. It would attract audiences of all ages and sell out very venue from here to Hawaii. Alternately a yearly Andy Kim Canadian Christmas TV Special could garner high ratings as well.
I would have loved to hear a duet with Ron Sexmith and perhaps a 'new' song which would definitely appeal to the young audience that filled up the Phoenix. Perhaps it's something to consider for next year.
I edited together a few minutes I was able to gather on youtube for all of you to get a taste of last night's extravaganza as well as the recent Canada AM tv appearance from last week.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUNyb ... CJ3XVQ30Ns
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... JLXMfVS2zQ