Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hillside gets Bourbonized!

The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir

Today was the day that The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir would rejoin for a one night concert after a 13 year hiatus. We were pumped.

Saturday morning Glenn and I waited around for some more friends to show up. Rich drove in from Peterborough, Al from Bobcaygeon, Steve from Bowmanville, and Kevin even made a lunch time appearance after a long haul from Cambridge. A total of 16 hours of driving (map) PLUS 8 hours of flying Glenn from London, England and yet another 2 on the train. Gas prices and carbon footprint be damned! This was a one time Bourb reunion, you just can't put a price on that.

We arrived back at Hillside around 5:30 but unfortunately missed Plants and Animals who I had hoped to see after catching the end of their Ottawa Bluesfest set a few weeks earlier. Oh well.

Next immediate item on the agenda. Beer. After all it was a hot day even though they had called for rain. So over to the Lake Stage for some refreshments while we waited for Po' Girl to hit the stage.

Po' Girl is truly a multi-talented band. Tonight's line-up consisted of Allison Russell (clarinet, banjo, guitar, vocals), Awna Teixeira (bass, banjo, accordion, washbucket bass, glockenspiel, bicycle bell, vocals), Benny Sidelinger (guitar, keyboards, banjo) and Austin Cooper (drums). Missing from today's show was Diona Davies (violin, vocals) and Trish Klein (guitar, vocals) who I originally caught back in October 2003 when they opened for Chris Brown and Kate Fenner at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa. They were amazing then and they were just as amazing tonight.

Po' Girl's Allison Russell on banjo
Po' Girl's Allison Russell Po' Girl at Hillside 25
Po' Girl Po' Girl's Allison Russell on guitar

I even managed to have my photo taken with Allison before the show. Don't we look like two long lost friends? So relaxed.

Po' Girl's Allison Russell and me

After a thunderous applause we headed off for some food. Steve, Al, Glenn and I all opted for some tasty Caribbean dish while Rich settled for something less daring. This turned out be a poor choice for Rich as he was later unarmed for the warfare that ensued.

As soon as The Sadies finished their set, Rich, Steve, and I all headed for the very front of the stage (aka stalker's row). Sweet. Glenn and Al choose to have an extra beer or two and watch it from a little further back.

A quick intro from the Hillside Art Director explained that he was the reason behind this one night reunion of the Bourb as he dreamed of bringing them back to help celebrate Hillside's 25th anniversary. Thank you Sammy.

The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir Chris Brown of The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir Dave Wall of The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir

The show was every bit as amazing as I remembered. Dave Wall was in top form with his high energy performance and wide ranging vocals. Kate and Chris were great too but I've been keeping up to speed with their post-BTC careers so I expected nothing less. Andrew Wakeman was in fine form on guitar and although Gene Hardy didn't pull out the musical saw he did do an amazing job on the dual saxophones.

The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir

Thanks a million to the Bourb for pulling this together, it couldn't have been easy. I just hope it's not another 13 years before the next show... BUT if it is, I'll be there!

PS: The show was videotaped by the Independent Film Channel to be aired sometime in this fall. DVDs to follow, or so we were told by the camera dude.

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