An unexpectedly good meal…

I’m sure that James Taylor (like the rest of us) has had his “off days” and this might translate to a less-than-stellar performance.  But, as yet, I haven’t seen it.  As I select my five fav concert experiences, I begin with JT because his is the most recent seen and because I can expect a great concert if his name is on the ticket.

Mr. Reliable

Mr. Reliable

But sometimes a concert can be unexpectedly good.  And that brings me to…

2. Lunch at Allen’s    Blyth Festival Theatre    2004

I can’t recall the actual date of the concert (except to say that it was during a season in which manure was being applied to fields extensively near the venue).  Now, obviously, I wouldn’t have purchased tickets if I didn’t suspect that I was in for a good concert.  And, at this point, before speaking about the concert itself, I should give a little background…

A Little Background…

This group formed in 2003 after meeting for (surprise!) lunch at Allen’s restaurant in Toronto.  The group probably says it most succinctly on their website…

Lunch at Allen’s is Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas. As individuals, they have written for or sung on over 25,000,000 cd’s, penning hits for Chicago, Josh Groban, Bonnie Raitt, America, Santana, Cher, and Rod Stewart, as well as Murray’s “Farmers Song”, Marc’s “Marina Del Rey” and Ian’s “Painted Ladies” just to name a few. These artists have come together adding the incredible voice of Cindy Church (Quartette, Great Western Orchestra ) to form Lunch At Allen’s. They are Canadian song writing royalty who will take you on a journey with humour and stories playing their familiar hits and new songs as well to create an evening of music for the heart and music for your soul.  (from their website)

lunch-at-allens

Things can happen after a good meal…

As to the unexpectedness of the concert… yes, I had heard recordings of each of the performers as individuals as well as interpretations of their songs by other artists over the years.  I certainly expected competency. Perhaps it was the dynamic of a newly-formed group or the blend of particular talent that engaged me that night.  In some measure it was also the intimate venue of the Blyth Theatre.  The net effect of all these factors was to create a memory which has stayed with me over the next decade.  I did see the group once again several years later and was again impressed with their assembled sound.  But it was that first exposure which has earned the group a place as one of my five “favourite” concerts.

Musically, the group sings a combination of “hits” written by each member (performed co-operatively) and songs written specifically for the entire group.  Here’s an example of each…

Perfect World  (a collective composition from their first album)…

What Kind of Love is written by Murray McLauchlan (with Alan Rhody) and performed by the ensemble…

I’ve actually mentioned Lunch at Allen’s in an earlier post, and the song below (Grateful written by Ian Thomas) remains a favourite of mine (from their Catch the Moon album, 2007)…

By the way, it was mentioned that each performer in “Lunch” had written hits for other groups.  Here’s a hit (given that I recently spoke of America in a magical context) made famous by America in 1982 but originally written and recorded by Ian Thomas in the mid 70’s…

 

Speaking of grateful, it is something to be… here in 2016 on July 1st (Canada Day)…

canadian flag

 

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