Review: Colin James @ The Burt
Lately, I’m becoming more and more obsessed with the Blues. I just can’t seem to get enough of it. My body gets it, my brain craves it and my wallet is paying for it.
I wasn’t prepared when drummer, Joe McCallum and guitarist, Jay Neilson opened the show with an instrumental. My ears perked up and a huge smile spread across my face. For some reason, I had forgotten I was there to hear a theatre full of music. Jay introduced his sister, and Tami came out with her black beehive and gold sequins dress and we were off.
Two years ago Tami and Jay’s Father passed away. A week later, they discovered a song he’d written called “Lonely”. The lyrics were sad, but you could tell the song meant a lot to them.
Right after that tune, Tami told us she had two little boys under the age of two, so the mood lightened with the fun and quirky “Loco Mama”, which she dedicated to “parents that haven’t slept in five years”.
During “Holy Moses” (which they played a little bluesier than normal), we got to hear the range of Tami’s voice. They followed that song with a cover of Otis Rush’s “Reap What You Sow”, where Tami unleashed her powerhouse voice. Wooh! That woman can sing. I wouldn’t mind hearing that performance again; what a lovely surprise.
I always enjoy watching a band take the stage. Here’s what happens inside my head:
“I recognize that hair anywhere, it’s Chris Caddell! I haven’t seen him since he played with Thornley at The Pyramid last year. We’re in for some great guitar playing tonight.”
“Hello Colin James, lovely to see that smile and you’re aging so nicely. Whatever happened to that scrawny, geeky kid? Look at you now. You’re the happiest man in Blues.”
“Big Dave McLean on harmonica? Yes! Why haven’t I been to his Blues jam at Times Change(d) on Sunday night yet? What am I waiting for? Gaaaaaahhhhh…this music feels good….gaaaaaaaahhhhh”. Then basically, I keep making gurgly sounds.
The band sounded great, Colin sounded great and then around “Man’s Gotta Be A Stone”, his voice went a little gravely and I thought, “Hey, I haven’t heard that from him before, I really like it!”
By “Why’d You Lie?” I realized he was struggling. He motioned to the guitar tech, who came out with a spray bottle of something, which Colin sprayed into his mouth and his voice cleared almost instantly. After the song he apologized for the “frog in his throat” and carried on with the danceable “Freedom” which featured a nice solo by Chris.
Colin wished himself luck right before Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” which ended up feeling really nice despite his limitations and we helped him out with the “Whoa yeah!” during “Keep On Lovin’ Me Baby”.
Just before the encore as Colin was playing another wonderful solo, he mistakenly hit his mic and it went swinging wildly around on the stand. Luckily he was done with it, but I felt a bit sorry for him at that point because he was truly giving all he could despite all these irritations.
There was a three song encore, which included the fantastically rockin’, “Oh Well”.
I don’t think this show will go down in Colin James’ memory as his best ever, but I also don’t think anyone in that audience can fault him for it. He was determined right to the end to entertain us.
As I was leaving, I overheard a couple say “That was awesome, what a GREAT show!” Which goes to show that us Winnipeggers are pretty forgiving and understanding. It may not have been the best, but we still loved it.
Take care of that voice, Colin. I’m looking forward to more happy Blues next time.
P.S. Big Dave McLean was sooo good tonight.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters