Deep Dark Woods, Deer Tick, Billy Joel and Elton John: Three Concerts in Three Nights

by Woody on July 20, 2009

Deep Dark Woods at The Hideout

Thanks to HearYa reader, Vanessa, for providing the pic!

I am too old for this shit. I’m writing this the morning after seeing my third show in three nights.

First up was The Deep Dark Woods from Saskatoon at The Hideout. They drew a solid crowd for a Tuesday night and for a band that is just starting to buildup a fan base here in the States. Those that made it out were treated to a special night of music. The band has added a full time keyboardist which is like adding butterscotch to your hot fudge sundae. You didn’t know it could get any better, but it just did.

The Canucks played for about three hours, combining alt-country with a Grateful Dead vibe, including rousing renditions of Jack A Roe and O Babe It Ain’t No Lie. They also fired up two new tunes that my man-date Jefe said were hands down his favorite tunes of the night. Lucky for you, they are also part of our live session with Deep Dark Woods.

My next show was Deer Tick at a packed Empty Bottle. After sitting through a couple opening acts, McCauley and crew hit the stage at 11:30. Muzzle of Bees, a fantastic blogging counterpart, wrote a great review so I will not reinvent the wheel here. He’s bang-on in his assessment that this isn’t alt-country – its just homegrown rock and roll. They are tremendous live act and do a great job of breathing life into their songs. Also, banged out a nice cover of Petty’s Breakdown.

Last up was Elton and Billy at Wrigley. I will admit that this was met with trepidation on my part as I couldn’t get “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and “I’m Still Standing” out of my head. And, Sweet Jesus, those songs suck. But you kind of forget that there was a time when the two of them were making some unique music. After the cheesy beginning where they were trading verses of their tunes, Elton hit a nice run where he played “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” “Levon” and “Madman Across The Water.” After that it was back to the schmaltzy “Crocodile Rock” and the aforementioned mind-numbing “I’m Still Standing.” Madman was a real nice surprise but I would have liked to hear “Take Me To The Pilot.”

Joel followed and played a couple of his decent tunes including “Angry Young Man,” “Zanzibar” and “Allentown.” The trade off was sitting through “Uptown Girl,” “River of Dreams” and “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” which besides being a blatant rip off of “Its The End of The World” by REM, is just about as bad a song as one man could write.

Then it was back to the dueling piano lounge act with “Piano Man” and “The Bitch Is Back.” While there were some truly awful parts during the show, there were enough very good moments that made it worthwhile, with “Madman Across The Water” leading the way. Its amazing to think that the two of them once wrote truly unique music in the days before MTV came along. After that, they started chasing the four minute hit single.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

oddbodkins July 20, 2009 at 7:38 am

If you can own up to it Woody, i can, too.

i’ve seen Billy Joel twice, once at the Rosemont back in the mid-90s and then again the last time BJ and EJ tried this tour thing. You may recall that tour was scrapped because ol’ Willie had to check into rehab for enjoying the libations a bit too much. And who got to be there at his last show before check-in time? Yours truly. i couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t seem to play the piano that night, but it all made sense after the fact.

My old man once saw Joe Cocker fall off-stage not once, but twice, in the same show he was so ripped (JC, not my Pop; well, not that i know of, at least). Since then, i’ve always considered the greatest thing possible to see a major musician be so ripped s/he fell into the crowd stinking of rotgut. That BJ/EJ tour was about as close as i’ve ever come.

And thus, it all comes back to footwear.

Woody July 20, 2009 at 7:51 am

OB, let’s just say I wasn’t left with much of a choice by Mrs. Woody. And in response to your Billy story – he did have a coffe mug present on his piano the whole time. My brother-in-law and I surmised it was whiskey. And like everything I write on HearYa, I have no facts to back it up.

jacob July 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

Just saw Deep Dark Woods last weekend at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I was blown away by them. Amazing songwriting and musicianship. In addition to having a beautiful voice, Ryan Boldt is also a very funny man.

oddbodkins July 22, 2009 at 7:06 am

//wasn’t left with much of a choice by Mrs. Woody//

And i was dragged by a former GF.

i’m fairly confident 90 percent of his ticket sales are somehow vagina and/or sex-related.

liz July 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

I saw Billy Joel last summer at Shea Stadium and it was AWESOME. Then again, I’m a Mets fan from Long Island who grew up listening to him, so there was probably no chance I was not going enjoy that show.

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