Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Trans-Canada Highwaymen- Club Regent Event Centre, Winnipeg, MB, March 22, 2024


I still have it, my actual copy!
One of the first record albums I bought (with my own money) was in elementary school and for whatever reason they were selling K-Tel records. I can't remember if there were other choices, but I bought, Sounds Spectacular, a compilation with "20 original hits" and "20 original stars", including hits such as Kung-Fu Fighting, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, Crocodile Rock and I Got The Music In Me, along with 16 other songs jam packed on one LP. The sound quality of all K-Tel records had the quality of a super low-bit mp3 and a visual inspection of the grooves on the vinyl has you wondering, how the hell can they squeeze so many tracks on here? Anyways, for many kids my age at the time, it was the gateway to hearing a variety of different artists all at once. Yes, the sound sucked, but what did I know at the time. 
When I first heard the album by the Trans-Canada Highwaymen, Explosive Hits Volume 1, I had an instant flashback to that K-Tel album. I guess that was the point, to a certain demographic (and Canadians), the band included, we shared that feeling of familiarity. Explosive Hits Vol.1 is basically a covers record, except for the origin story theme song, with recognizable songs from well-known Canadian bands, circa late 60's to the mid 70's. The "super group" consists of front-men from some truly great Canadian bands from the 90's to present. There's Steven Page, originally from the Barenaked Ladies, now solo, Chris Murphy, singer-songwriter, bass player from Sloan who primarily is the drummer in TCH, Craig Northey from the Odds and Moe Berg from the Pursuit of Happiness. I haven't had much desire to go to live concerts lately, but when I heard they were coming to play in Winnipeg, I made a priority to get tickets during the presale and was fortunate to get some prime seats.

Since the pandemic, I've only attended a handful of concerts, both indoors and outdoors, and I've taken a hiatus from recording shows, except for a Cheap Trick show last summer. The Trans-Canada Highwaymen concert is the first indoor concert I've recorded in almost exactly 4 years (Wilco in 2000), and I must admit I was hesitate. Since I've last attended a concert, "enhanced" security at larger venues is now the norm with airport-style metal detecting technology and wanding, so I'm not sure exactly what can or can't be detected, so dealing with the extra security is another challenge. Anyways, I made it through unscathed and accomplished a good sounding recording. The concert venue within a casino is actually pretty nice. The sound quality is amazing, the sight lines were really good (they even had video screens scattered around the room), the seats are comfy and the crowd was well behaved. Recently, when I've gone to shows I've felt like the oldest person in the crowd, but here the average age of the crowd must have been over 50, as there were many, many white-haired fans a lot older than me. I guess, there's a reason the concert was held in a casino. Overall, the show was great and the banter from the band was highly enjoyable and funny, mainly Chris Murphy and Steven Page. Here are some other highlights and notes:
  • Along with the many cover songs from the album, each member of the band took their turn with songs from their own bands. It felt like a greatest hits showcase and it really was a smart format. As much I wish I had previously seen the Odds and Pursuit of Happiness live, I heard the songs I wanted to hear from each group, Someone Who's Cool, She's So Young and I'm An Adult Now, are some of my favourite songs by a Canadian band, ever.
  • As mentioned during the show, it was Moe Berg's birthday, so a unrehearsed, impromptu version of Birthday by the Beatles was an added bonus.
  • The retro look of their album, Explosive Hits Vol. 1 is no doubt a tribute to K-Tel records, as acknowledged by the band. K-Tel of course, proudly (or shamelessly) rose up from Winnipeg.
  • You can't overstate the talent on stage. Each member took their turn on the drums and the trading of instruments showcases their versatility and amazing musicianship. Chris Murphy is the bass player in Sloan, but it quite competent at drums (I've also seen him play drums with Tuns). Along with the other members of Sloan, he can sing and can write some pretty great songs. I've underestimated Steven Page, he truly is a excellent entertainer and incredible singer and the fact he can play guitar, keyboards and drums amazes me. I've never been a fan of the BNL's, but Page is a talent beyond that band.
  • As far as the recording, it turned out great. It has to be one of my best sounding recordings! I was situated about 14 rows back, dead centre, there was no one sitting directly in front of me and the sound at the venue was amazing. The levels are adjusted a couple of times and there's a bit of chatter between songs, but nothing that takes away from the experience. Hmmm, I predict I might have to attend more casino shows? Well, the next night was Reveen...
Please do NOT sell or profit from this recording!
Do NOT convert to lossy formats, except for personal use.
Please share!

Club Regent Event Centre
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
March 22, 2024
AUD Master

Sony ECM-DS70P mic> Tascam DR-07> SD card > 16 bit Wav>
Direct Wave MP3 splitter> FLAC

01. Intro (Kevin McDonald)
02. It's All Been Done
03. Someone Who's Cool
04. Hard To Laugh
05. Lovin' You Ain't Easy
06. Theme From Trans-Canada Highwaymen
07. Birthday
08. It Falls Apart
09. Jane
10. Pretty Lady
11. Underwhelmed
12. Tonight Is A Wonderful Time To Fall In Love
13. Undun
14. She's So Young
15. The Other Man
16. The Old Apartment
17. Make You Mad
18. Brian Wilson
19. Rock Me Gently
20. The Rest Of My Life
21. I'm An Adult Now

Steven Page
Chris Murphy
Craig Northey
Moe Berg

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