SLCR #365: Joel Plaskett (September 17, 2022)

This show has been planned for so long that my tickets have the show date listed as May 2, 2020. At the pace I’m churning these things out as of late, you’d be forgiven for assuming I actually saw the show then and only got around to writing about it now.

Some of the advertising said “Joel Plaskett.” Other ads said “Joel Plaskett Emergency,” implying a full band. When it was booked, I was pretty sure Mo Kenney was opening, but as we finally approached the actual show, it was made clear that Mo would be here and was part of the show, but wasn’t doing a set of their own. So I just put “Joel Plaskett” up in the title for simplicity’s sake. Even though we got a full band. And Mo did 2 of their own songs. See? Simplicity.

The Exchange was a smaller venue than usual for Joel Plaskett and it sold out. Having 34 months between tickets going on sale and the thrice-delayed actual show gave the stragglers lots of time to make up their minds too, I suppose. 

With no opener, the band split the show into two sets. Joel and two of his bandmates started things off, with Mo Kenney joining a few songs in to sing the “at the post office” verse of Extraordinary. 

The first set drew heavily from Joel’s latest album, and honestly, I don’t know it well. He once put out a triple album called Three, but his new album is called 44 and is – you guessed it – a quadruple album with 44 songs. And I love Joel but that’s a lot to take in all at once (said the guy sending out 4 concert reviews in one day). I’ve heard some of it and did enjoy it – I’ve never thought “this Joel Plaskett song is unenjoyable” – but for me, live shows will determine the favourites off 44 over time.

The second half leaned more on Plaskett’s back catalogue so there was much singing along. This is where you’d find your Fashionable Peoples and Love This Towns and whatnot, but still with a few new tunes. One he wrote for a virtual campfire for a youth organization. Named – and this is a thinker – “Campfire Song,” this was made for singalongs. It’s rare that I’d remember much from a new song at a concert a month later, but I could still sing the chorus of this one and I assure you I will not. In addition, Dave Marsh from the band sang a song he’d written called What I Like About Charles. Not about our new King. Presumably.

What can you say? This was super fun. I’d have been stunned if it wasn’t. The next time will be super fun too and hopefully we don’t have to survive another global pandemic to get there. It seems like a reasonable ask, and yet.

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