Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reliving the Peace

I was 11 years old when Our Lady Peace released their second album, Clumsy. In 1997, at the time of the release, they were sharing the charts with the likes of the Spice Girls, and still managed to break through the rock scene and become hugely successful, not only in Canada, but in the US as well.

The Canadian band recently spent two days in Edmonton performing at the Edmonton Events Center in West Edmonton Mall.  Inspired by a recent Devo tour, in which they played full albums from start to finish, OPL played full sets from their diamond status record Clumsy, and less commercially successful, conceptual album, Spiritual Machines.

While I feel the trademark sound began to diminish after the Spiritual Machines album, I attended the first show solely to hear the entire Clumsy album, knowing that it would be nothing short of amazing. And I was right. This was, of course, one of the albums that shaped my youth.

Rumors were circulating that singer Raine Maida was no longer hitting some of his signature falsetto notes like he used to, especially after the style disappeared on the Gravity album in 2002. Those rumors were put to rest as the singer hit every note bang on, hardly differing at all from the original recordings.

Raine even took some time between songs to explain where he was coming from when the song was written, although I had a hard time hearing most of his vocals when he spoke.  I always appreciate when artists share a little insight into their songs and wished I was able to hear more. I did manage to pick up that the emotional single “4am”, nearly didn’t make the record. Raine felt he was too young when he wrote it and it wasn’t good enough. I’m glad it made it, as it’s one of my utmost favorite tracks.

Maida also shared that he hated some of the other songs on the album and therefore they were never played live. But while the band was relearning and revisiting the songs for the tour, they fell in love again. It wasn’t always apparent onstage with Raine appearing listless and bored.

Upon finishing all the songs from Clumsy, the band took a break, where I’m sure guitarist Steve Mazur took some time to fix some of the strings he broke. Apparently this man knows how to shred, perhaps more than original guitarist for the band, Mike Turner.

During the break the video screens were pulled down and more lighting was added to the stage for the band to perform some of their other hits. This time, Raine lost his leather jacket and scarf and became more upbeat and enthusiastic as he pounded out “Monkey Brains”, from the newest album Burn, Burn.  And the energy continued for the rest of the set.

Included in the second set were radio hits “Life”, “Somewhere Out There”, and the more recent “All You Did Was Save My Life” in which Raine became even more intimate with the crowd, walking along the tables along the back.

They ended their two song encore with the rockin’ track “Starseed” from their first record Naveed, which was also featured on the Armageddon soundtrack.

It seems that OLP may have been grasping in desperation with this tour to gain some popularity back after a few years of declining reputation and sales. Regardless, they brought out the nostalgia and rocked a packed venue for fans young or old.

Clumsy will always stand out as the best album released by the band in my mind, and is one of the top 10 best albums in my collection. It is and always will be a classic. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to see all of the songs performed in succession.

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