On the other hand, you might be wondering why I haven't posted some sort of report already. It's hard to say, really. For whatever reason, I don't feel much like writing all of a sudden. That happens to me periodically — much to the relief and joy of
So ... so ... here's where I get bogged down because I don't know quite what I think. Perhaps I am a little disappointed after all of my expectations. That happens, doesn't it? At least it does to me. I go to a movie that I hear is great, and I am disappointed. I go to another flick somewhatgrudgingly because someone else wants to go, and I end up really liking it.
Here's the thing. It was held in an arena. So, right away, the sound quality takes some beating. I mean to say that nobody sounds as good in an arena as they do on a well-mastered studio album. And the seats were not at all comfortable. They were tiny with neither elbow or leg room. My seven-inches-shorter-than-I-am wife felt cramped by the lack of leg room, so you might imagine how confined I felt. As I ponder the venue, I am inclined to vow never to attend another concert in such a place. But I can't quite induce myself to go that far because I might. Yes, if The Rankins were to make another Reunion Tour (that's what it was called) in five years time, I might do it again (but I would try desperately to secure an aisle seat). There are also one or two other artists for whom I just might (or not) make an exception.
So, I guess that last statement tells you that, reservations notwithstanding, I am very, very glad that I went. They did a great job of performing old, new and varied songs for two solid hours without a break. The opening act played for about a half hour. It was a British guy, who had a great voice and was a wonderful musician, but neither Cuppa nor I could understand a word that he said with his accent. He might as well have been speaking Spanish or what have you. But I was still impressed. I mean to say that most people can't understand what half the bands are nattering on about anyway. After the warm-up, there was about a 20 minute break before Jimmy, Cookie, Raylene, Heather and the rest of the band came onstage for their long, but seemingly very, very short, performance.
Yes, despite the unfortunate seating, time flew as the band delivered one wonderful rendition after another. In addition, Cuppa and I were tremendously fortunate to be seated near a bunch of enthusiastic kids, many from Cape Breton. While the majority of the audience was not young, there were also lots of exuberant youth in attendance. They hooted and hollered and their liveliness made the concert even more enjoyable. For the last song of the pre-encore part of the concert, on some sort of pre-arranged signal, a whole gaggle of these kids pranced to the foot of the stage and danced their way through The Mull River Shuffle. What a party that was!
That was right after the most amazing and touching rendition of Rise Again by Raylene who almost literally raised the rafters. She put everything that she possibly could into that song, so much so that it almost sends chills down my spine to recall it. They lost their brother, John Morris (a member of the band) in a car accident a number of years ago and their sister, Geraldine (a member of the initial Rankin Family group), just as the tour was to begin. They actually missed their first gig to attend the funeral. So, the song was fraught with even more meaning than usual, and, as I said, Raylene was absolutely awesome on it. (Rise Again is the song available in the sidebar if you haven't clicked on it ... and you haven't).
To top the evening off, we exited to a magical looking snowfall, not a heavy fall but a very pretty one. The magic was enhanced further when we still saw some people skating as we drove alongside the canal at 11:00 pm on a fine winter's night.
So, yes, the venue notwithstanding, it was a rather wonderful night. In addition to their music, they are just down home, aw shucks, uninflated ego, salt of the earth types. There wasn't one silly hat to be seen on the stage and no sunglasses or other sartorial nonsense, Some musicians don't need to distract you with buffoonery in order to entertain and enthrall you.
Bless you, Rankins, for a night to remember.