“It’s a weird setup here tonight.”
Matthew Good summed it up on Friday night at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre where he performed a mash up of old and new tunes. He joked that it felt like he was playing a black box with red eyes (the exit signs) staring at him
The sound was perfect, I wasn’t yell-talking to my friends when I left the venue and my ears weren’t ringing for hours after. Good’s voice has changed over the years due to a throat surgery but he was full of energetic vigour when he needed it and pulled back to send shivers on softer tunes such as While We Were Hunting Rabbits (2003’s Avalanche album).
In what was his eighth show in 11 nights Good probably needed some crowd energy to run off of. Good thing he had some reserve in the tank. For me the “weird set up” at the venue had more to do with those in the crowd. In typical Penticton fashion, everyone was sitting when Good and his band, who by the way played superbly, hit the stage with Arrows of Desire. It is an upbeat tune, the title track of his new album and, as a side note, I hope it shows up on Good’s website where he has been posting unedited live songs from this tour for fans to download.
Good got most on their feet by following that up with Load Me Up (1999’s Beautiful Midnight album), which he professed in an interview with the Penticton Western News to be one of his favourite songs to perform live and it showed. He weaved back into Arrows of Desire with the song Via Dolorosa, one of my favourites from the album. But then a good chunk of the audience sat back down. I feel that dampened the atmosphere at times, and I know I wasn’t the only one. I saw several people standing turn around to the crowd behind them and motion to get up, dance and enjoy the music. This venue calls for a section at the very front of the stage that did not have assigned seats. I have seen it several times across the parking lot at the South Okanagan Events Centre, although because the floor was flat at the PTCC it might make it hard for those height disadvantaged to see at the back.
It wasn’t until late into the performance that the whole crowd was warmed up enough to stand, sing along and wave their hands. Just in time to hear Weapon (Avalanche) and the energetic arena rocker Alert Status Red (2004’s White Light Rock & Roll Review album).
I believe this was the fourth time I have seen Matthew Good live, the others at Edgefest in Vancouver when he was the more surly Matthew Good Band and appeared wearing a gorilla mask and the other two in the early days of MuchMusic’s Big Shiny Tunes which regular appearances in my CD player. I can already say after Friday’s performance, If Good’s acoustic tour that he mentioned in a phone interview with me recently happens I have no issues with making that the fifth time I will see him live.
If I have to point out any downsides, I wasn’t a huge fan of the musical re-arrangement of Apparitions (1997’s Underdogs album). Good said he has tweaked some of his biggest hits over the years, perhaps that is to fit the sound of his voice post-throat surgery. I know some really wanted to hear Everything is Automatic, but it wasn’t on the setlist in Penticton. If it is any consolation it is available to download from the show in Lethbridge.
The concert, despite being about 90 minutes, seemed to fly by. Good has delivered so many great songs over the years and I wanted to hear them all. The concert only left me wanting more.
As I was leaving the concert with the rest of the almost full house, two girls came running from a cab up to the venue doors, swinging them open.
“What? The concert is already over?” one girl managed to gasp, breathless from her run.
Yup, a little how I felt.
Arrows Of Desire / Load Me Up / Via Dolorosa / Non Populus / Born Losers / So Close / Hey Hell Heaven / While We Were Hunting Rabbits / Had It Coming / Weapon / Alert Status Red / Letters In Wartime / Encore / Garden Of Knives / Apparitions / Giant