BARENAKED LADIES LIVE at WHITE OAK AMP

Live at White Oak Amp
July 12, 2023 Review by M.B. Edwards    
As I made my way to White Oak Amphitheatre, a severe thunderstorm passed overhead and I feared the outdoor event may need to be cancelled. Thankfully the radar showed the storm moving out of the area and there was only a small delay in the concert.

The parking lot was full of people tailgating; canopies and lawn chairs were abundant, and food trucks lined the inside of the entry gates.

Del Amitri was the first band to take the stage and they began playing “Not Where It’s At” as attendees made their way into the venue. Although most Barenaked Ladies (BNL) fans didn’t get to see the full Del Amitri set, I’m sure they heard it as the music and Justin Currie’s voice was carried by the warm summer breeze.  

It must have been a long tour because when Currie was addressing the fans before starting “Missing Person,” he forgot what city and state he was in, causing a chuckle amongst the audience. The biggest laugh came when Currie apologized – in his brazen Scottish accent – to everyone for the delay. He said it was because they had to wait for the storm clouds to “f off” and that we were all in store for a fantastic time; after all, he knows this because he’s seen the show at least 40 times!  
Most fans were snapping pictures here and there and clapping, but one person stood out – a super fan that kept catching my eye because he had the biggest smile on his face and was singing along to every song they played. Currie, Iain Harvie (guitar), Andy Alston (keyboards), and Kris Dollimore (guitar) put on a great show and the music was soothing. It was amazing to hear them sing “Lonely,” “Here and Now,” and “Roll to Me” live.  

Five for Fighting was in an extra celebratory mood as it was Canada Day and their third show playing with Barenaked Ladies, taking over Semisonic’s place for the last half of the tour. “American Town” kicked off their set.  
At every concert, Five for Fighting dedicates a song to all the men and women who serve our country and fight for our freedom. Vladimir J. Ondrasik III chose to play a rendition of the same song played in Ukraine last year called “Can One Man Save the World” and incorporated the Ukrainian orchestra audio. He said that everyone who was part of the orchestra had either lost someone, had someone on the front lines, or had someone missing. It was a very surreal moment.  
After this, Five for Fighting played his hit songs “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” and “100 Years” before getting the crowd’s vocal cords ready to sing along with BNL. To accomplish this feat, he had us all sing a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” as his farewell piece. Hearing thousands and thousands of fans sing along to their rendition of one of the most iconic songs was phenomenal.  

Green and purple lights lit up the night, the crowd stood and screamed, and it was time for the main event. BNL bassist Jim Creeggan walked to the edge of the stage, played a note, and did a little shimmy. The rest of the band members – Ed Robertson (guitar, vocals), Tyler Stewart (drums), and Kevin Hearn (keyboards, guitar) – made their way to the stage and dove into their first two songs of the night, “Matter of Time” and “It’s All Been Done.”  
Creeggan was all over the stage during the night and full of energy as he engaged with the fans. The band’s crew were attentive, keeping his cords untangled so as not to trip anyone or get them caught up on the equipment as he moved around.  
Vocalist Ed Robertson is extremely witty and amusing; his banter is a show in itself! He kept the audience engaged with entertaining stories in between songs. Creeggan said Robertson wrote eight “banger” songs in one night for the new record, which I tend to believe because Robertson did an epic freestyle rap about the weather issues, Canada Day, and Greensboro, NC. I’m not sure what was going on exactly nine months and years and years ago, but it seemed that everyone in the crowd had a birthday. Robertson teased them a bit before he finally broke down and sang “Happy Birthday to You” to all those with birthdays.  

Barenaked Ladies played “Lovin’ Life” their first new single in two years, which they just released the week before. There was a sentimental moment in the show where everyone congratulated Kevin Hearn for being cancer-free for 25 years now.  

The music chosen for tonight was a mixture of old and new songs; they played their hits “One Week,” “If I Had $1,000,000,” and “Pinch Me,” as well as “Grade 9” and “Odds Are.” They played songs from their 2021 album, “Detour de Force,” along with the “Big Bang Theory Theme.”  
I have to say the finale was a trifecta of awesomeness – the perfect ending to one of the better concerts I’ve seen. Starting the end to the night was a hodgepodge of lyrics from other artists’ songs, which included “If You Could Read My Mind,” “As It Was,” “Flowers,” “Take On Me,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” and “So Long, Farewell.” Somehow, all the songs worked well together and flowed; that’s the magic and creativeness of BNL. Then it was a cover of “Rock of Ages.”  

Finally, every member of all three bands came to the stage for a cover of “Jet Airliner.” Del Amitri, Five for Fighting, and Barenaked Ladies were all crammed on the stage, playing their instruments, and singing together. If an audience member wasn’t singing the lyrics, it had to be because they were so mesmerized by the scene, or busy screaming and cheering.  

There are still more dates on the Last Summer on Earth 2023 Tour, so do yourself a favor and check this one out!    

SHOW PHOTO GALLERY

by Jed Gammon Photography

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SID 230912 | TRACI TURNER, EDITOR

   

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