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SALLY COLE: Barenaked Ladies still send a chill up the spine

The Barenaked Ladies will perform Oct. 16 at Homburg Theatre of Confederation Centre of Arts in Charlottetown. Show time is 8 p.m. From left are Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart.
The Barenaked Ladies will perform Oct. 16 at Homburg Theatre of Confederation Centre of Arts in Charlottetown. Show time is 8 p.m. From left are Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn, Ed Robertson and Tyler Stewart.

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE.I. - I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Barenaked Ladies live.

It was a warm, summer evening in the mid-1990’s. Outdoor concerts were taking off at the Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown, and large, enthusiastic crowds were taking them in.

Arriving at the park early, my friends and I found a spot at the back of the concert site to spread out blankets, away from the crowd surfers and mosh pitters who had already staked out their territory.

And then the music started.

While it was fun to listen to the band’s songbook, tunes like “Be My Yoko Ono” and “Brian Wilson”, for me the best part was when the band invited the audience to sing along with the band in “If I Had a Million Dollars”. Listening to thousands of voices singing in harmony is a memory I will never forget. When I think about it now, it still sends shivers up my spine.

Band member Tyler Stewart tells me I’ll have the same excitement when the group hits the boards of the Homburg Theatre Stage of the Confederation Centre on Monday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

That night the band is opening for itself. And the first half is in an acoustic free-for-all.

 “We’ll stand in the front of the stage, playing songs from across our catalogue. It will probably turn into a dance party,” says Stewart, vocalist/drummer for the band that also includes Ed Robertson, lead singer, guitarist, Jim Creeggan, bass, and Kevin Hearn, keyboards.

The second half of the concert will be dedicated to the band’s new album, “Fake News”, to be released on Nov. 17.

One of the tracks on the CD is called “Nobody Better”, and it comes with a story about a band that that’s not afraid to “take risks.”

“When Ed and Kevin brought this song to the band we imagined it having a country flavour like one played by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.”

 But as they worked on it, the song wouldn’t translate into a country sound.

“It was a particular sunny day in winter, so I came home and put on some reggae (music).  And, as I listened I thought, ‘why don’t we try some reggae?’”

So, the next day when he arrived at the studio, he pitched the idea to his band mates. Everyone jumped on it, including producer Gavin Brown. And, since then, the song has “taken off” with crowds, whenever and wherever they play it.

“You can’t listen to ‘Nobody Better’ without hearing a definite reggae influence. And, although it was a risk, it’s got a great dance beat when we play it live. And we’re pretty proud of it,” says Stewart also a proud member of Barenaked Ladies.

“After 28 years with the band I appreciate that I get to do this for a living. With every record and show that we do I feel more and more blessed.”

Need to know

-           Tickets to the Barenaked Ladies concert on Oct. 16, 8 p.m., are available from the Confederation Centre Box office.

-           The name of the band’s new album, “Fake Nudes”, is a play on the concept of fake news, south of the border.

-           Website: Go to http://www.barenakedladies.com

Call in and win

The question is: Who is the lead singer for the Barenaked Ladies?

The prize:  A pair of tickets to the Bare Naked Ladies concert at the Confederation Centre on Oct. 16.

Last week’s winner: Mark Thrasher won a copy of Danny Drouin’s new CD, “It’s Been a Long Week”.

To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707.

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca  or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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