CONCERT FOR TORONTO with Swollen Members , Glenn Lewis , Sum 41 , Remy Shand , Our Lady Peace , Jann Arden , Avril Lavigne , Diana Krall , the Barenaked Ladies , Sarah McLachlan and the Tragically Hip at the Air Canada Centre and the Skydome, June 21. Tickets: $19.50-$29.50. Attendance: 70,000 (sold out). Rating: NN
all praise the barenaked ladies . Steven Page , Ed Robertson and the gang were the only ones who took the double-venued Concert For Toronto beyond T-dot pep rally sentiment. They proved that they had extensive enough knowledge of the issues troubling the city to educate the crowd - Page praised health care workers and lamented hospitality sector layoffs. Even better, they managed to mock the SARS beast, donning SARS masks and leading a shout-along of "Gimme an S, A, R, S! What does that spell? SARS! What're we gonna do? Quarantine!"
The only truly local band on the bill, the Ladies were also energetic enough to surpass the glorified pay-per-view limitations of the stage set-up. The live video feed running between the Skydome and the Air Canada Centre , while an ingenious cash grab, meant that audience members shelled out 30 smackeroos to stare at rock stars' stunted torsos on a shoddy Jumbotron screen.
Sure, the boys barrelled through basically the same set they've been playing for the last half-decade or so, serving up crowd-pleasers like The Old Apartment, Brian Wilson and (ugh) One Week, but their phenomenal stage presence was enough to make you feel like you were actually at a live show.
It almost made up for having to sit through five hours of Swollen Members ' canned hiphop, insipid neo-soul from Glenn Lewis and Remy Shand and Our Lady Peace 's overwrought whinge rock. Sum 41 delivered their usual puerile punk theatrics. Po-faced Avril Lavigne sang consistently sharp. And Diana Krall : smile already.
Post-Ladies, hippie-mama Sarah McLachlan floated onto the ACC stage. Motherhood's looking good on her - she has the best biceps this side of Madonna.
She's clearly put the pen aside for the playpen. She alluded to an upcoming album and then played a greatest (overplayed) hits set, save for a single new sappy ballad.
The Skydome crowd booed throughout Ms. M's set, stoked for the frat-friendly rawk of the Hip , who didn't disappoint, although Gord Downie 's mumbly spoken-word segments were inaudible.
You wondered who was raking it in here. Promoters claimed it was sold out, but scalpers outside sold tickets for 10 bucks well into the second set. Tourists didn't drive into the T-dot for the show. But since most of the artists, who snagged world-class paycheques, share a manager, I'd wager Feldman Management ended up being a big fan of the Concert For Toronto.