I Am A Diamond
The Kate Tribute Concert at Massey Hall was a resounding success. Some are saying it’s the best of the 3 Tributes. I’d have to agree. Of course it would have been even better had Kate floated onto the stage and picked up a banjo. At least she left us her songs. Rufus and Martha were the most charming and gracious of hosts and they sang like archangels. All the musical guests* more than did justice to her work as each successive one revealed yet another facet of the beautiful diamond that is Kate. The platinum band was exquisite. Thanks to all the fans for the wonderfully warm Toronto reception. The press was generous and overwhelming. Check for youtube postings of the event. Special thanks to Jörn Weisbrodt and Luminato, and producers Joe Boyd, Teddy Wainwright and Catherine Steinmann and the sound and stage crews. The concert was a benefit for the Kate McGarrigle Fund for Sarcoma Research, a charity she started 2 yrs. prior to her death.
While in the Queen City, I did a lunchtime Illumination chat with 2 old friends, Michael Ondaatje and Thom Mennier, piano, & surprise guest Lily Lanken, vox. The focus was Kate and creativity. The audience was very appreciative and Thom finally performed his lovely, crazy Gardencourt Waltz composed for Martha and Brad’s nuptials back in Sept 2007 for which he got a standing ovation. He’ll have to record it soon. As soon as it ended I went straight to Ben McNally’s and bought Michael O.’s latest The Cat’s Table which I highly recommend. Sat night at the Hub Rufus gave a fabulous concert featuring songs from his new CD Out of the Game. He’s in the middle of a World Tour. His show was preceded by the Rufus W. Songbook, an homage to his work. His songs are so tuneful and accessible and the renditions by a multitude of very talented Toronto artists were terrific. On Sun. some of us lucky folk got to see the 4.5 hr long Einstein on the Beach, mothballed for the last 20 yrs. Why? It was stunning and it holds up well. Wed night was the screening of Lian Lunson’s filmed homage to Kate, Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You, part bio part live concert (NY Tribute), occasionally joyous but pretty grief-stricken and a bit voyeuristic but Kate was a big fan of Grey Gardens, so..
Campbell Hendery, the St Urbain Oarsman (or in his own words ‘I am a Diamond Taxi’**) not only ferried instruments and Daddy Dane up river but most graciously opened his Sheraton digs+balcony with waterfall and birch forest view to late-night revellers. Thanks Campbie and thanks to Linda Read for making sure we all had fun. Cleo Seminic-Zifkin very kindly cared for Arcangelo bringing him to rehearsals, parks and the big show. Arc thanks you Cleo. Maybe one day he’ll write you a song like Paul Anka did about his babysitter.
On our way home yesterday we heard the awful news about the collapsed stage at Downsview Park. Our hearts go out to the family of the unfortunate stagehand who died and to those injured. Those stagehands, roadies, and techs choose this business because they love the music. The work is hard and schedules killing. The musicians work like hell too. I hope Radiohead can make up the concert at a later date and on a secure stage.
** longtime Montreal cab company.
* Rufus Wainwright
Mary Margaret O’Hara
Anna Catherine Dow