Tag Archives: Massey Hall

A Pinochle Of Nerds Set Loose In Toronto

This photo is full of so much sexy nerdery, I can barely stand it.

The first annual Jasper-Liz-Dan adventure happened yesterday.

What exactly is a Jasper-Liz-Dan adventure (or JLD adventure for those who like their TLAs – three-letter acronyms)?

Well, it just so happens to be one of the 6 possible arrangements of our names (the others being DJL, DLJ, JDL, LDJ, and LJD). Yay math!

Did I also mention that we are all stats nerds? So it’s also one of the 6 possible ways to arrange 3 stats nerds’ names.

Given that we’re all stats nerds, this also represents a pinochle of nerds of size n=3; where a pinochle is how one describes a group of nerds (see murder of crows, pride of lions, or gaggle of geese for other such examples).

But most importantly, the first annual JLD adventure represents an excuse for the three of us to get together and wander the streets of Toronto – stuffing our faces with food and drink, shopping, and pretty much carrying on like the pinochle of nerds that we are. And since we have six ways of arranging our names, we’ve decided to create 6 annual events – one for each of the arrangements.

Yesterday’s event was a pretty epic start to this sextet of annual events. We began our day by jumping on the street car and heading to Kensington Market. Of course, this meant we had to sample some of the fares that were offered. This may or may not have included pastries, lattes, crepes, chocolate, and worms. Following this we ventured down to Queen street where I demonstrated my incredible ability to almost fall on my ass on numerous occasions.

Post Queen street found us in the Eaton Centre – mainly so that we could get warmed up a bit and people watch. Okay, really it was for the sitting. Apparently walking around Toronto all day makes one slightly tired.

We didn’t spend much time in the Eaton Centre though as we still had two major goals for the day. The first – eat at Guu. The second – see Jim Gaffigan at Massey Hall.

Guu – located at the corner of Gerard and Church – is a rather fantastic Japanese restaurant. This means I had to get a sake flight – three shots of different sakes. The first – a ginger infused sake – was very sweet, but balanced with the spicy heat of the ginger. Verdict – delicious. Of the other two – I’d already tried one. Both were fantastic, not terribly sweet, but very clean, and refreshing.

And then the food came. Sashimi salad. Deep fried calamari. Spicy tuna. Bacon wrapped scallops and mushrooms (ZOMG – you have to order these if you go to Guu – I’m salivating just thinking about them). BBQ eel. Frog Legs. So. Much. Food. By the end of our gorging we were full and very happy. The fish was fantastically fresh; the Tuna melted in our mouths, and it had just the right amount of spice. The flavour combinations – did I mention the bacon wrapped scallops and mushrooms? – were fantastic. And when all was said and done, the bill wasn’t nearly as expensive as any of us had thought it was going to be. Including the food, my sake flight, 4 beers and a half litre of wine, the bill including tip was only $120. I will definitely be returning to Guu.

After dinner we headed to Massey Hall for the main event: Jim Gaffigan. If you’re unfamiliar with his brand of humour, I’ve linked a few videos below (including a video entry recap from Jasper). He didn’t disappoint. The night was hilarious, and I found myself with sore cheeks afterwards as I was laughing so much.

Anyway, thanks Jasper and Liz for a most awesome and successful adventure. I’m looking forward to the next one.

From Jasper

Jim Gaffigan Videos


Three Violins, A Cello, A Piano, And Tori

Tori Amos at Massey Hall, December 8, 2011. Photo credit: Tom Pandi

Wow, has it really been 5 days since my last post? Sorry folks, I guess things just got a bit hectic. Trust me, it’s not for lack of things to write about. Quite the opposite.

For example, last Thursday night I headed to Massey Hall in Toronto with Dom to cross off item #35 from my Not-So-Bucket-List list. That item: see Tori Amos in concert.

Now, dear readers, you should be aware that Tori Amos has been on my list of favourite musicians since I was first introduced to her by a friend in high school. Since that time I have wanted to see her in concert but never managed to do so; either because I was unaware of the opportunity, or because I wasn’t able to go. Thankfully that all changed on Thursday.

Photo credit: Tom Pandi

And holy shite, what a concert! I’ve been thinking about the concert since Thursday, and I can honestly say that I think this is in the list of my top five concerts. It may even be number 1. It was that good. It probably didn’t hurt that Tori was accompanied by her piano, and a string quartet including 3 violins, and 1 cello. For those unaware, I’m a sucker for strings. The combination of Tori’s voice with the strings – incredible. After every song I could hear people around me commenting to their friends about how amazing the last song was. This of course between applause, and various hooting and hollering.

Photo credit: Tom Pandi

It’s hard for me to pick my favourite pieces of the evening, but I think at least two of them were Spark, and her cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s Songbird. Amazing. Simply amazing.

For Spark, she pounded on the side of the piano to capture the drums one would typically hear on the track. As for Songbird, the song itself is beautiful and Tori does an incredible job of living up to the standard set by Stevie Nicks.

Honestly though, I think Tori could sing the phonebook and impress me. Her voice is incredible and I am so happy that I’ve finally been able to see her in concert. For those of you who might be fans, you have to check out one of her concerts. Tori on CD is amazing, but Tori live is amazing on a completely different level. I know for sure that I’ll be seeing her again.

Anyway, for those of you that might be interested, I’ve linked several of the performances from Thursday’s concert below (at least, what I could find). I’ve also added the set list.

Shattering Sea

Playboy Mommy

Father Lucifer

Songbird (Fleetwood Mac) – Note, this video is not from the Massey Hall concert, but it gives you an idea of the brilliance of the song, and of Tori.


  • Shattering Sea
  • Way Down
  • Suede
  • Star of Wonder (John Hopkins cover) (Solo)
  • Nautical Twilight
  • Maybe California
  • Jackie’s Strength (Solo)
  • Cooling (Solo)
  • Playboy Mommy (Solo)
  • Winter
  • Spark
  • Star Whisperer
  • Take to the Sky (Solo)
  • Taxi Ride (Solo)
  • Songbird (Fleetwood Mac cover) (Solo)
  • Fearlessness
  • Hey Jupiter
  • Spring Haze
  • Cruel


  • A Multitude of Shades
  • Father Lucifer
  • Edge of the Moon
  • Precious Things
  • Big Wheel

The Answer Is: Who Are Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, and Jodie Foster?

In honour of St. Patrick’s day, last night I headed off to Toronto with my friend Aqleema (see her review of the concert here).  The goal – to see Sarah McLachlan in concert.  This would be the second time that I would be seeing her in concert, but it would be Aqleema’s first.  In fact, this would be Aqleema’s first concert ever.

Before the concert, we opted to head to the Asian Bowl for some grub.  And by opted, I mean that we were forced to go here as all other restaurants and pubs were elbow to elbow full of people getting their green-beer on.  One pub had a line-up that spanned a city block.  Crazy.

Dinner was good, if not a little rushed given the time we actually arrived in Toronto, managed to park and then find a place to eat.  I opted for 2 appetizers (spring rolls and deep-fried chicken filled wontons – YUM), while Aqleema chose a delicious avocado salad.  I paired mine with a cold bottle of Tiger beer.  I may have also enjoyed a bit of a lychee martini, but I’ll never say for sure.

Tasty food and tasty beer. A perfect combination :)

Following dinner, we walked to Massey Hall as the concert was to begin promptly at 7:30pm.  I love this venue for concerts, because it’s not too big and it’s not too small either.  It offers an intimate setting while still giving you a big concert feel.  To date, I’ve seen Amanda Marshall, Erykah Badu, Jon Stewart, the Kids in the Hall, and several other comedy shows at Massey Hall.  All were amazing.

Tonight’s concert was going to be a bit different from the normal concert fare that most are accustomed.  In this particular case, Sarah decided to avoid the use of an opening band, and instead feature the musical talents of her band.  Their music was interspersed throughout the set.  The talents included

I'm not sure what she was singing here, but whatever it was, I know it was awesome. And yes, we were that close. Fourth row close :)

I had never heard music from either of these artists.  But what I heard was fantastic.  Their music fit so well with Sarah’s music, while at the same time being unique and stand-alone.  The best; whoever wasn’t singing lead became back-up singer.  And I have to say I was amazed by this.  Seeing Sarah take a back seat to two amazing talents speaks volumes.  Not only was Sarah playing back-up, she did so with the same intensity that she would use as lead.  She knew all of their songs word for word.  It was quite inspiring and amazing to see.  Ultimately, it felt as if the three were having a very polished jam session, and we were allowed to watch.  Awesome!

The night also included a question and answer period, where audience members could submit questions during the intermission.  Sarah then randomly drew them from a hat and answered them as honestly as she could.  What did we learn?

  1. Sarah has kissed a girl, and she liked it.  On multiple occasions no less.
  2. If she could date any actor, it would be Viggo Mortensen.
  3. If she could date any actress, it would be either Jodie Foster, or Cate Blanchett.
  4. Motherhood has been far more profound than her career.
  5. She has had sex on the beach.
  6. She learned to surf when she was 30.
  7. She has hung ten only once.
  8. She would not say which guitarist in her band was the best.

The set list, to the best of my recollection and proficiency on the intertubes included (please correct me if I’m wrong):

  1. Awakenings
  2. Building A Mystery
  3. Loving You Is Easy
  4. Stupid
  5. To Feel Love (Butterfly Boucher)
  6. Another White Dash (Butterfly Boucher)
  7. Passenger 24 (Melissa McClelland)
  8. Brake (Melissa McClelland)
  9. Answer
  10. I Will Remember You
  11. Don’t Give Up On Us
  12. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
  13. Fallen
  14. World On Fire
  15. Broken One (Melissa McClelland)
  16. Emily, Please (Melissa McClelland)
  17. I Can’t Make Me (Butterfly Boucher)
  18. A Bitter Song (Butterfly Boucher)
  19. Good Enough
  20. The Path Of Thorns (Terms)
  21. Forgiveness
  22. Adia
  23. Hold On
  24. Illusions Of Bliss
  25. Sweet Surrender
  26. Possession
  27. Angel
  28. Rivers Of Love
  29. Ice Cream

Overall, the concert was everything I was expecting, and then some.  Between Sarah and these two new amazing artists (well, new to me), the music was incredible.  It also didn’t hurt in the slightest that Sarah brought a Cellist on stage at the end of the night for Angel.  So. Freaking. Good.  Honestly, the cello is one of my absolute all time favourite instruments.  Between that and Sarah on the piano, I was in heaven.  All of this, and I get to check off item #33 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.  Who could ask for a better night?

1 Bitter Song by Butterfly Boucher. She played this last night. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

2 Broken One by Melissa McClelland. Another excellent performance.

Some other songs by Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland:

And an example of how awesome the three (Sarah, Butterfly, and Melissa) are together. I really hope they do a joint album.