Published Nov 25, 2008A veritable venue and a deep, old soul made for the perfect musical marriage when Daniel Lanois played Massey Hall for the first time. Lanois, clad in black comandante hat, leather jacket and jeans, arrived on stage to a standing ovation; he opened with his biggest hit, "The Maker," and took this spiritual song and fleshed it out to a ten-minute meandering powerhouse featuring some inspired guitar solos and wonderful three-part harmony, setting the stage for what was to come.
Over the 110 minutes, Lanois and his talented trio offered soul-searching songs and candid conversations, all the while paying homage to his electric guitars, like teenagers jamming away in their parent's garage. Lanois led his band-mates along on a sonic journey; like a conductor, he would wave, smile and nod to get them to follow his path or encourage them to grab the lead and take him down an unexpected road.
The current tour marks 20 years since Lanois' first solo record, the recently remastered Acadie, so no surprise the songwriter leaned heavily on this disc, along with tunes from his most recent record Here is What Is. Cinematography by Adam Vollick, strobe lights, and water-based fog added to the atmosphere.
The electric performance was probably not what many in attendance were expecting from this spiritual soul, but Lanois showed he can still rock and make his guitar sing with the best of them. He played with so much reckless abandon that he broke a string early in the set, which he admitted was rare. The multi-instrumentalist also offered a brief atmospheric interlude on his pedal steel guitar.
Now he's finally graced Massey Hall's stage, Lanois can add his name to the list of legends that haunt the famed dame. His debut was one for the ages.