Dinosaur Jr. The Phoenix, Toronto ON - July 17, 2005

Dinosaur Jr. The Phoenix, Toronto ON - July 17, 2005
Nostalgia tours are old hat, but when Dinosaur Jr. reunited earlier this year in support of recent reissues, it was a shock to anyone who knew the band's history. Led by enigmatic singer/guitarist J. Mascis, the original mid-'80s line-up featured Murph on drums and Lou Barlow on bass and vocals - that is, until Barlow was given his pink slip, which instigated a long-time grudge with Mascis. Hatchets now buried, the original line-up played their first set together in Toronto since 1989 to a surprisingly packed house, considering the steep ticket price. The trio wasted no time tearing through a good chunk of their seminal You're Living All Over Me, including staples such as the swirling "Little Fury Things" and the adorable "In A Jar," while not forgetting their other two albums. Mascis's long greying hair kept covering his face, à la Cousin Itt, while he schooled the audience on how to be a guitar god. The man's mastery is as criminally underrated as it is effortless, providing a wall of noise with his signature soloing and masterful work with the wah pedal and tremolo bar. Chopping away at their heaviest song, the aptly titled "Sludgefeast," Mascis proved he hasn't lost a stroke in 20 years. As much as it was J.'s show, Lou was not overshadowed, taking the mic on "Forget the Swan" and "Gargoyle," as well as receiving a "Happy Birthday" sing-along. When the band came out to finish with favourites "Just Like Heaven" and outsider anthem "Freak Scene," not to mention "Mountain Man," the whole experience of seeing this beloved band was validated and left many with ringing ears and the hope that this will not be the last we see of J., Lou and Murph.