Rich Aucoin The Great Hall, Toronto ON, May 9
Published May 10, 2015By now, Rich Aucoin's live show should be old hat. The constant road warrior hits Toronto alone three or four times every year, yet people keep showing up, bringing friends and loved ones to experience the Halifax phenomenon's uplifting performance.
That's a testament to Aucoin himself, whose infectious enthusiasm was palpable from the minute he hit the stage. Asking the entire crowd to take a knee, he led them in a sing-along of the 20th Century Fox theme while the accompanying title card played on a giant screen behind him. He and his three-piece band, which included two drummers (one of whom was his brother, Paul), then worked through selections off of Aucoin's two full-lengths.
There were the sing-alongs, the confetti canons and, of course, the parachute that have become hallmarks of the Rich Aucoin experience. But each was deployed with a joy that belied whatever "shtick" naysayers (of which there appeared to be few) might ascribe to the performance. Even when the net full of balloons failed to drop during the climax of "It," Aucoin was undaunted, regrouping the crowd in the centre of the room to give his balloon handler another chance.
While the pillars remain the stuff in between, the pastiche of nostalgia (old film clips) and the extreme now (Internet memes), is a constantly changing affair, ensuring that everyone left his mini-revival feeling a sense of renewal.