Nov. 21, 2011
It was my first country concert, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I walked into the Homburg Theatre and joined the swarm of anxious fans waiting to be shown to their seats.
An excited group of lucky fans rushed past me as they were being led to a meet and greet with the multiple Canadian Country Music Award winning group, Doc Walker.
Whispers of excitement could be heard from all around.
“Karen seen them in Summerside. She said they were good, too.”
I was beginning to feel slightly out of place as the room filled with people in cowboy hats, their best Levi’s and Doc Walker gear, but I wasn’t going to judge anything just yet.
Finally, we were let in.
As fans flooded in, a warm, homey feeling could be felt throughout the theatre – as if the Doc Walker fan base is really a large group of friends and family who regularly enjoy the show together.
Smiles and waves were being shared all around.
I was feeling rather lonely having gone by myself, until I was joined by a couple who sat next to me.
Claudette Caissie and Jean Arsenault sat down, said hello and ensured me I was in for a good show.
After the director of Live @ the center, Darcy Campbell, introduced the group, the lights dimmed and on they came.
The crowd erupted at the sight of lead singer Chris Thorsteinson who entered first.
The band opened with a single from their new album, 16&1, entitled Are You With Me Tonight? – which also happens to be the name of this tour.
Even though I am not a huge country music fan, I was pleased.
It was modern country.
It didn’t have that twangy, cry yourself to sleep, ‘oh woe is me’ feeling I had ignorantly associated with almost all country music.
Within minutes I was clapping my hands and stomping my feet.
I also enjoyed the small talk the band engaged in with the crowd.
Fans were particularly pleased when Thorsteinson told a story about surprising an Island cab driver with a Stompin’ Tom tune while touring downtown Charlottetown.
After a short intermission, the band was back and ready to rock on – Christmas style.
A large inflated Santa Claus slowly came to life on stage.
Thorsteinson surprised the crowd by picking two fans to help get a classic version of Jingle Bells on the go.
One was a particularly young girl and it was nice to see the band include children in the fun.
Since it is rather early into the Christmas season, I don’t even consider it the Christmas season until Dec. 1, the holiday content was kept to a minimum, which I later found out wasn’t what one fan was hoping for.
“It could have had a bit more of a Christmas aspect to it,” said Arsenault.
All of a sudden, I could tell this must be one of their bigger hits, because when the opening to Country Girl began, the crowd whistled and hollered.
“Do we have any country girls out here tonight?” asked Thorsteinson.
The girls in the audience went nuts.
When all was said and done, the band graciously thanked the crowd.
“We want to thank the east coast for being so good to us over the years, and for the beautiful scenery.”
I think we all know Islanders loved to be praised on their beautiful land.
And though they were very pleased, they craved more.
The band had disappeared behind the curtain, but the crowd continued with a standing ovation.
Now, this is the part of concerts I am not the craziest about.
The band came out for an encore.
It just always seems so set up. I can’t help but wonder, if the crowd hadn’t gone as crazy as they did, demanding more, would Doc Walker – or any musical act for that matter – have come back out on stage to deliver one more performance?
Well, they did.
Chris Thorsteinson, Dave Wasyliw and Murray Pulver gathered around a single microphone and delivered a beautiful a cappella song to end a beautiful show.
“It was amazing. The last song was my favourite,” said Caissie.
I agree. It was a great show. But I’d say the opening was my favourite.
Even though I don’t think I will be trading in my best high-heeled pumps for a pair of cowboy boots anytime soon, you may catch me rocking out at next year’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival – especially if Doc Walker returns.
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