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charlene 11-15-2008 06:48 AM

Daniel Lanois/Lightfoot/Massey Hall

Saturday, November 15, 2008 Toronto9°Tomorrow »3°/ 2°Change city Entertainment Music
Daniel Lanois finally plays Massey

Last Updated: 15th November 2008, 2:25am
The intense genius that is Daniel Lanois evoked another hugely respected Canadian artist - would you believe Neil Young? - as he played Massey Hall for the first time in his illustrious career on Friday night.

It helped that the 57-year-old producer to such luminaries as U2, Bob Dylan and Peter Gabriel was joined in a jammy, improvisational and loud evening of folk-rock by three equally talented musicians - drummer Brian Blade, bassist Marcus Blake and guitarist Jim Wilson, the latter two who made up a beautiful sounding chorus alongside Lanois' raspier vocals.

And as Lanois lumbered around the stage, seemingly shaking and vibrating right alongside his electric guitar, he seemed to be channeling both Young as a solo artist and Young's other gig with CSNY as Blake and Wison provided gorgeous male harmonies during some songs.

Lanois, who said the only other time he'd been in Massey was for a 1969 concert by jazz great Miles Davis, first snuck out on stage dressed in a leather jacket and hat and sporting a full beard after a brief introduction by CBC Radio 2 host Andrew Craig who explained the concert was being recorded for a Jan. 26 broadcast.

There was also Lanois' own videographer on stage filming every second of the show in black and white images that were projected onto a screen behind the band.

Lanois himself mentioned "the spirit of Gordon Lightfoot hanging around" in terms of getting to finally play Massey and with Lightfoot's 70th birthday looming on Monday (Nov. 17) it seemed appropriate.

Opening with The Maker, from his first solo ablum, 1989's Acadie, which was re-released last month, Lanois followed with The Messenger, from his second solo effort, 1993's For The Beauty Of Wynona.

Creating an atmospheric and exciting guitar sound - at one point he moved over to pedal-steel - the ten-time Grammy winner and five-time Juno winner seemed to be producing on stage as his band members followed his every move but maintained their own musical integrity at the same time.

There was definitely a feeling of generosity and sharing.

Other standouts during Lanois' hour-and-45-minute set included Sometimes and Fire from his 2003 album, Shine; the French language Jolie Louise and Still Water - both from Acadie; the Wynona tunes, Marie Claire and Rocky World; Where Will I Be? (written for Emmylou Harris' 1995 album, Wrecking Ball which Lanois also produced), and the title track from his own 2007 release, Here Is What Is.

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