Uptown Magazine, July 16, 2009

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Uptown Magazine
  • 2009 July 16

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Love was in the air

Hot tweets, Elvis treats ruled the weekend at Birds Hill Park

John Kendle

I was rather confused for about an hour on Saturday night at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

People I know kept walking up to me saying, "I fell in love with you, too, at the Folk Festival."

I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

Even considering the fact I was likely both dazed and confused at many of the 23 Folk Festivals I've covered, I know that U2 has never played Birds Hill Park.

So I just kept nodding and smiling at people's strange remarks until friend and colleague Marlo Campbell finally clued me in.

It seems that the festival's Friday and Saturday night mainstage host - Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One - is a fan and user of Twitter. He'd sent out a tweet asking people to send him their best festival stories (in 140 characters or less, of course). If their tweets were nice or cute or sweet enough, he promised to read them onstage.

My girlfriend, who's also a diehard Twitter user (seriously - even our freaking dog has an account), was one of the first to respond, telling Jian she'd first fallen in love with me at the Folk Fest in 2004.

And yes, that just happened to be the message Ghomeshi read onstage on Saturday night. It was the first tweet to be read from a stage at a Winnipeg Folk Festival.

All together now: 'Aaawww!'

I missed this historic moment because I was busy trying to find one of my sons, who'd rushed headlong into the crowd during the last few songs of Bellowhead's eminently danceable set of U.K. folk and brassy pop/rock. But I certainly heard all about Liz's 'sweet tweet' later.

So now I must say thanks to Liz, thanks to Jian and thanks to Marlo for filling me in. Otherwise I'd still be wandering around wondering why the hell people were talking about Bono.


The other big surprise of the festival came early in the week, during Elvis Costello's preposterously stupendous gig on Wednesday night.

I'd prepared myself for an elder-statesman-with-new-album show - full of his roots and country material from Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, with a few old faves sprinkled in here and there.

What I hadn't realized was that the version of The Imposters with which Costello is touring is essentially The Attractions without bassist Bruce Thomas (Davey Faragher fills that role these days). So when they started with Accidents Will Happen, Mystery Train and (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea, I was suddenly transformed into the 13-year-old who'd first fallen in love with those songs. When Elvis finished - after a seven-song encore that included a dub version of Watching the Detectives, Alison (in which he quoted Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown and Tracks of My Tears), (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes, Radio Radio, Pump it Up and (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding - I thought my head and heart would explode with excitement.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Costello gig was seeing at least two members of The Fuse in the audience. When Costello last performed here, at the Playhouse in 1978, he ended up jamming a Nick Lowe tune onstage at the St. Vital Hotel with the Winnipeg group, which featured Jeff, Don and Paul Hatcher and Dave Briggs.

This time around, a young girl who looked to be in Don Hatcher's party kept screaming "We love you, Elvis!" in between songs, earning a nod from The Man and smiles and chuckles from fans who'd rushed to the front of the stage.

Yep, it felt like love was in the air all weekend at Birds Hill.


Tags: Birds Hill Provincial ParkWinnipeg Folk FestivalU2BonoSecret, Profane & SugarcaneThe ImpostersThe AttractionsBruce ThomasDavey FaragherAccidents Will HappenMystery Train(I Don't Want To Go To) ChelseaWatching The DetectivesAlisonSmokey RobinsonTears Of A ClownTracks Of My Tears(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red ShoesRadio, RadioPump It Up(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?The FusePlayhouseNick LoweSt. Vital HotelConcert 1978-11-15 Winnipeg (late)Jeff Hatcher

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Uptown Magazine, July 16, 2009


John Kendle reviews Elvis Costello & The Imposters with The Lovell Sisters, Wednesday, July 8, 2009, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Birds Hill Provincial Park, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.


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