Well, first of all, I have to apologize to Mercury Rev for rolling in 40 minutes into their 80-minute set. Jazz Fest scheduling always baffles me. Sometimes, bands play exactly at the advertised time; at others, there is a support band that plays that time. On paper, Chvrches played at 8:30 pm, and Mercury Rev at 10 pm, so seeing both was feasible. However, Chvrches actually only hit the stage at 9:20 pm, playing until 10:35 pm. They were absolutely incredible and there was zero chance I was leaving that show early. Therefore, I make it to l’Astral in 5 minutes, running in around 10:40 pm as Mercury Rev are playing Tides Of The Moon. Evidently, they did start at their listed time. Oh well.
It’s a hugely different vibe. After the euphoria and delirium of Chvrches, its infinitely more chilled here, with tables dotted around the floor and a smoky stage that makes the place feel like a late-night jazz club. After a mellow Diamonds, I am thrilled to find out that I didn’t miss Holes, the opener from their magnificent 1996 Deserter’s Songs record (which accounts for 5 of the 12 songs played in tonight’s set), and which still sounds absolutely gorgeous 23 years later (23! Insane!). Its sounds even more orchestral and cinematic live, and ends in a warm fuzzy solo that breaks out the goosebumps. Goddess On A Highway, arguably the bands breakthrough (if you could ever really say that they “broke through” at all), is just as spine-tingling and follows right after. I count my lucky stars that I got here just in time to hear both of my favourites!
Opus 40 is just as uplifting, brimming with hope and optimism as it spans a full 10 minutes or so, ending with a massively extended outro and a blazing flute solo! Who knew such a thing was possible! The Dark Is Rising closes out the set, with a swirling intro delicately leading into a fragile piano, taking us back into the realms of fantasy once more, before culminating in a triumphant flurry of strobes and drums. I’m still a little disappointed that I’ve been waiting since 2008 for the band to return to Montreal, only to hear half of the set, but at the same time, I feel massively grateful to have seen them at all.
A special band worthy of closing out a special 2019 Jazz Fest.
- 1. The Funny Bird
- 2. Tonite It Shows
- 3. Central Park East
- 4. Snowflake in a Hot World
- 5. October Sunshine
- 6. A Man Needs a Maid (Neil Young cover)
- 7. Tides of the Moon
- 8. Diamonds
- 9. Holes
- 10. Goddess on a Hiway
- 11. Opus 40
- 12. The Dark Is Rising
Review & photos – Simon WilliamsShare this :