On Friday night, Steve and I and our friends, Christine (my best friend since high school) and Stewart (her darling husband) went to the Barenaked Ladies concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. I've had the pleasure of seeing the Ladies four times now, most memorably on the Stunt tour when we sat front row at Massey Hall. One of my favourite bands in my most favourite music venue in Toronto. Priceless!
Last night's concert was unlike any BNL show I have ever attended. The vibe was totally different. Mellower, although they had just as much energy as at past shows. More mature, even though they were just a funny as ever. So what's changed?
The band's latest release, Barenaked Ladies Are Me, takes them back to their independent roots. That's right boys and girls, no record company involved! The guys set up their own record label and took full control over their work. Instead of the standard 10-12 song disc, they released a 29 song set. Not only did they put these tunes out on physical CDs, they offered them for download and threw them on a USB drive (adorably titled "Barenaked on a Stick") that included some fun extras. It's important to mention that if you decided to go old school and purchase the physical CDs, you were only able to purchase half of the songs when they came out in the fall of 2006. You had to wait until early February 2007 to get the rest. Obviously the guys were encouraging their fans to use one of the new media methods. Well it worked for me. Up until this release, I owned every Barenaked Ladies recording in a physical format, including the groundbreaking yellow tape. Something about being able to look at my lovely pile of CDs and cassettes and say that I had all of BNL's recordings made me all warm and fuzzy. But when it came time to purchase Barenaked Ladies Are Me, it was a no-brainer. I wanted all of the songs and I wanted them now! My stack of CDs did not grow taller and I didn't miss that awesome feeling of tearing off the plastic and eagerly listening to each track while dissecting the lyrics and liner notes. I so thought I would miss that experience, but I didn't. I guess when it comes down to it, the other stuff doesn't matter. It's all about the music and how you connect to it.