I Mother Earth at Flames Central

I Mother Earth’s hiatus never felt real to me. Even as it approached a decade, and even as its four core members were occupying themselves with other projects–Bruce Gordon was playing bass in the Orlando production of Blue Man Group, for goodness’ sake–there was never that sense of finality, of a band that’d run out of things to say. Plus, I Mother Earth is one of my favourite bands; among other things they helped define my university years, and I’d been holding onto the faint hope of someday seeing them ever since they pulled their Houdini act in 2003.

Yesterday, I did–and once I’d stopped grinning at the sight of the five mothers on stage together again I got the distinct impression that this is a band re-energized. I’ve seen at least two of their shows (in Thunder Bay in 2000 and in Kingston in 2003) that I’d classify as “epic,” yet while memory’s obviously imperfect I can’t remember them ever playing as well as they did last night. Brian Byrne’s voice sounded massive–but the member who stood out the most was Jag Tanna, whose guitar work was virtuosic and whose solo in “Earth, Sky & C.” was breathtaking. (In the past that song often veered towards self-indulgence; last night’s was relatively short and lean and tight.) The setlist was irrelevant: before the show I joked with J-What that I Mother Earth could’ve played “One More Astronaut” twenty times and I’d still have left happy, and I meant it (although I was especially thrilled to hear “I Is Us,” which was/is epic). Last night was all about getting the band back–and getting them back exactly the same, if not even better, than I’d left them nine years ago.

Set:

  • Summertime In The Void
  • Juicy
  • Used To Be Alright
  • Songburst & Delirium
  • I Is Us
  • Like the Sun
  • All Awake
  • We Got The Love
  • Another Sunday
    • Suzie Q [Creedence Clearwater Revival] (tease)
  • Earth, Sky & C.
  • One More Astronaut
  • Rain Will Fall

Encore:

  • Shortcut to Moncton
  • Levitate

This wasn’t a night for mere nostalgia: the “new” I Mother Earth sounds like a band that’s trying to prove itself all over again, and if the single “We Got The Love” is any indication there’s a lot more to come. The nine-year layoff might’ve actually done wonders for I Mother Earth. It’ll be fascinating to watch them progress, and I can’t wait to see where the journey leads next…just as long as it eventually winds up back in Calgary.

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2 thoughts on “I Mother Earth at Flames Central

  1. Great review! I too was at the show…fantastic and yes, Jag is soooo on fire right now! Whole band is super tight!

  2. Cheers! Can't wait to see them again; like I said, for me Thursday's show was more about “getting the band back” than hoping for an epic IME performance…although I think I got both. 😉

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