Shad Live at Massey Hall

Shad and Band.jpg

Submitted by Lee Fraser
Photo Credits: Live at Massey Hall Series

This is not your parents’ Massey Hall. Now in its second season, “Live at Massey Hall” is a series that features up-and-coming Canadian artists in the iconic venue.  Not every episode converts the centenarian into a throbbing night club, but that was certainly the case when Shad headlined on Friday, March 27. The tip off was when the programming director took to the stage pre-show to say something to the effect of ”Things can get a little crazy at shows like this, so we’re asking that you please keep the centre aisle and the front of the stage clear for the camera crew.”

The evening got under way with Zaki Ibrahim. After an intro by her guitarist, the lights came up as the percussion and vocals grew louder;  Zaki stood before us in a stunning dress, singing in French.  After only one number, people in the audience were exclaiming “Wow.”  The show that Zaki Ibrahim presents is aurally, visually and emotionally stunning.

After a short intermission, Shad strutted onto the stage and without hesitation, told everyone to stand up.  Every single fan rose from their seats.  And everyone stayed standing the entire show.  At times cranking out high energy dance music, and other times reflective, Shad was one hundred percent pure entertainment the entire night.

Shad augmented his stellar line-up, already replete with DJ T.Lo and a trumpet player, with special guest appearances bya violinist and rap artists Eternia and Saukrates.  This kept the flow of the evening exciting and engaging. The more reflective moments gave you the chance to fully appreciate the creative and carefully crafted lyrics, while the dance numbers gave you the chance to shake off those deep thoughts and enjoy the experience of living this life.  There were many times that Shad paced the expanse of stage in front of the band like a thoroughbred in a paddock.  Other times, he assumed his signature pose;  head cocked to the side, hand to chin, as if to say  “what do you think of me now?”

With hundreds of fists in the air and a light show befitting a rave, the atmosphere in Massey Hall was pumped.  A far cry from the stoic orchestral performances of yesteryear, or the reverence bestowed upon Canada’s musical icons, this was a night of expression and jubilation.  Toronto fans place Shad on a pedestal, yet he chronicles the stories of our times; of everyone’s times.  He sings about circumstances that everyone can relate to.

If you missed this show, you will soon be able to stream it on the Live at Massey Hall website. And if you’re impressed with what you see, you’ve got the chance to see Shad at the CBC Music Festival on May 23 at Echo Beach. Meanwhile, tune into Q on CBC Radio One, where Shad takes over the role of host as of April 20.