REVIEW OF THE LIVE SHOW AT THE OLYMPIC GARDENS HALL, HALIFAX, NS - Mar. 28, 2002
The poster says it all: "A Musical Celebration for Kevin Macmichael and Cancer Research". With the news of the past weeks still fresh in our minds, the concert became a great way to focus the energy and the need to help somehow. Nick Van Eede flew in to Halifax and helped organize the show with MANY of Kevin's friends and associates. Some of these same friends put together a tribute website to announce the show and tell us how we could help too. (Be sure to visit that site for more on this show!)
The days flew by with a flurry of activity... you can only imagine how much work went into preparing for the event, between arranging for the hall, obtaining light, sound and musical equipment, rehearsals and promoting the whole thing. Local sponsors stepped up to the plate big time. Kevin and Nick appear on local TV three times talking about the show and articles in the local paper announce the big event. Tickets sell briskly and before long Thursday night, March 28, arrives.
It's almost three hours before the doors are due to open and there's already a BIG lineup outside. A bit after 7PM the crowd is let in because they're causing traffic problems! By the 8pm start time over 1000 people have filled the place and there's still people waiting outside - amazing. Beer and pizza are selling like it's going out of style and everyone is ready for a great time.
The idea behind tonight's show is to feature local musicians, many of who have played with Kevin in the past, Kevin himself on guitars and vocals and a special Cutting Crew portion with Nick Van Eede to end the night. There are over 20 acts on the bill which means there's going to be something for everyone. The opening act was the Hop, a local act who got the crowd warmed up right away. Following them was a "who's who" of acts including: Frank MacKay, Sam Moon, Wayne Nicholson, Pam Marsh, Doris Mason, Rick Edgett and Ritchie Oakley!
Kevin arrived around 9:45 and caused quite a stir literally coming in the front door. Of course he was immediately mobbed by EVERYONE, from friends to journalists! It probably took him an hour to make his way to the front, heh. At that point, he joined his former bandmates from the band Spice onstage in their current lineup called Tribute. The band featured Floyd King, Paul Eisan, Robert Boudreau, Ken MacDonald and Kevin. They played a number of Beatles' classics which are Kevin's favorites of course.
Next Kevin was joined onstage by Jimmy Rankin, from the Rankin Family band. Kevin as you may remember co-wrote a song on their 1998 album 'Uprooted' and by the way Jimmy spoke tonight, is a very good friend.
Following this set, Kevin took a break and other acts continued the show. It was a hot night in the hall with all those people in there - about 1200 at final count! The doors were opened to let in fresh air, and surprisingly the bar ran out of beer and had to bring in some more, heh heh. Of course music wasn't the only thing on the bill this evening. During the show, a special highlight reel of Kevin's life and career was projected onto the walls on either side of the stage. It featured a retrospective of his appearances in various bands including Spice, Fast Forward and of course the Cutting Crew days. In addition, a silent auction was held that night with proceeds to go towards the benefit. One of the most amazing items up for bid was an official Cutting Crew gold record award from Broadcast!! Apparently the auction was a big success as well.
Over six hours into a show originally scheduled for only four, the moment Cutting Crew fans had been anticipating arrived. For the last segment, Nick Van Eede joined Kevin onstage and the Cutting Crew were back!! Nick began by introducing himself to the crowd by reminding them that the projected images they were seeing were 15 years old and that sadly Nick couldn't be there tonight. The "real Nick" looked exactly the same as in the videos and was happily living somewhere in the Carribean. The person onstage tonight was in fact his older, balder and much better built brother, to which Kevin chipped-in: "Yeah this is Knack" to big laughter! Nick then went on to recall how he had met Kevin almost 20 years ago and how they made that great decision to give up the bar band scene and go to England to start a brand new band - which of course became the Cutting Crew.
The two began their set with the classic "I've Been In Love Before" and although Kevin was probably pretty tired by now he played brilliantly according to everyone there. The crowd had drawn in close to watch them play and not a pin drop could be heard. Another song, one of Nick's new ones I believe called "Can We Go Now?", and then the pen ultimate finalle - "I Just Died In Your Arms". As they finished their set THE CROWD WENT WILD! They gave everyone a standing ovation that lasted for over four minutes!!! It was a rousing finish to a very emotional and exciting evening.
But believe it or not, the show wasn't over just yet. Here it was about 3AM and Kevin had one last surprise up his sleeve. He went back onstage alone and thanked everyone who had come out this evening in a little speech. Then by himself on guitar he began to sing John Lennon's classic song "Imagine". Slowly, other members of the bands there that night joined him on supporting instruments to complete the lineup. The crowd loved it, pressing even closer to the stage. Then Kevin led them all into singing another Beatles' classic "Hey Jude". At this point something really special happened, as Kevin's two teenage daughters got up and joined him on stage, as did many of the other musicians who had played there that night! I doubt there was a dry eye in the house - what a classy way to end the concert!
The show had gone on much longer than anyone probably thought it would, but it went over so well it didn't matter. After much more applause and cheering, Kevin thanked everyone and with his guitar and daughters in tow he left the stage. The lights came up and everyone went home full of cheer and great memories.
To say that the show was a success is certainly an understatement. I have heard nothing but positive things from everyone who was there and the photos I've seen so far are amazing. Be sure to stop by the Tribute Website linked above to see more pictures! Some of you have asked and YES, this show was recorded for a souvenir CD that will hopefully be released sometime soon in the near future! Stay tuned to this website for additional information about that and more photos as they come in from this show.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED ME WRITE THIS REVIEW - YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE ;)