The Tea Party – 20 Years Of Transmission
@ The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
November 30, 2017
With a career spanning decades, The Tea Party, playing on a late Thursday night at the Horseshoe Tavern’s 70th Birthday concert series, was more than ready to throw it down. The Tea Party front loaded their intimate sit-down acoustic set with the launching of “The Bazaar”, as Jeff Martin’s herculean vocals carved into the hot air of the standing room only crowd at the Horseshoe. The gem of the night was a specially crafted homage to The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie, as Martin seamlessly wove “Bobcaygen” within the aptly titled “Requiem”.
Throughout the night, with a substantial acoustic song set, it was The Tea Party at their most intimate, playing old and new favourites, as the audience listened to every unimpeded, pellucid note in one of Toronto’s most iconic venues. It was the roaring applause and audience (filling in some of the lyrics gaps to the songs) that further created a more interactive environment, while striking a delicate balance. This was one of those concerts that was much more than viewing (although the ocean of cellphones being held up said otherwise); it was feeling the acoustic set. The stage could not contain the raw, seismic power of the instrumentals, with Martin’s Morrison-esque voice channelling through the mic. Adding to the lustre of the performance, Martin continues to show his love for interacting with the audience, and did so in spades throughout the concert.
The Tea Party continued their finely-crafted moments of transcendence with a four song medley, including quintessential staples such as “Writings on the Wall”, “A Certain Slant of Light”, “Fire in the Head” and every Tea Party fan’s favourite, “Heaven”, where Martin busted out the 12 stringer, and then took it into U2’s “With or without You”, with the Pavlovian audience singing along. Traditionally, for the encore, Martin would monologue and then segue into “Temptation”. Once again, this held true as he stated (facetiously), that he would “never ever, lead you into TEMPTATION”.
As the final notes of “Temptation” faded and the trio walked off stage, we are still reminded that having been a Canadian powerhouse in the 90s, The Tea Party continues to add to their legacy by respecting the time and devotion of their adoring fans. By giving us something different with this high energy, variegated acoustic tasting, Martin, Stuart Chatwood, and Jeff Burrows continue to crescendo towards the end of 2017, by adding to The Tea Party’s historical, storied career through their emulsified musical alchemy. Well done, boys.
Acoustic Set List / Original Album:
Bazaar – Edges of Twilight (1995)
Walking Wounded – The Interzone Mantras (2001)
Requiem – The Interzone Mantras (2001)
Haze on the Hills – Splendor Solis (1993)
In this Time – Splendor Solis (1993)
Winter Solstice – Splendor Solis (1993)
Save me – Splendor Solis (1993)
The Maker – The Ocean at the End (2014)
The Badger – Edges of Twilight (1995)
Shadows on the Mountainside – Edges of Twilight (1995)
Coming Home – Edges of Twilight (1995)
Gone – Triptych (1999)
Sun Going Down – Splendor Solis (1993)
Electric set List:
Writings on the Wall – Seven Circles (2004)
Fire in the Head – Edges of Twilight (1995)
A Certain Slant of Light – Splendor Solis (1993)
Heaven – Triptych (1999)
Temptation – Transmission (1997)
(Photography by Chris X)