I love the Polyphonic Spree - have for years. But I never expected them to come to Toronto. When I found out they were coming to Toronto, I was so excited that I actually almost hyperventilated. I am telling the truth. This is a big deal for me.
I generally don't go in to shows with huge expectations. But I have to admit that for this one, my expectations were pretty high. I don't like to do that, because I'm usually disappointed.
I was not disappointed. Not by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, it was beyond anything I could have imagined.
When the music began, it was such a huge sound of bliss, really - it was truly overwhelming. I literally had tears streaming down my face during the band's opening number. You must understand, this was like a dream come true - I had thought I would never hear them live - and the way they sound live is so enormous compared to what can be captured on a CD.
I am going to take a moment to talk about Tim DeLaughter. He's the frontman and mastermind of The Polyphonic Spree. What I'd seen and read of him was very impressive, and I had thought very highly of him. To see him live was incredible - he has such charisma and presence, and comes across so genuine and true. I have seen a lot of bands, but I have never seen anyone own a stage and a room the way he does.
But that's not all - it gets better.
Like I mentioned, I've seen a lot of bands. Most of them in 'small' venues like the Phoenix. And I'm pretty much always right near the front. Some of the frontmen make eye contact. But never, never have I ever seen anyone connect with his audience the way Tim does.
And here's the really cool part. He picked me out. There were a few people he picked out, and I was one of them. Numerous times throughout the show he smiled and sang directly to me. (I have witnesses; this isn't a figment of my imagination.)
Oh yeah... it gets better still.
At one point, Tim came down into the audience. I was in the right spot; he walked right past me. When he went back up to the stage, I sort of patted him on the shoulder, like a 'moral support' gesture. That was really cool.
But it gets better. No, really.
For the encore, the band changed from their really cool Fragile Army uniforms to their classic white robes. And they returned to the stage walking through the audience. Once again, right past me. I once again patted several members of the band on the shoulder as they went by. Some of them were high-fiving people along the way, stuff like that. And Tim came last. I reached out to pat him on the shoulder again. He put out his hand, and turned toward me - I thought he was going to shake my hand. No. He put his arms around me and gave me the warmest, most genuine hug - it felt as though we'd been friends for years. Totally blew my mind.
At the end of the show, as they were walking off stage, Tim was waving and pointing at the several people who'd yelled stuff to him, or jumped up on stage during the show, and he waved at me and said "Thanks!"
The music and the performance in and of itself was spectacular and unparallelled. But adding in the interaction I experienced puts the whole thing so far past any show I've ever been to before - and likely any show I may ever go to yet. At this point, I truly feel that I have no need to go to any other concert. There is no way it could compare.
I'm still smiling!