Day 7 #RBCBluesfest #Ottawa
My, how quickly the days pass when you’re spending time in heaven. Another great day at Bluesfest yesterday with warm weather and a great lineup.
First up for me was the local Blues band Firebelly, who represented the Ottawa Blues Society at the 2013 International Blues Challenge (the challenge that was won by Selwyn Birchwood who I saw earlier in the week). As expected, they played a good opening set that kept the crowd moving to the beat. I especially like it when Mathieu Gagnon gets fired up on the harmonica.
Next was a special treat. Procol Harum accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra AND Lee Hayes’ Ottawa choir. I can’t say I am a hard core Procol Harum fan, but I have always enjoyed listening to A Whiter Shade of Pale and Conquistador. To hear these songs and other Procol Harum standards played by a band accompanied by a full orchestra and choir was an amazing once in a lifetime experience. Kudos to Bluesfest for making this happen.
After that, it was off to make my way through the packed crowd at the Claridge stage to see Blondie. It’s hard to believe Debbie Harry is 69 years old already as her voice is still strong. It was a real treat to see a great live performance from a band I grew up with – especially one with such a wide range and mix of styles that contain elements of Punk, Reggae, Pop and more that make up their trademark (and ground breaking) sound.
The closer of the night for me was a step further back in time – John Mayall who released his first British Blues album 50 years ago and is still going strong. Clearly the blues is still alive and well and the capacity crowd at the Blacksheep Stage proved that it is still very much in demand. Backed by an excellent 3 piece band, John carried the lead vocals, keyboard, second guitar and, of course, the harmonica. Last night, the “Godfather of British Blues” took us on a trip through the history of the Blues and left the crowd wanting more. A great way to close out another amazing day at Bluesfest.
I will be skipping today’s festival and gathering my energy for the closing weekend. Highlights for me include Little Freddie King, Thornetta Davis and Dr Hook featuring Ray Sawyer on Saturday and Sam Roberts Band and Collective Soul on Sunday.