Posted by Dave Kaufman
I’ve never heard the silence of a crowd like at last week’s Gord Downie show in Sherbrooke.
Maybe silence is the wrong word. Quiet reverence, maybe. Or awe. Does awe make a sound?
It was at its most poignant during Steeplechase, a song off of his under-appreciated second solo album, Battle of the Nudes.
During a two-minute overture by his incredibly talented band, The Country of Miracles, Downie worked furiously in front of an old projector like the ones my teachers used in high school, and created a tableau that became the background art for the stage.
Almost instantaneously he had created a scene reminiscent of 9/11. Downie unveiled a cutout of a jet barreling towards a massive building. He then placed a clear plate over the cutout, and doused it with red acrylic.
Art and music fused into one. As the guitars beeped and he started to sing, the crowd grasped the poignancy of the moment.
“There’s a cruel, crumpling sound from over yonder by the steeplechase / it's the sound of coming down like horses slamming on the brakes"
It was a sound as unique as the show. I doubt I'll ever hear it again.