CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, April 10 2019
By Uncle Meat
Sometimes you go to Rock shows and are blown away by the venue, or the sound of the band, or the band itself, or something extra special happens. Usually you are lucky to be subjected to one or two of these wonderful things. It’s rare when all these things happen at once to make truly iconic memories you could never possibly forget. This happened for me last night. Music is the gift that keeps on giving.
Found out yesterday morning that I was going to see Claypool Lennon Delerium at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Special thanks to friend and fellow Sausagefester Aaron Stepaniuk for inviting me. I had never been to the venue, nor had I ever seen Les Claypool perform. I found it interesting as well that it was the very first show of their tour, showcasing their new album South of Reality.
Walking into the venue during the opening band, instantly I loved the Danforth Music Hall. Very cool place to see a show. Warming up the proceedings was someone by the name of Jim James. All I knew was that he used to be the singer for a band I know nothing about called My Morning Jacket. I was informed on the way to Toronto by Aaron’s girlfriend Rachel that there is an American Dad episode basically dedicated to “the angelic voice of” Jim James. Gonna have to check out some American Dad. The few songs we caught I deemed as “whispy”. It wasn’t bad but didn’t resonate with me. Jim James’ look reminded me of Daryl Hall dressed as the Joker and I was kinda glad when it ended so we could go out and smoke a huge joint.
As I am hauling off of this Buck-constructed, Buck-approved monster of a spliff, a door opens beside me, (I was too concerned with smoking this massive joint to even realise we were standing right beside an equally massive tour bus) and while I’m taking a healthy drag out walks Geddy Lee. Yes…THAT Geddy Lee. I almost exhaled the drag right into his nose, he was that close to me. Instantly I started wondering if he could be getting on stage, but that stuff never actually happens for real…Right?
The show starts off with Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”. I knew they might do some covers since they released an EP of covers in 2017 called Lime and Limpid Green. On that note, the covers played that night were epic songs that most bands wouldn’t dare even try. “Astronomy Domine”, “Boris the Spider” and “The Court of the Crimson King” are songs that you MUST play well live to even consider such an idea. Interspersed throughout the covers were songs from their 2016 debut album Monolith of Phobos and their newest album South of Reality. I enjoyed everything I heard that night. First of all, Claypool and Sean Lennon can both sing very well and both comfortable in a high vocal range. The keyboard player also sang backup vocals. No matter if it was Lennon or Claypool taking lead vocals, the background vocals were top-shelf fucking glorious. This aspect was a definite highlight of the show. I was there to see Claypool and he didn’t disappoint whatsoever. However Sean Lennon was a bit of a revelation to me. He is an amazing singer and a much better guitar player than I would have imagined.
The stage banter between Les Claypool and Sean Lennon (or “Shiner” as Les kept referring to him as) was comfortable and cool. After some more of their anecdotes, the drummer breaks into a very familiar drum pattern. I turned to my buddy Bucky and said “They aren’t really gonna play this are they?” The rest of the band started to join in and yeppers , they are playing Tomorrow Never Knows, written by the guitar player’s father. You may have heard of him. I can see off stage as a stage hand is standing there with a bass in his hand. He hands it to an emerging shadow and out walks Mr. Geddy Fucking Lee, possibly still on a contact high from the joint smoking he walked through earlier. Now I am watching Sean Lennon sing his late father’s song with two of the greatest bass players of all time on stage. You cant make this shit up. This kinda stuff never really happens and now it is happening. As they are jamming out the song hard, Les Claypool does one of the coolest things I have ever seen. He takes off his bass and starts kinda bowing to Geddy Lee with a huge smile on his face, gives a little “see ya” nod to the audience and walks off stage, leaving now only Geddy finishing “Tomorrow Never Knows” with the band. For a couple minutes it was actually The Lennon Geddy LEErium. The respect and tribute that Claypool shone upon Geddy by the nod and walking off stage will be a top 5 (Or higher) concert moment for me. I had the utmost respect for Claypool before this night. With one little wave to the crowd and the walk-off, he made my Rock & Roll heart melt. I so wish Tom Morwood was there. He would have cried like a big bearded baby.
The band walked off and came back for an encore. Claypool says something like, “Gotta love when guys like Geddy Van Halen just walk on stage. That’s what still gets my dick erect”. The Delerium then went into their lone encore song, Primus’s “Southbound Pachyderm”. It totally kicked ass with a sensational bass groove. What a show.
What more could you ask for? Did that really just happen? Mind…Blown.