An Ian Thomas concert is not just a collection of golden oldies and a plug for the new album. Instead it’s a magical evening of comedy, homespun philosophy – and yes the replaying of some golden oldies and a plug for the new album, namely “Little Dreams”. Supported by a tight trio of keyboardist Mark Lalama, bassist Russ Boswell and multi-talented percussionist Jorn Andersen and set amongst the cozy confines of Toronto’s Hugh’s Room, Thomas preceded every song with an anecdote about the song’s origin, some funny but some also philosophical in a Walt Whitman kind of way, courtesy of his dear, departed father.
He set up the six new songs off the “Little Dreams” album in such a way that you were pre-sold on the song even before he sang it! In talking about his Boomers’ track; `To Comfort You’ Thomas described how his former producer Paul Devilliers played the song as part of a sound check for Bette Midler. The Devine Miss M was so taken by the song; she personally called Ian to ask permission to record it. “Told her to fuck off, cracked Thomas. Not really, Midler went on to have a big hit with that track. Thomas sang all his hits, again prefaced by some amusing anecdotes. He said he was not initially impressed that Manfred Mann recorded `The Runner’ until he realized the SOCAN cheques would put his kids through college. `Coming Home`, `Hold On“, “Pilot “ Painted Ladies“, “Right Before Your Eyes“ and the haunting “Goodnight Mrs Calabash“ which he dedicated to yours truly, (and gave Music Express a much-appreciated plug)` took care of the hits.
Hughs Room Toronto, November 4th 2012. Photography by: Ted Van Boort
But just as important were the new songs and the six tracks featured also exhibited a warmth and sophistication that only comes with time and experience (pick of the bunch; Little Dreams and “Stash Some Time Away“ And then there were the two comedy tracks; “Middle Aged Man“ – the misadventures of middle aged men wearing Speedos, set to “Girl From Ipanema“ and his tongue-in-cheek sea shanty “Hi Diddley“ that would have Great Big Sea pissing in their beer! A truly wonderful performance by an immensely talented and humorous individual.