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THE TEA PARTY LIVE AT THE COMMODORE BALLROOM

THE TEA PARTY LIVE AT THE COMMODORE BALLROOM

With guests Pigeon Park

December 9th & 10th, 2014

Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows’ incredible musical talents were demonstrated completely during this long awaited performance in Vancouver, B.C. The three artists from Windsor Ontario were back with progressive rock music that exceeded new boundaries of imagination. They all looked ready to Rock the Commodore. Jeff Martin’s sleek anchor goatee enhanced the front man’s mysterious stage presence from the early years and the Jim Morrison look he was commonly compared to have.

Reuniting in 2011 since the last album and tour back in 2004, they played several festivals in Canada and then headed to Australia and released a live album in 2012 before ‘Ocean At The End’ was recorded.

The intimate feel of the Commodore with it’s great acoustics enhanced their exotic instruments to create that Tea Party trip. The journey of 10 years since the last studio album with the new ‘The Ocean At The End’ album’s top tracks was why everyone was there. Two nights of The Tea Party, also a Live album in the making at Vancouver’s famous Commodore Ballroom. The venue was at capacity as the band arrived onto the smoky stage and the Party was in full swing.

The opener ‘The L.O.C.’- (Line of Control) from the new album was a perfect opener. Jeff Martin strumming his guitar, Stuart adding a subtle base riff and then Jeff Burrows powerful percussion exploded. Martin’s vocals then draws you in for the journey which floated through each tempo change. This song is mastered to achieve one’s attention.
The Live show was further enhanced with the new album cover’s illustration as the backdrop in an atmosphere kept constant in mysterious darker lighting and the use of smoke. The Commodore’s floating dance floor magnified the bass’s effects. Stuart’s rhythms with the synthesizers when on the keys resonated throughout the Ballroom.

Then 1995’s ‘The Bazaar’ brought out the old Tea Party with this rock hit. A favorite from their highly acclaimed ‘The Edges Of Twilight’ album. Tea Party fans loved this song. Martin encourages them during many of their older hits to sing along with him as he would gesture and say ‘come on, you know the words.’ The night would have three songs from this, the third of nine studio albums between 1991 and 2004.

Jeff Martin (Guitar) & Jeff Burrows (Drums)
Jeff Martin (Guitar) & Jeff Burrows (Drums)

The set continued with ‘Black Sea’ from the new album. Jeff Martin shows he is engulfed with emotion as he is playing his guitar with his left hand, no fret action and making gestures with his right and then with both hands gets out his expressions. The music and lyrics seem to flow endlessly and just as it had slowed with a sudden intensity, brought on by Jeff burrows amazing technical percussion, they all burst into a trio of tight playing musicians. Stuart bending backwards with his bass looking like he is in his zone. Jeff Martin and Stuart position themselves close with Jeff Burrows for ‘Black Sea’s’ powerful finale. Burrows’ brilliant drums and percussion is mesmerizing.

Continuing with great Tea Party hits ‘Psychopomp‘, ‘Fire In The Head’ and 2001’s ‘Lullaby’ before Jeff Martin’s solo on his Oud. More songs from the new album, ‘The 11th Hour’, Water’s on Fire’ with exotic instruments coming out and Martin plays the Sarod and Goblet drums for his many talents are astonishing to say the least.

‘Save Me’ continues the list of classic song s from 1993’s ‘Splendors of Solis’ . Martin uses the bow with grace to create more excitement to enhance the mood. It’s leading into the Christmas holiday and Burrows leads into a brief rendition of ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ during this performance. The song is a compilation of ‘Messenger’, Led Zep’s ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Save Me’
[quote]Jeff Martin prompts the Commodore’s guests to be prepared to be taken on a trip.[/quote]

Introducing the new album’s title track ‘The Ocean At The End’ Jeff Martin prompts the Commodore’s guests to be prepared to be taken on a trip. “This is the time to take those mushrooms and acid” he encourages as he slowly starts into the new song.

The last song before the encores is 1997‘s ‘Temptation’ The live performance takes the song into ‘Transmission’ and back into Temptation’. It awakens all the senses and when it is over the band thanks the audience and leaves the stage.

‘Heaven Coming Down’ with celebratory licks for Hendrix with ‘All Along The Watchtower’ are played during the 1st encore with Jeff Martin getting the audience to cheer and scream as loud as they can for the LIVE recording. . “We are never going to get home tonight” Martin exclaims as the second encore begins. Martin must have been feeling in the Christmas spirit as he briefly played some more holiday music for the second encore leading into ‘Winter Solstice’ with Irving Berlin‘s ‘White Christmas’ . It was an amazing show on Tuesday Dec. 9th with one more to end their Canadian Tour on Wednesday the 10th.

The night started with local artists Pigeon Park. Pigeon Park has had a wild year playing at The Big Music Festival in Kitchener Ontario opening for Aerosmith and Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators last summer. Finishing 2014 opening for The Tea Party on the western leg of the Canadian Tour from Winnipeg on to Vancouver for their hometown shows is a testament of the bands popularity. Pigeon Park Rocks!

‘The Ocean at The End’ is a great new album continuing the legacy of the Tea Party and to a new generation of fans. Watching them together you feel their power and synchronicity. They are back and are having fun creating new music. All three of them produced their new album. It is collectively their masterpiece.

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5 thoughts on “THE TEA PARTY LIVE AT THE COMMODORE BALLROOM

  1. Mary Rekman

    Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

    Somewhere in your 6th paragraph, you started referring to someone named “Scott”…are we to presume that you messed up and actually meant “Stuart”? I believe that Mr. Chatwood deserves the respect of getting his name right. Don’t you agree?

    1. Darryl Spreen

      Thanks Mary – The mistake has been corrected, no disrespect was intended. The gang at TME may have had too much rum and egg nog this holiday season! All the best to you for 2015!

      1. Mary Rekman

        Thanks for taking the time to rectify the name mishap. My opinion of your publication has definitely risen. That holiday “spirit” will get you every time…lol. Cheers to you & yours, Darryl and thanks to Paul for an otherwise terrific review!

      2. Paul Fitzgerald

        Hi Mary

        Wow, yes a mistake but not intended. No disrespect at all. I am baffled myself at how it happened. Both names start with an S and end with a T. Auto-correct maybe? Thanks for pointing it out. Have a fantastic New Year! Thanks Darryl for correcting. Cheers!

  2. Ria Timmermans

    awesome review! Love this band . Have all their albums saw them only once in 2002 vancouver which was a super great show . Won tickets to go see them again but couldn’t make it. Apparently I missed a super good show. oh well next.time when they comenback to the frozen north. Thanks for the awesome write up.

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