March 18th @ Free Times Café

You may not be aware of this, but 2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism – pretty exciting isn’t it? And this is serious – there’s even a logo – a kind yin-yang thing with a polar bear on one half and a panda on the other (of course). And there’s a hash tag too with a few posts, mostly pictures of pandas (of course). The hashtag, if you’re interested is 2018CCYT. That’s actually a kind of clever hashtag because both Canada and China can lay claim to the first C so that lowered the tension in the room when the idea was first discussed. While I wrote that it was the Canada-China Year of Tourism (and that’s what the government of Canada calls it) if you go to China’s Canadian Embassy webpage it’s the China-Canada Year of Tourism. Everybody’s right (or as the Buffalo Springfield sang so long ago, perhaps everybody’s wrong).

Being well ahead of the curve, I’ve already made my trip to China – it was in 2010 (and I’m going to New Jersey this year so you’ve got a 8 year head start on what the tourist destination for 2026 is going to be – don’t thank me). One evening, while in a small town near the Great Wall (to be clear I’m referring to a small Chinese town which would be a place with the population the size of Vancouver) we were watching the English language broadcast of CCTV – the Chinese national TV network. The anchor was a young well-dressed Chinese man with a lovely English accent. At one point, after an item about disturbing incidents in and around schools in China he introduced an expert to talk about this particular phenomenon. The expert turned out to be an older, bearded, white gentleman who put the particular situation in some sort of context. The anchor then went on to another story about Chinese – US relations and called on an expert for that story – and it was the same guy. And then there was another story about something totally different but the same older, bearded, white guy was the expert for that too.

I know what you’re thinking – “Older, bearded, white guy who talks a lot and thinks he knows everything – sounds like Jonathan” – but it wasn’t me – it was this other guy, honest! And it was weird because you’d think in a country of one and a half billion people (and that’s an awful lot of people) they could have found a few other folks to serve as experts, but apparently, that evening there was only the one.

It’s not that the guy might not have actually known something about all the topics on the news that day – although if he as smart as that you would have thought he’d have come to the U.S. to clean up on Jeopardy – but it’s nice to get different perspectives on things – to hear different voices. And that coincidentally and conveniently, brings me, once again, to the fine folks in Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room.

You see, the Living Room isn’t just a 10 piece band – although we are that – but almost everyone in the band brings tunes for us to play and sings too. This means when you come to see the Living Room (more about that very shortly) you get different voices, different tunes, a whole different experience with each song. Imagine that.

Well actually, you don’t have to imagine that, you can see it happening before your eyes and ears on Sunday, March 18 at the Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina). You might think that seeing a band this large in a venue this intimate would be an expensive proposition, but no it isn’t. In fact, this month, in honour of CCYT, and also because March 18 is the last day to see the pandas at the Toronto Zoo (I’m serious about this – well maybe I’m not serious – but it is really the last day to see the pandas at the zoo) there will be no cover. The show starts at 8 pm and there is lots to choose from on the food and drink side. And in answer to many questions (well one at least) the Free Times is a family friendly venue – and most, but not all, of the members of the band are family friendly too.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. Some folks will have noticed that I said that most everyone in the band gets to sing and bring tunes in – the one person who doesn’t is Terry, our drummer. It’s not that Terry isn’t an incredibly gifted musician, he is, but we hold him responsible for bringing the bagpipes into the band and so we justifiably have concerns about his judgment.

March 18th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Lonely Loch…
5 Days in May
Streams of Whiskey
Down in Belize
Darling Be Home Soon
Dream Lover
Dirty Old Town
Forever and Ever
Black Orpheus
Ashokan Farewell
Excuse Me…
Bang Bang
Home For a Rest
I Wanna Be A Blues Guy
First We Take Manhattan
How Will I Ever Be Simple Again
Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya
Hollow Man
Song for Smallpipes
Only One Who Lives Here
I Mean It…
Bitter Green
Good Riddance
Whiskey Like Wine
Cagoma / Butterfly / Evite
Unchain My Heart
When The Night Hears My Song