July 17th @ Free Times Café

I don’t know if we’re in the 9th wave and I’m eligible for my 4th shot or if I’m eligible for my 12th shot as we enter the 6th wave, and I don’t know that it matters anymore. At the same time however, like it or not, the world is opening up and we are starting to move around as we have not been doing for a long time. And that means cars and trains and boats and planes.

Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity – I certainly wouldn’t say the joy – of taking a few trips on planes. I know there’s been a lot written about how horrible the whole airline experience is and I am certainly not going to suggest otherwise. On a good day your flight or flights may only be delayed an hour or two or three. Still, we really don’t have much choice when we want to get from point A to point B and then from point B back to point A.

Speaking of ABBA (and while I don’t want to call attention to myself, I think that was probably the best segue I’ve ever written) that incredibly (and to me inexplicably) successful band from Sweden, they have adopted a new way of touring and reaching out to those many people who still want to see them without actually having to leave their homes, wherever their homes are located.

The folks in ABBA have created a set of virtual avatars of the four of them that go from city to city (however it is that avatars travel) and perform their hits with a live band in front of a live audience. That’s right, the fans are in person, the other musicians are in person, but the members of ABBA – the reason people are coming to the shows – are present only as avatars (and in the interests of accuracy, because I would hate to be inaccurate, these avatars are referred to as, wait for it, ABBAtars or as I think spellcheck more accurately put it – abattoirs).

I want to assure all of our fans, which represents .000000001% of those who have ever bought an ABBA album or single, we will never resort to any sort of virtual trickery for our live performances (and more about our next live performance very shortly in this missive). There are a number of reasons why we have taken this incredibly principled stand; first, of course, is our deep respect for those people who come to see the 10 or maybe 9 or sometimes 8 or occasionally 7 and very rarely 6 of us, live and in person. And that’s really the only reason that matters – our profound gratitude to those who want to see our shows.

In the interest of completeness however, I should probably acknowledge a couple other reasons why we have not gone the virtual route. One of those reasons is that most of us actually live in Toronto so it’s not really a big deal for us to rouse ourselves, put on some clothes, get our instruments and head out the Free Times Café (at College just west of Spadina) where we have our monthly gigs. The other reason is that, apparently, this whole virtual avatar/ABBAtar/abattoir thing costs massive amounts of money, and we just don’t have massive amounts of money. And given the fact that we don’t charge anything for our shows we aren’t likely to gather any massive amounts of money in the near future or frankly in any future one might imagine.

All of this is to say when you come to our show, which this month will be Sunday July 17th at aforementioned Free Times Café, we will all be there, in the flesh, on the stage and spilling off the stage. The show starts at 8pm but come early and have some of the food and drink that the Free Times is known for. And in honour of the creation of the International Criminal Court, which happened on July 17, 1998, there will be no cover.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. ABBA did do a song called “The Piper” which did not include bagpipes so one point (and it’s the only point I’ll give them) to ABBA.

July 17th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Lonely Loch nan Euan
Wagon Wheel
A Summer Song
Them Dance Hall Girls
Sucks To Be Me
Try A Little Tenderness
Please Don’t Bury Me
Ruby Tuesday
The Wanderer
Butterfly Blues
One After 909
Lucky Enough
Home For A Rest
Glenora Ferry
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Stronger Beer
New Joan Of Arc
Man Of Constant Sorrow
Invitation To The Blues
Drifting Away
Book Of Love
Wild And Blue
Bull Mountain Bridge
Two Of Us
New Speedway Boogie
That’ll Be The Day
Bang Bang