Sunday, 28 July 2013

Barney Bentall: From on the radio to live in concert

“Bobby drives a pick-up for a corner store,
Four bucks an hour and he’s hoping for more
He’s 28 years old and he still lives at home,
Bobby’s got ideas, but he ain’t alone.
There’s a million Bobbies across this land.”

~from “Something to Live For”, by Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts

The first time I heard Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts, I was pulling up across from Chris Vining’s house to get him to go to Lethbridge. Little did I know a year and a half later I would see the band that belonged to that voice. These five lines stuck out for me, and the band had that great name – the Legendary Hearts.

Barney and Bentall and the
Legendary Hearts' first album
That's the ticket
It was my second year of university and I was hanging out with Shannon Boan, a girl I worked with, and her boyfriend Mike Kant. Walking through CAB (the Central Academic Building) on the University of Alberta campus, I saw a poster. Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts were playing on campus, at the Dinwoodie Lounge in the Students’ Union Building. I was studying with Mike and Shannon one night, and she mentioned she was getting tickets to the concert.

“I love Barney Bentall,” I said.

So she got me a ticket to the concert. It was a night I would never forget – obviously.

Up close and personal
The concert was on a Saturday night, and we all walked there. A couple of Shannon's friends and their boyfriends also joined us. I could not believe how close we could get to the stage. In fact, we were almost right on top of it. When Barney and the band took the stage, I could see the sweat fly off his brow as they got deeper into their set.

The concert was awesome, but they still hadn't played "Something to Live For". What the hell? And they were leaving the stage?

That's when I first learned about encores. All the girls in the group were clapping and screaming, so I followed suit.

It was like magic. Barney and the band came out, and they played "Something to Live For". We were so close that Barney was leaning right up within inches of us. One of Shannon's friends even reached up and touched Barney on the shoulder. I had never seen that before.  It was the perfect end to a great night.

Rockin' the Permafrost
It was my first live concert in a small venue. There really is nothing like live music in an intimate setting. We could see the facial expressions of the musicians, the muscle twitches as they played, the veins popping as they exploded in sound, and we could actually hear the strumming of guitars. Then to actually see someone I know touch the main attraction. It broke some kind of invisible barrier. You know like when an actor on TV talks to the audience.

And to this day, I still have a souvenir. It is a white concert t-shirt for the Rockin’ the Permnafrost Tour. What a great name too, considering they were touring Canada in the middle of winter. In fact, earlier that year, the U of A had to close for a day because it got too cold. It was the first time the university had closed. Not for war, not for influenza, but for the cold. Rockin' the Permafrost indeed.

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