LIVE: Alan Doyle & the Beautiful Beautiful Band @ The Egg, 11/13/18
Review by Mark Alexander Hudson
Alan Doyle effectively transformed The Egg’s Swyer Theatre into a cozy & intimate Newfoundland pub on a chilly evening in Albany earlier this month. The burly Canadian and his Beautiful Beautiful Band gave a rousing performance that went down a storm with the enthusiastic audience. Truth to tell, this seemed like a partisan crowd, who sang lustily along with each selection, so Doyle and his bandmates would likely have won them over just by showing up, but they did far more than that.
Doyle has an amiable & approachable stage presence, honed by his many years fronting the Canadian folk-rock outfit Great Big Sea (imagine a kind of Fairport Convention, eh?). That band is now officially “retired,” but Doyle is going strong as a triple threat – actor, solo artist and author. And many of his songs are both conversational and autobiographical, reflected in his easy rapport and amusing introductions.
An early highlight was the heartfelt “Somewhere in a Song,” a tribute to his parents and growing up with a musical heritage in the small fishing village of Petty Harbour. “You were either a fisherman or a minstrel,” he said, “and I was a minstrel.”
“Don’t worry” he winked, “If you weren’t expecting that, there are plenty of songs about pirates and whiskey to follow.”
And indeed there was.
The concert was a 50/50 mixture of solo material and Great Big Sea favorites, with a Slade cover thrown in for good measure. The styles ranged from nostalgic ballads to rip roaring sea chanteys, jigs and reels, combining Canadian, Celtic and Appalachian influences, all capably handled by his excellent band, featuring a frontline of Cory Tetford on guitar and the dynamic Kendel Carson on fiddle. The rhythm section consisted of Todd Lumley on keys and accordion, Shehab Illyas on bass, and fellow Great Big Sea alum Kris MacFarlane driving the beat.
Opening act was fellow Canadian Whitney Rose, who played a cool and confident set of retro country with a rockabilly flavor. Backed by just upright bass and guitar, and dressed in leather jacket, hot pants and cowboy boots, she looked like a ’60s Grand Ole Opry diva reimagined by Roger Vadim.
Rose joined Doyle in his encore on a sultry version of “The Glory of Love.” “I hope she remembers us when she’s a star,” he cracked.
The evening was brought to a close fittingly with another intimate moment. The musicians left the stage to Doyle alone, who sang a moving “Dream of Home” acappella. He sent the satisfied crowd off into the night doing just that.
ALAN DOYLE SET LIST
(GBS = Great Big Sea)
Come on Come Out
Captain Kidd (GBS)
Now or Never
When I’m Up (GBS)
Somewhere in a Song
Sea of No Cares (GBS)
Wave Over Wave (GBS)
The Old Black Rum (GBS)
So Let’s Go
Run Run Away (Slade)
Glory of Love (with Whitney Rose) (Patti Page)
Ordinary Day (GBS)
Dream of Home