Post Concert: Stevie Wonder at the Montreal Jazz Festival

I heard rave reviews last night from the Montreal media when I got home from the concert. Stevie Wonder put on a stellar show and did not disappoint the some 100,000 fans who braved the rain to see him perform.

Alain de Repentigny wrote in La Presse that it was a near-perfect performance. However, he found the last tribute to Michael Jackson, when Stevie and his band lined up at the front of the stage, a bit over the top. But my guess is that he wasn't close enough to to see Mr. Wonder openly weep upon hearing a very young Michael Jackson sing, I Never Can Say Goodbye. It was very moving.(YouTube clip of this moment)

Of course, he played Superstition and my personal favourite, Isn't she lovely, a tribute to his newborn daughter Aisha, who is now 30 years old and accompanying her father on stage. The elation I would have felt...if I'd actually been there to enjoy it.

(If you attended the concert, I would love to hear what your favourite moment was.)

I'm not a Montrealer
My two friends and I were bound and determined to see Stevie Wonder at the start of our evening. However, as the sky darkened over the patio where we were eating, we told ourselves to think positively and just will those clouds away. As we waited for the cheque, it began to rain, at which point we realized that no one had an umbrella.

We soldiered on. At 45 minutes before the start of the show, we made our move towards the concert venue. It was still raining, but luckily one of us had a shawl. The three of us made our way through the crowd with the shawl over head only to find that the single access to the concert was blocks away.

We found a short-cut. One of my friends took the lead and led us through the Beaux Art building on Sherbrooke Street and got us to the venue. But we soon discovered that the crowd was not moving. In addition, it was still raining, and any view we might have had was obscured by a sea of umbrellas. We inched forward until, lo and behold, we saw part of a giant screen.

As we felt the crowd fill in behind us, we made an executive decision--it was time to go. If the best we could do was see Stevie on a large partially obscured screen in the rain, then we would be better off watching the concert on the CBC later in the summer...

I was so disappointed. When I arrived home early, my husband told me that it always rains before the best concerts, and free concerts require perseverance and some skilled weaving through the crowd. This is a skill that native Montrealers have perfected after 30 years of attending free shows at the Jazz Festival. Unfortunately, after living here for only eight years, I'm still just a Montrealer wannabe.

The rain apparently stopped just minutes before the show started.


AKA Mama's TO Friend | July 9, 2009 at 10:48 AM

What a great clip of Stevie's tribute to MJ.

I did not know that they were such close friends -- Stevie was Motown's 13 year old child star when the Jackson 5 auditioned for Barry Gordy. He did not want to audition them because of the hassle (legal, education, etc.) of promoting child stars (he only wanted to promote one). Gladys Knight prevailed, they got their audition and the rest is history.

Mama's TO Friend

Heather | July 20, 2009 at 7:46 AM

I love that clip. I think it's MJ's child voice that makes it so moving. My finest memories of MJ's music was his early Jackson 5 stuff.

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