Just over a year after being unceremoniously removed from the Barenaked Ladies after a much-publicized drug arrest, Steven Page certainly seems to be turning a new page in the novel of his life.
Performing at the Sanderson Centre this past Wednesday evening, Page showed the audience that he still had the musical talent that Canada fell in love with during his time with BNL. Accompanying him were the Art of Time Ensemble, one of Canada’s “most innovative and artistically accomplished ensembles”, according to their concertgoers. Aside from Page, Art of Time has performed with high-profile artists such as Sarah Slean, Tom McCamus and Ted Dykstra. With Steven Page as their lead singer for their eleventh season, it may have seemed an awkward combination, especially with Page’s recent controversies, but it was a musically perfect fit. It turned out to be something like a confluence of contemporary and classical genres meeting mainstream new age rock.
Page opened with four songs in a row before announcing a break for himself, at which time two of his fellow musicians on the violin and piano took centre stage. Their duet extended to a 30-minute piece, an unexpectedly long number that left me wondering what happened to Page. It was also distracting to watch Page perform, as he frequently looked down to read off his music sheet, something you don’t see most veteran musicians do. Still, I give him a lot of credit: for only touring with he Art of Time Ensemble for a few months, Page put on an excellent, artistically passionate show. It’s just a shame that more couldn’t have appreciated it For a theatre that seats nearly a thousand guests, only about 200 showed.
Despite critique here and there, Page and the Ensemble delivered an incredible performance. And surely all who attended wouldn’t mind another dose of their musical talent in the near future.