Amazingly good concert film
9 September 2003
I started taping this one as a gift for my elderly parents (the kind of vintage C&W Canadiana they enjoy), while doing chores and keeping an ear open for the commercials to edit out. Within minutes it had me captivated. Stompin' Tom is an incredible showman, with fantastic stage presence and a genius for lyrics that rivals Johnny Cash and Tom T. Hall. Funny how one can grow up Canadian and turn such a blind eye (and deaf ear) to such greatness, simply because of his familiarity and (percieved) lack of sophistication. His ballads are literature set to song, and his celebration of things uniquely Canadian are observant, informative and sweet-natured... patriotism as it ought to be.

As a showcase, it's smartly put together by director John Saxton, who later went on to write efficient exploitation flicks like "Happy Birthday To Me" and "Class of 1984". One complaint I've always had about concert films, even classics like "The Last Waltz", is how tiresome it eventually becomes to watch musical stage performance for an entire feature length, especially if it's only one singer. Not only are a few other decent acts inserted (impressive regional talents) to break things up, but a lot of Tom's songs are dramatized, pre-rock video style, with appealing (now retro) footage starring Tom, and some charming animation sequences. Though spanning only one 70s night at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern, one comes away feeling like he's been on a guided tour through another era.
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