Tom Cochrane @ PNE Amphitheatre – August 29th 2017

It’s been many years since I have seen a Tom Cochrane show and was really looking forward to it. I tend to forget how classic and good his tunes our. The man just somehow radiates Canadiana. Early on he cracked out “Sinking Like A Sunset,” and brought out special guest Annette Ducharme, who wrote the song, to add her voice on vocals. That was a surprise. I have to say I wasn’t even aware that she wrote the song, but I recall being fond of some of her own music in the 90s and it was a pleasant little addition to an already sizzly show. Cochrane is a brilliant guitarist, and his gravelly voice is unmistakable. To boot, he’s got a pretty killer shadow-boxing softshoe routine when he’s not too busy on the guitar. Cochrane had his original Red Rider bass player along tonight as well, Jeff Jones.

Tom Cochrane - PNE Amphitheatre - Vancouver, BC - August 29, 2017

“I might just play all night – how beautiful is this? How lucky are we to be alive on this night?,” Cochrane asked the crowd to a rise of cheers. His lust for life is strong, and he repeatedly remarked on the beauty of the crowd, the bond of friends, that Vancouver was essentially the birthplace of Red Rider (they played all the bars in town, he stated, before rattling off a list of now-closed clubs in Vancouver) the fondness for his own history and the country we live in. He gave a shout out to the folks in Texas dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey at the time, stating that him and his wife used to live in Texas, “But we never gave up our Canadian citizenship, ever, ever, EVER!” He even appealed to our stubborn hockey-fan sensibilities by remarking on the Vancouver Canucks and how they will rise again. He used this as a segue into “Big Leagues” by telling a story about the late, great Pat Quinn, longtime Canucks player, coach and GM, who had become a good friend right after Cochrane wrote the song and was playing at the games they were invited to. The extended outro to this song got part of the audience to its feet as Cochrane scurried around the stage. I guess protocol at these shows is that the reserved-seating audience is supposed to stay seated for some reason, and a couple folks who stood at their seats were asked by security to sit back down. Cochrane clocked this mid-song and yelled out, “hey, don’t make ’em sit down, man. Get up!” And boom, the whole audience was on its feet, suddenly have way more fun than they were two seconds earlier. “You got the potential to be crazy tonight – I can feel it!,” he yelled.

Tom Cochrane - PNE Amphitheatre - Vancouver, BC - August 29, 2017

He went into “Good Times,” billed as a campfire song. “Canadians don’t take anything for granted, but on the west coast, you can appreciate all four seasons.” Near the end of the set he brought out “No Regrets,” and Ducharme came out to lend her vocal talents to this tune as well. “Don’t forget, you’re Canadian!,” he hollered, before launching into “Life Is A Highway,” surprisingly not as part of the encore. Unsurprisingly though he added a little extra emphasis to the line Vancouver’s Lights.The chest-thrumming intro to the encore hinted at what I, personally, was waiting for all night – “Lunatic Fringe” What a tune! They ended the encore then with “Boy Inside The Man,” and with a couple more flowery comments about how beautiful we all are, they left the stage for the night.

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