Tuesday August 17th, 2010 is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Not in any way associated to food, instead it was all about music, stories and looking back on life through the eyes of an amazing song writer. Originally I had planned on writing about The Speakeasy on Granville street where I had been previously and had some great food. This time however it didn’t live up to the memories I had. That’s all I will say as I still really enjoy The Speakeasy and may revisit it soon for a “second chance”.
Fran Healy, for those of you who may not know, is the lead singer and songwriter for the Scottish band Travis. Travis rose to fame in the mid to late 90’s alongside other UK bands like Oasis, Blur and Radiohead with hits like Why Does It Always Rain On Me and Writing To Reach You from their second studio album titled The Man Who. Their music was a big part of my life back then and helped me through some tough times, as it does to this day.
I have seen Travis 3 times in Vancouver so when I heard Fran Healy was doing a solo tour I knew I had to be there. It was the first time Lyndsey and I had been out, just the two of us, since we brought our daughter home from the hospital. We walked across the street to the Vogue Theater after finishing our drinks and got in line for the show. The Vogue is an old theater with traditional seating but for this show it was general admission and we grabbed 2 seats about 6 rows back right in the center aisle, very nice.
When Fran came on stage the first song he performed was 20, a song about growing up and leaving your teen years to become an adult. He performed it without a microphone or amp, just his guitar and his voice, it was stunningly good. He asked the crowd if they liked it which they did and he proceeded to play the entire 2 hour set that way. How many artists that have sold millions of albums can you go see in an intimate setting like that? Not many. He played a lot of Travis songs and told a story about how almost every song was written. Where he was, what he was doing, who he was with. What an amazing story-teller. He also played a lot of new songs from his new solo album, Wreckorder. The new songs sounded great and I can’t wait for October when the new album will be released. There’s one song on the album that has Paul McCartney (PAUL MCCARTNEY!!!!!) playing bass, the actual bass he played for most of the Beatles records. There’s a duet with Neko Case from the New Pornographers that he played solo for us. All told this was the best live show I’ve ever seen, period.
The best part of the show was actually after Fran had finished playing. He stayed on stage and signed things for anyone who had something to sign. Lyndsey and I went up with a tour poster I had “borrowed” from the mens room earlier….we told him about Hayley and how his music had helped get us through 3 months in the hospital with her. He asked a few questions about how she was doing and really seemed touched that his music had been a source of strength for us. He signed the poster for Hayley and we both shook his hand and headed for home. As we walked down the alley behind the Vogue to where we were parked we were both in shock. Had this really happened? What a great night.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently who writes a music blog called More Than A Feeling (the link is on my home page). We were talking about what makes “good” music. Everyone’s idea of what makes music good is very different but it usually comes down to what they were listening to at important or meaningful moments in their life. For me the music of Fran Healy finds itself firmly entrenched in almost every major event of my adult life. From divorce to finding new love, the birth of my daughter and the stress of her being in the NICU for 3 months. Music is a powerful tool.
I hope that somehow he gets a chance to read this some day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes in the power of music, actually I know I’m not. Thank you Fran for a wonderful show, an unforgettable night and most of all for writing the soundtrack to my family’s journey.
Website – http://www.franhealy.com/
Twitter – http://twitter.com/franhealy