After whetting our appetite with a performance during the Harvest Picnic festival in August, we were excited to learn that Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies would be playing at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, ON, during a weekend that we already planned to be in town. With our tickets purchased and in hand, we arrived at this impressive facility in great anticipation of what awaited us once Doyle took to the stage. What followed was a highly energetic performance that spanned two 70-minute sets, plus two encores and an impromptu solo closing song from Doyle to send the crowd home.
We remain constantly amazed at how Alan Doyle seemingly refuses to age gracefully (in a good way). His onstage presence is reminiscent of the famous “Energizer Bunny” – an artist who exudes an unbelievable energy level that never slows down, never misses a beat, and is fed constantly by the raucous live crowds that flock in droves to his shows. And once again, Doyle did not disappoint! With his announcement that he would be playing his new material, some Great Big Sea songs, and some traditional Newfoundland shanties, the crowd was already abuzz, ready to cheer and holler all night as Doyle whipped the packed house into a Kitchen Party frenzy.
It is all too easy to focus on the well-known and well-received classic Great Big Sea hits that Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies played on this night. However, we would hate to ignore the solo material that has been released over the last few years, and how Doyle continues to carve his musical path whilst always remaining true to his Newfoundland roots. The radio-friendly tunes such as “So Let’s Go” and “The Night Loves Us” represent the popular up-tempo style perfected by this band, but we have to give props to the way that Doyle and the Gypsies can really slow things down with the touching “Laying Down to Perish” and their collective harmonies during “I Can’t Dance Without You.” “Testify” is always a pleasure to hear and see live – and we were very amused by the references to how Doyle was responsible for helping out some little known Australian actor to make the big time with “that” movie and a two-bit gig on an episode of “Republic of Doyle.” A great cover version of the John Mellencamp hit “Paper and Fire” was a welcome addition to the show, and the reference to a well-known Paul Simon song during the lively “1-2-3-4” always incites appreciation from the crowd. And kudos to the ensemble known as The Beautiful Gypsies – talented musicians that are not only able to match the tempo of the “Energizer Bunny” all night long, but have the prowess to push Doyle’s limits even further.
Bringing their high energy set to a close, Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Gypsies sent the receptive and highly animated crowd home. If this is what a true Kitchen Party is all about, Team GDW eagerly await the opportunity to attend many more. For anybody who knows nothing about Canadian music, and wants to be entertained by a highly energetic and talented collective of musicians, Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies are certainly a strongly recommended place to start such a journey.
Alan Doyle – great show, great entertainment, and we hope to see you again soon.