On May 29th, 1998 I walked to the Canadian Museum of Nature to see Stephen Fearing. This was in the days before Fearing created Blackie & The Rodeo Kings with his buddies Tom Wilson and Colin Linden and this would mark the only time I saw Stephen Fearing play a solo show (so far).
This would also be the only time (again, so far) that I’ve been to the Museum of Nature for a concert, and that’s too bad. The beautiful and historic building bookends the Parliament buildings at the other end of O’Connor Street and even served as the home to Parliament after the fire of 1916. The venue inside is a proper theatre, a nice, smallish room with great sightlines.
I can’t imagine what they use the room for aside from the concerts that don’t happen there, the room is clearly designed precisely for this sort of thing.
Not much stands out from the show, though I recall it was just Stephen playing by himself to a quiet, folky crowd. The man has solid chops and a baritone voice that is perfect for rootsy music. The one piece that sticks out in my memory after all these years was his instrumental take on the Friendly Giant Theme. I remember he said that the song always got a strong reaction here in Canada but when he played it in the US…crickets.
Almost two decades have gone by since the show and I’m still waiting for another concert to come to the Museum of Nature’s theatre.