It has been a busy weekend for me. My mother and I were guests at the Stars on Ice Show in Toronto on Friday night which was outstanding. On Saturday, my daughter Caroline took me out for a birthday dinner and to see a concert by her favourite band. My problem is that I know she has two favourote bands: Great Big Sea and Barenaked Ladies and because I couldn’t remember which one it was I referred to the show as either the Great Big Naked Ladies or the Bare Naked Sea…in any event…turns out it was Barenaked Ladies – a new and revamped version – kind of like Stars on Ice; also new and re-vamped this year.

Let’s go through all the things that the two shows shared in common: Both shows were in hockey arenas. Both featured OUTSTANDING Canadian talent. Both shows had lots of pink-ish lighting. Both sets of performers seemed to have practiced a lot. Both casts featured an adorable, personable and yet follicly-challenged man (Kurt in SOI and Tyler in BNL). Both shows featured solo performances which were a great way for everyone else to take a break. Both shows had their fair share of audience members talking, standing up and sitting down all over the place during the performance. Honestly, does no one know how to hold on til the end for a pee break any longer? Two people, one sorta thuggy looking guy and his moll, insisted on arriving to their seats and disturbing me during the final number in the first half of the SOI show…Madonna for heaven’s sake was the thread tying the number together…is there nothing sacred any longer?? Just know it caused me to have to unleash my very best “Meryl Streep as the disapproving Nun in Doubt” glare at said offenders.

When it was all said and done though, both shows had very happy fans (myself included) leaving the rink at the end of the evening.

So where do they differ? In some very key areas:

First of all at the beginning of the BNL show there was a guy dressed in black playing the tambourine – just some random dude – and then after a bit he was gone. I am pretty sure in the SOI experience, we didn’t misplace any performers. SOI was full of interesting choreography AND music but BNL’s choreography was restricted to some of the musicians jumping up and down. As with the misguided concept of “leggings as pants”, said “choreography” doesn’t really count. BNL had roadies come out and re-tool everything for the guys after the opening act and SOI only had a zamboni.

There didn’t appear to be any real chance of falling during the solos for BNL which of course reduced the number of possible bruises/injuries for the guys. I am thinking that from my vantage point on the outside: music looks like more fun to do in performance and skating looks like more fun to watch.

The biggest difference? The sequin count.

A spilt decision on 2 great shows.

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