On Friday June 12 the constantly traveling Fred Eagesmith Show made a stop at the Sarnia Library Auditorium and Cheeky Monkey played a (small) part in making it happen.
The night kicked off at 8PM sharp with a too brief set by Eaglesmith band member Tif Ginn. The singer/multi instrumentalist with a huge voice and commanding stage presence could easily headline her own shows. Hailing from South Texas, her set featured a modern/retro sound and her charming southern accent was perfect for songs like the standout of the set Little White Pills.
Following a short intermission - giving everyone a chance to peruse the extensive merchandise stand, the star of the evening, Fred Eaglesmith sauntered out onto the stage. He kicked off the set with I Like Trains, a song from his 1996 album Drive In Movie and followed with I Pray Now a song from Tinderbox. Tinderbox is one of his most interesting album, full of religious themes and wonderfully produced and a personal favourite.
After the first two songs the show took a left turn as Fred became a combination of a stand up comic and a rock star. He spent a considerable time telling one liners and extended jokes between songs as well as some background about the songs themselves. Much of the comedy was directed at his family, he has a lot of relatives in the area and spent a lot of time during his formative years in Sarnia, where he was a member of a church that forbade sex because it could lead to dancing.
The set featured a range of songs from Fred’s 19 albums, focusing mostly on selections for his older albums. As he explained, audiences tend not to like his new material until it becomes his old material, at which time it becomes beloved. While he did have a set list prepared, Fred did deviate from it occasionally, surprising both the audience and his band. They spend so much time on the road that he needs to teach them now songs on the stage, something he did here is Sarnia, but the band responded to the challenge.
The 2 1/2 hour show ended with Fred’s famous pie auction, a tradition of Fred Eagelsmith’s shows of the past few years. Audience members bring various pies which are auctioned off at some point during the show and the proceeds going to Operation Smile, a charity that provides surgery in third world countries for children born with cleft palates.
Fred was last in Sarnia in May of 2013. He promised to be back so watch for it during the spring/summer of 2017.
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What others had to say… “Saw Fred Eaglesmith at the Sarnia Library Theatre on Friday night, what a great show ! His polished performance had that grit that kept me anticipating the next song, and story ! Anybody who presents the posititive moral value in what is “politically incorrect” ………. is my hero……… way to go Fred !” - Mike Blackmore