Those Francophone boys I’ve fallen in love with these past many months may have been heavily distracting me, but I’m tellin’ ya, people, when it comes to downright ability to take me right out at the knees, The Doyle Himself is still unparalleled. I still prefer him in the company of Great Big Sea, just because the classic style of GBS music–i.e., the irrepressible, roar-at-the-top-of-your-lungs trad–is more my thing than his solo style.
But that said, Alan Doyle by himself is still pretty damned swoonable, and we did have great fun at the Tractor last night. Dara and I got up by the stage, right in front of Alan’s mike, along with fellow fangirls Jaime and Sara. I’d never been to a show at the Tractor Tavern before, and it was an amazing switch from what I’m used to these days, with Great Big Sea playing the Moore.
Alan’s opening act was this young man named Dustin Bentall, and he was good, but I was more actively impressed by Kendall Carson, the fiddle player who first played with him and then with Alan’s full band. She was GREAT.
Then of course Alan came out and we all went nuts. I’m still getting to know the material on his new album, so except when he jumped over to do a few Great Big Sea songs, I was mostly singing along on what choruses I could pick up. Until he got to the part of the show when he was taking Twitter requests. Of which there were three.
I, being, well, me, asked him for “Trois Navires de Ble” (because yeah, spot the girl in this audience who’s been passionately absorbing French Canadian music the last many months, wut?) or “alternately, anything by Elvis” (because I’ve been dying for years to hear Alan sing something by him). Dara, being Dara, promptly decided to ALSO ask for “anything by Elvis”, and got Jaime and Sara to do so too, just so we could twitterbomb Alan in the hopes of getting him to make a joke about it.
We didn’t expect him to actually take us up on it. He made a wry crack about how “there was some collusion” in the audience, at which point the four of us all shrieked happily.
And then this happened. And I died DED OF SWOON. This is Lynda Elstad’s video of the full song.
And THIS is Dara’s version, which is much grainier and isn’t the full song, but DOES have cuts to me for reaction shots of OMG OMG OMG OMG. Note how I keep biting my hand. This is because I’m trying desperately not to squeal at the top of my lungs, or maybe trying to keep from dropping dead RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT, because O. M. G., Internets, Alan Doyle sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” because we asked him to.
Sara and Jaime shoved me right up in front of them–I’d been standing behind them up until this point–and kept holding my arms to make sure I wasn’t about to keel over. They and Dara told me after that my eyes were HUGE.
The rest of the show, it was great and all (and I DID quite like Alan’s cover of Russell Crowe’s song “Testify”, which was rockin’), but none of it topped this: being right in front of Alan’s mike as he crooned an Elvis song. And not just any Elvis song–the seminal, most swoonable, most iconic Elvis song ever. And I sang harmony back at him, because good gods how could I not? And my eyes were full of stars.
ETA: And I had to add in a couple other comments about the show as I remembered them, just because for reasons I can’t get into yet aside from this show, THIS WEEK HAS BEEN AWESOME and my brain is quite scattered!
Awesome thing #1: Alan kept having trouble tuning his mandolin, and made a joke about how ‘I LOVE WATCHING PEOPLE TUNE THEIR INSTRUMENTS!’ Dara yelled back at him, “We tune because we care!” And he heard her and agreed, “We tune because we care!”
Awesome thing #2: Alan also kept making charmingly self-deprecating jokes about how as we were the very first show of the very first tour of the Alan Doyle Band, we got to see all the screwups and “the terror in our eyes”, and how in four or five more shows they’d get everything right, but we were getting all the good stuff. Also he kept repeating how “there’s only one first night!” When he joked about wondering “oh God what have I done?”, a guy in the audience yelled back, “Something awesome!” And Alan was all “I feel the love in the room!”
Awesome thing #3: Being that close to Alan meant I got a good look at the guitar strap he was using, a leather one, with his name embroidered on it in green down near where it connected with the neck of his guitar! And it was pretty cool seeing him play mandolin, even if I lamented the lack of his usual bouzouki.
Awesome thing #4: At the end of the show, Alan looked out at us all and said he saw several familiar faces, all of us who’ve loyally come to Great Big Sea shows. (heart) (heart)