March 31 2017 – Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of the last TimeGiant show. This article is a recap of the events of April 1 2016. Here we go.
Preface: Of all the articles I have ever written, this one is much more personal than any other, and it feels like an eulogy in some ways. Having one of the best musical nights of your life at the same time as watching something that you dearly love winding down to its last few organic breaths is exhilarating. This article is not written for my general readership in mind, but this is my attempt to capture a moment in time so that Charlie, Pat and Tyrone can remember it with words, photos and videos for the rest of their lives. What they achieved tonight should make them proud and euphoric. For tonight the Horseshoe Tavern was packed with fans, friends and family to witness the last bit of magic known as TimeGiant – this was their final curtain show.
Last night was the apex of all we have ever tried to accomplish at T-Mak World. We started this site as a group of friends that shared a passion for classic rock. Through our journeys we have interviewed and covered easily over 300 bands – from small bar bands with 5 people watching to the biggest of the arena rock legends. One band has stood out for me more than any other during that time, but lets rewind to the beginning of this night.
April 1 2016 started off with the unrivaled David Gilmour who honoured Toronto as one of the only 4 cities he is visiting in North America this tour. Gilmour delivered an emotionally charged set of solo and Pink Floyd material. The significance of David Gilmour should not be lost on this night, for it was Mr. Gilmour that inspired a young Tyrone Buccione to want to form a band. It was Gilmour that inspired dreams of creative creation and a 10 year labor of love to make music connected at the roots with what Gilmour created with Pink Floyd. As fate would have it David Gilmour was in town the exact same night as TimeGiant which is quite a remarkable coincidence. Gilmour has not played Toronto since 2006 exactly 10 years less a week ago, and 12 years before that in 1994. 3 visits to Toronto in 22 years and here he was a few blocks away from the Horseshoe Tavern. Needless to say that show was phenomenal and the trance Gilmour cast on the sold out Air Canada Center was an emotionally charged ride.
Right after Gilmour we witnessed the single best show the Horseshoe Tavern or any bar in the city has ever hosted since we were old enough to enter bars. The occasion was the final show of one of my personal favorite bands of all time. There are simply no words to capture the electricity in the building that night and the collective excitement rivaled that of David Gilmour pounding out Comfortably Numb surrounded by lasers.
TimeGiant revived our faith that “kids” knew what #RealRock meant when we first saw them exactly 4 years and 1 week ago. This is what I wrote in my first review of TimeGiant back then “There were sing alongs, dual guitarists coming to the front of the stage with solo riffs, a shirtless drummer with a Bonzo tattoo, a bassist giving fist bumps to the audience, a double neck guitar, a saxophone, an epic 10 minute progressive classic that could have been off of Rush’s 2112 album, and 4 dudes having fun being rock stars.” I was so impressed that I also wrote “If there is any justice in the world, TimeGiant will be opening up for the Foo Fighters on their next tour!” – well it turns out there is no justice in the world as that dream is gone.
Little did I know that these same guys would be the artists that had created what is now one of my favourite songs of all time (After The Battle Of Mt. Megiddo), or I would have more articles about them on my website than any other band in the planet, and more importantly little did I know that they would become true lifelong friends. Watching my photographer Steve Mallinson get excited about the multi-angle camera videos he wanted to create for the band was captured in time through this – the final ever performance of “Megiddo” – check it out.
Tonight the buzz at The Horseshoe Tavern was clearly evident. The guys gave each other a group hug side stage and spoke some private words and ran onto the stage with an adrenaline rush. The visible early nervousness faded about 5 seconds into the opening song as the band clearly felt the love and admiration. This was not a typical apathetic crowd that stood back from the stage, but flocked as close to their musical heroes and fed them the energy they crave.
The setlist consisted of:
- Need Your Love
- The Real Thing
- Close My Eyes
- I Am The Fire
- Let It Grow
- White Window
- Buyer’s Remorse
- Drum Solo
- Waiting For The Sun
- After The Battle At Mt. Megiddo
- We Become The Night
- Gotta Rock and Roll
- Take it To The Limit
- Hard Lovin’ Woman
- Candy To A Feather
- Stronger Than Before
- Somebody To Love (Queen Cover)
- The Pressure
The show was by far the longest we have ever seen the guys play and in fact was still too short for our tastes. The night featured a continuous barrage of guests who were all friends of the band. The best way to capture all the guests and emotions of the night is to plagiarise Buccione’s Facebook post the day after the show (sorry pal but I could never say it as good as you did) – here it is unedited:
What is rock and roll?
It’s Dan Dwoskin sitting side stage, out of the audience’s sight, smiling profusely then leaning over and twisting knobs on somebody’s guitar pedal during a song just so that it will sound that much cooler.
It’s Jacquie Neville holding a note that you think is the highest tone anybody can reach but then pushes it a few steps higher and completely melts your brain. And your face.
It’s Justin Ross telling me he listened to “White Window” all day after our rehearsal then practiced another six more times on his own, all alone, just so that he could nail the song for us.
It’s Dan Harden producing and recording “Stronger Than Before” and taking the time to learn the guitar parts, plus many more guitar parts, so that he could come on stage, share his amazing energy, and absolutely crush it.
It’s Andrew Berezowsky (Ted Shred) showing us pictures of his hand-written guitar notes for “I Am the Fire” and “Zenith” then showing up for rehearsal and nailing both on the first take.
It’s Ross Hayes Citrullo leaning back during the song he produced and recorded for us and making eye contact with me during the apex of his barn burner of a guitar solo.
It’s Kurt Tweedle calmly and cooly smiling at me, with his guitar close to his chest, during an epic guitar section he is completely nailing like a pro.
It’s Terry Makedon supporting me every step of the way, telling me I’m in his favourite Toronto band then making me PROMISE to buy a ticket to David Gilmour.
It’s John Rodgers flying in from Nova Scotia just to surprise his best buddy Charlie tonight and show him what music is all about. #JeremiahJohnson
It’s every fan that drove to Toronto from all over Ontario to see us and every fan that couldn’t be there but was certainly there in spirit.
It’s Charlie McKittrick playing so hard and so fast, with so much fluid passion during an encore song, that the whole left side of his drum kit explodes and splays out onto the stage like a yard sale.
It’s Patrick Wilken’s on-stage, between-songs calm composure, but subtle facial expression (usually in the form of an eyebrow raise), that inspires you to sing the song he wrote with every energetic intention he meant to give it during its screaming birth.
It’s Ryan Watson’s potent, infectious spirit and relentless drive that pushes you to take the song three steps further and dive off a high riser into a crowd.
It’s my scuba diving, motorcycle riding, plane flying, skydiving, pyrotechnic exploding, Burning Man attending mother, Silvie Bluestone, who insisted she stand up on a bench with a casted broken leg during our whole set. #whenyourmomiscoolerthanyou.
Thank you so much for all the love, from every person near or far, who has supported us throughout these ten years. I felt your energy immensely last night and I wished I could have shared more one on one time with each of you (but I’m sure we will in the near future ;) ). TimeGiant lives on in our hearts and it will always be with me.
Oh, and thanks for catching me and not letting me stage dive onto the floor.
And in the words of Sir Charlie McKittrick:
“And I know now, that there’s nothing I want more. Than for us to grow much Stronger Than Before”
Onwards and Upwards
While it saddens me very deeply that TimeGiant is no more, I cherish the countless videos I have of their performances, their 4 cd’s which are staples of my life’s musical soundtrack, and knowing that Real Rock can be produced in this day and age where people seemed to have lost their love for musical art. Some memorable moments with TimeGiant in random order (the boys will know what they all are) – 1) the private CD release and listening party in my basement for “A Night To Remember”, 2) Mississauga Waterfront Festival where I got to see them on a big stage (as well as my young son’s first rock show), 3) telling McKittrick that I will not stop writing in my articles “The only thing missing in this show is a McKittrick drum solo” until the drum solo became a staple of the show, 4) telling Wilkin that the song he wrote the lyrics to was one of my favorite songs of all time and that I wont stop bugging him until the band plays the song live, 5) somehow earning myself the title of Godfather of the band (greatly honored for that guys), 6) the 2 treks to Niagara to cheer the boys in the ‘battle of the bands’ contest that they clearly should have won, 7) the KISS covering TimeGiant show on Halloween, 8) being totally pissed that I missed them opening up for Jason Bonham because I was out of the country, 9) the rock and roll staircase party night with members of Stone River and One Bad Son, 10) the last show in Hamilton before Ryan Watson left the band, 11) trying to convince the guys that they should continue as a trio because Rush and Triumph were able to, 12) the epic jam on stage with Stone River, 13) that first time we ever saw the band at The Supermarket at CMW instead of The Sheepdogs and Monster Truck and knowing we made the right decision, 14) opening for Druckfarben (what a night of music!), 15) and even watching them at the Drake on a cold snowy Tuesday with only 4 other people in attendance.
The bottom line is that rock is dead. Not the creation of it by masterful musicians, not the love that new generation of musicians have for real rock, not even the artistry and talent of the musicians. What is clearly dead is the commercialization of artistic rock music. Why? Very simple – mass consumerism relies on the lowest common denominator. For corporations to make more profits they need to have a tailored solution that will reach and impact the masses. Humans are leaving the artistic phase and moving into the “Sheep” phase – how many likes did some Kardashian c**t get on her instagram post? How many of your friends see your puckered lips at a rock festival on snapchat? Did the douchebag judge on the tv talent show exploit your lack of talent enough? It is a sad reality but it is one that signifies that artists such as TimeGiant can no longer do what they love and earn a basic living from it (never mind the rock star excesses from the 70’s and 80’s). One should not despair though because really good rock bands are playing in downtown Toronto on any given weekend. Get out there, support the bands and hang out after the show to give them at least a high five and a “well done”. On the other hand there are bands like Monster Truck which are on a tear and on the verge of headlining arena shows so not all is lost.
While this article may very well be my last TimeGiant review, it most certainly NOT the last time that Patrick Wilken, Charlie McKittrick and Tyrone Buccione will be mentioned on T-Mak World. You guys have our lifelong support and encouragement. Thank you Charlie, Pat, and Tyrone (and Ryan who was dearly missed last night) for a lifetime of memories. Much love and respect. – T-Mak – “The Godfather”
PS – There will be a TimeGiant reunion show at some point in the future, maybe my 50th Birthday party, or my son’s 16th birthday event, or simply a private show on a cottage on a warm summer night. I simply refuse to believe that I will never hear some of my favorite songs live again. Sometime, someplace, it WILL happen.
Verdict – No rating can do this one justice. Simply the best rock show held in a bar since the days when happenings like Led Zeppelin playing The Rock Pile in 1969 or Rush at The Gasworks in 1971 were common occurrences in Toronto’s bar scene. The love and emotion TimeGiant put in this one single moment in time has created memories for a lifetime.
Lets raise one last JD shot as the lights go down.