Hamilton showed quite the outpouring of love for Jian Ghomeshi when we campaigned back in December 2011 for him to bring Q to the city. Although we didn’t win the bid, Jian said he would make good on his promise and come back this way.
I was excited enough to meet Jian in October when he stopped through on his book tour to promote 1982. What a surprise when he announced he would in fact be bringing Q to Hamilton! As he said in his opening, “We knew that the Hammer would not be denied.”
There was an incredible energy in McIntyre Theatre as Jian took the stage. His introduction, “Well hi there. Happy Friday. And happy Friday live from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada!” was met with explosive applause and cheers. Jian’s opening essay, highlighting the city’s history and acknowledging its burgeoning arts and culture scene, was fantastic and made me even more proud of my hometown. If you haven’t heard it, be sure to listen.
“Like the t-shirt says, ‘You can do anything in Hamilton.’ This city knows what it has and is eager to nurture the buzz.”
Arkells kicked things off with a performance of their song “Coffee,” and they sounded amazing live. As shameful as it is for the tourist behind I Heart Hamilton to admit, I had never seen the band live. Terrible, I know! When I first got out onto the Hamilton music scene, I just narrowly missed the band when they played smaller local shows. By the time I discovered them, they were on the road and selling out bigger venues (although I did catch an acoustic performance by Max Kerman at a fundraiser). Nonetheless, I am so thrilled for the band and am proud to share my hometown and alma mater with them. As Jian put it: “Other cities in Canada would be so lucky to have rock ambassadors like these guys.”
The band closed the show with another solid performance, playing just what I was hoping for, their new Hamilton anthem, “Ticats Are Hummin’.” The song evoked Hamilton pride amongst the audience. A man in front of me started rocking out and singing along to every word. The band even tweaked the lyrics a tad, with Max including mentions to Augusta Street and The Ship. He even took a playful stab at a recent debacle in the city, making reference to the question, “What’s the HSR?”
It was really exciting to witness a live taping of a show I’ve listened to so much. One aspect I loved was getting to see Jian in his routine of the show, in the zone. The show was timed to the second, with no edits, to be aired the following morning. Getting to see him fire off his rapid and rhythmical dialogue, tossing his notes aside as he barreled through, gave me, and I’m sure other audience members as well, a new appreciation for the work he puts into the daily show.
What I also liked seeing was Jian’s innate musicality – watching him bob along to the interlude music between segments (the intro music to the listeners’ feedback and “Letter of the Day” portion, for example) as well as his movements to the musical performances by Arkells and Rita Chiarelli. In fact, we were treated to Jian’s musicianship when he joined Arkells for a song at the end of the show. This took place off the air – a little treat to those of us who were there – but don’t fret, you can watch it here.
Too much happened to recap the whole show, but it was thoroughly entertaining. Guests included world-renowned geneticist (of McMaster!) Hendrik Poinar, playwright Sky Gilbert, and zombie actor John Migliore. Editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator Paul Berton joined in on the Q media panel. It was important to the Q team that they invited Hamilton guests, and I think they did a great job with the variety and even subverting expectations. From a scientist, to zombie expert, to blues singer, all of the segments were so interesting and I learned a lot. It made it all the more rewarding that they were my fellow Hamiltonians doing some amazing things.
When the show wrapped, there was a Q&A session where the audience could ask Jian some questions. There were some very thoughtful questions asked, and much like Jian’s book event I attended, Jian was extremely thoughtful in return with his answers. As a public figure, he is one of the most open and honest I’ve seen. He really takes his time to reflect and formulate his answers and elaborate. This is also what makes him such a brilliant interviewer. I always enjoying hearing him speak – he is also one of those personalities that I feel like I know personally.
I can’t think of a better way to end the month and kick off 2013. Something tells me Hamilton’s relationship with Jian is, as he would say, to be continued…
You can listen to the full podcast and watch the full show on Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
Thank you, Jian and the Q team, for bringing the show to Hamilton!