Dan Mangan took over Studio 40 at CBC Vancouver for a special unveiling of Oh Fortune, broadcast live on CBC Radio 3. Hosted by R3 announcer Lisa Christiansen, they started by requesting no applause between songs, and Dan explained that he wasn't going to be talking, just going to go straight through the album, with all the transitions between songs intact.
Joined by his usual cohorts, Kenton Loewen on drums, Johnny Wah on bass and Gord Grdina on guitar, they were also had keys and a section of strings, horns and woodwinds to round out the sound. Starting off with the awesomely-named "About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All", they immediately made use of the awesome expanded instrument section, with a song that made me want to learn to waltz. "Post-War Blues" is a song I had heard live before and loved, but after hearing it on the album -- and especially last night -- it has quickly one of my favourite Mangan songs, driving to an explosive and emotional climax.
The rest of the set was a range of emotions from melancholy "If I Am Dead" to a little more more upbeat with the title track, "Oh Fortune" and "Daffodil", which despite still being emotional, still had Dan's sense of humour with at least one pun in the lyrics. On the surface, the album sounds very different from Nice, Nice, Very Nice, but is still very distinctively "Dan Mangan".
As the album drew to a close, they ended with the question-only song, "Jeopardy", and then the audience finally got to show their appreciation. There was a bit of banter, and Dan tossed some (very un-aerodynamic) t-shirts into the crowd, but they weren't done yet, as he played a few older ones. The ending of "Sold" has most people clapping along, and he brought the whole evening to a close, unsurprisingly, with "Robots", coming out into the crowd for everyone to sing along to the end.
It was a fantastic show, and as a person that always listens to albums front to back, it was an amazing experience to see pulled off live. Even though I have had the opportunity to see Dan Mangan live several times now, he never fails to wow me with his live performances.
And if you missed it, don't worry; it will soon be rebroadcast on the CBC as well as put out as a podcast soon enough.
About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All; How Darwinian; Post-War Blues; If I Am Dead; Daffodil; Starts With Them, Ends With Us; Oh Fortune; Leaves, Trees, Forest; Rows Of Houses; Regarding Death and Dying; Jeopardy; Sold; Some People; Robots.