The Damn Truth Rocked Out Quebec's First Drive-in Concert
Updated: Aug 4
For the last six months practically every concert and tour has been canceled due to the COVID 19 virus. In that time living room performances from so many artists have sort of been the best we could get, or else we put on a concert DVD. However nothing can ever replace the actual true live experience. All that changed last night as Montreal became the host for Quebec's first-ever drive-in concert that took place at the Royalmount Drive-In. It featured local rockersThe Damn Truth in conjunction with Evenko. It was also a part of what was supposed to be the 3-day Osheaga festival that was also canceled due to the COVID 19 virus. It might not have been 3 days but, just like a sporting event, it was a doubleheader as the band played one set at 6: 30 PM and a second later on at 9: 30 PM.
Classic rock from Led Zeppelin, The Who, Rolling Stones and others blared out from the speakers as cars drove in, and directed to specific parking spots creating social distance. As people got ready they ere soaking up the vibe of how good it felt to actually be attending a rock concert, since so many have wondered about when it might ever happen. As White Rabbit played members of The Damn Truth walked on stage and just like that rock n roll was alive and well in concert.
The Damn Truth came out with anticipated energy that both they and those in attendance have been missing. Lead vocalist Lee-la Baum wore brown cowboy boots and Prince inspired three lens sunglasses while playing guitar. Later on she would don a top hat and tambourine à la Stevie Nicks style at the same time being the original Lee-la is. The adulation of performing live was so sincere that in between the first few songs she couldn't stop telling Montreal how much she loved them for making this happen. Guitarist Tom Shemerr and bassist PY Letellier were playing their hearts out while running around the stage and bouncing off the drum riser from their side spots. All the while drummer Dave Traina was pounding away with his drum sticks and black hair flailing about.
People at concerts used to hold up a lighter swaying back and forth. Then it became popular to wave your cell phone light. Last night showed us where we are going with drive-in concerts. Lee-la told the audience to have one person get in the driver's seat of the car and blink their high beams to light things up. As people did so it gave one a sense of this could be the new normal.
What was normal was all you'd expect from a rock concert such as headbanging, clap-alongs, hands in the air, and dancing. Lee-la gave a shout-out of thanks to the staff and especially to the roller derby girls who were selling merchandise and snacks. During one song there was the call and response of "Hey! Hey! Hey!" between the band and audience. There were all too brief drum and guitar solos. One thing typical and could not be left out of a Damn Truth show was burning incense which PY swirled about the stage. One highlight was near the end as Tom, PY, and Lee-la all ran off the stage and into the parking lot. Because all cars had distance between them it made this safe. Most importantly this concert was good hard rock n roll music being performed by solid musicians.
The event was just over an hour in length as the band performed a healthy dose of songs such as White Lies, Broken Blues, Get With You, and an emotional cover of U2's Love is Blindness. They even treated us with a new song. Interestingly they sound-checked Alex but it was not played. At the end of Heart is Cold they proved the love they have for their hometown by incorporating a piece of the song Montreal (which should be a staple in every show they ever do). A song with the lyrics of "Montreal chew me up and spit me out your rock n roll." and that's exactly what happened as Montrealers truly knew what it was like to get with The Damn Truth. Since this was the first concert for everyone in quite some time the band showed their generosity by doing an encore of The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter.
The good thing is it actually was a good experience as far as the concept of a drive-in concert was concerned. If this is the future of concerts for the next little while one has to wonder what were the safety protocols like? Upon driving into the Royalmount lot the attendants guided all cars while wearing masks. All food and merchandise roller derby girls wore masks too. Once you are parked each car spot had sufficient social distance
space between each other. Some watched from inside the comfort of their cars while others
set up and sat in lawn chairs in front of their cars. No, you were not allowed to go running to the front of the stage either. Security made sure everyone respected using their parking spot. However you could use the facilities or food truck at the back. Even Tom and Lee-la of The Damn Truth wore masks on stage at one point. This was a rock n roll band showing they truly care for the health of their fans. Which is in stark contrast to some other bands who have recently done shows without any safety protocols applied. At this concert here was even medical staff available if needed. After the concert, an announcement was made that the attendants would direct the cars to the exits on each side of the lot. Experiencing how it was dealt with in such a professional and safe manner I would recommend it and look forward to the next of many concerts to happen this way.
Check out the Royalmount website for all future events and film screenings.
A huge round of Thanks needs to be given to Evenko, Osehaga, The Royal Mount Drive-In, and The Damn Truth for bringing live music back safely, to not just Montreal, but all of Quebec. Thank you. Merci.
Get With You
Pirates and Politicians
Wouldn't Be Lying
Love is Blindness
Full on You
Heart is Cold / Montreal