After seemingly peaking at two (beer and bacon) there is now a third to be added to the list of worthwhile Canadian exports: Our Lady Peace. Their continuous production of poignant rock has yet to dominate American airwaves but has created a fervent fan base in Canada. The excitement spilled over national borders into Detroit, as the band was in town Tuesday night for a capacity show at St. Andrew”s Hall. After selling out in ten minutes, disheartened fans were presented with a second chance in the form of an additional 200 tickets released at the door.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Sony/Columbia

At 6 p.m. there was a line 500 people deep. The convoy of OLP fans had wrapped around from the front of the building to the back into the parking lot. At 7:00, the line had grown substantially and now overflowed onto the sidewalk and halfway around the block. Conditions outside were abominable. The temperature was close to absolute zero. Fingers were beginning to lock, muscles began to cramp and there was an audible chattering of teeth it was 7:30, doors were not to open until 8.

By 8:30 the fans were inside and began to defrost within the cozy confines of St. Andrews. Unless a band books your basement there isn”t a more intimate location than St. Andrews. The 1,000-seat venue, a former church, now eerily resembles an elementary school gym. Because of spatial constraints, the stage isn”t well suited for any large scale rock spectacles but this only lends to the strong nuclear bond between fan and artist. It was 9 and the service was about to begin.

Those that planned to enjoy OLP”s bittersweet compositions in peace were in for a change of plans. As soon as the first note rang out, the crowd surged forth and a mosh pit was born. The horde of fans shook off the effects of the cold and by third song, “Superman”s Dead,” the show was in full effect. Raine Maida, OLP”s vocal Picasso, didn”t bother to sing the first verse of the 1998 hit a myriad of voices from the crowd provided a chorus of guest vocals.

Throughout the night, Maida pointed the microphone to the crowd, who was all too eager to have their voice heard as they belted out every note to songs off of each of the bands four albums. Standouts included “Naveed” and the gem “Right Behind You.” As the band ripped through “One Man Army,” Maida perched himself atop a mountain of speakers extending his hand to the fans in the balcony.

Even the band”s more mellow songs such as “Are You Sad” and “Clumsy” turned calm into chaos as quiet verses expanded under the pressure of pounding drums, eventually exploding into sonic tidal waves. The waves were high and the surfers took advantage, riding the crowd throughout the performance.

“Are you ready to give us your souls?,” Maida said. A deafening roar was the response. His face expressed the gamut of emotions between songs and throughout the show painting him as a Shaman-like figure, leading the crowd through a two-hour spiritual journey, exorcising the audience”s inner demons. The band had created a symbiotic relationship in which both band and crowd fed off each other, emitting a continuous stream of rock “n roll electricity.

The band concluded the show with a climactic two-song encore of “4AM” and “Starseed.” Not even a particularly obvious blunder, courteous of Maida in “4AM,” or the noticeable absence of popular single “Thief” could take away from the blissful atmosphere. Drenched in sweat and decorated with bruises, fans stood on the floor after the show ended reveling in the afterglow.

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