Along with the Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace has firmly established themselves as one of the premier modern-rock outfits of Canada. In their 11-year career (during which only one personnel change has occurred), OLP earned legions of fans world-wide, and several of their releases have sold in the millions. Currently supporting their 6th studio release, Healthy In Paranoid Times, the band graced the stage of St. Louis' Pageant for their first visit to our city in about three years.
Starting out their 70-minute set with the new song "Picture," the band wasted no time in attempting to win over the "old-school" fans by then busting out with the song that put them on the musical map back in 1994, "Starseed." As well as “Starseed” was performed, it felt premature to perform such a big hit early on; almost as if it needed to be in its usual later-in-the-set position to obtain the fullest kick-ass effect.
Regardless, the set continued on with a more recent hit, the anthem-like "Innocent," which had most of the audience joining in on its catchy, hard-not-to-sing-along "We are, we are all innocent" chorus. A few songs later was another recent hit, "Somewhere Out There,” a love-lost-but-not-forgotten ballad that most of us can relate to in some way.
About half-way through the set, Our Lady Peace's fearless lead singer, Raine Maida (who looked quite dapper wearing a derby hat), exclaimed "This isn't a dinner party, people, it's a rock concert!" This got some of the mostly-seated crowd off their butts into a more concert-appropriate standing mode.
Shortly thereafter, the band dazzled us with two of their best new songs in a row--"Boy," and "Will The Future Blame Us"--both reminiscent of Joshua Tree-era U2 and aptly demonstrated lead guitarist Steve Mazur's superb skills. One of the band's biggest hits, "Superman," followed and closed out the set in a strong and memorable manner.
A five-song mini-set encore included a mostly audience-sung, "4 AM" (Maida had his mic in the air throughout most of it) and the title track off of their debut disc, the powerfully hypnotic "Naveed," in which Maida sung a line from fellow-Canadian Neil Young's classic "Old Man."
Opening the show was the up-and-coming act, Augustana, who happened to have semi-local roots (before becoming California transplants, they were all once students at Illinois' Greenville College, about 45 minutes outside of St. Louis). What we heard sounded quite tasty--they are one of the many new California bands reinterpreting guitar-based Brit-pop. They are scheduled to be the opening act for the Switchfoot tour later this year, and will headline their own smaller-sized tour in early 2006. Augustana are definitely a band worth keeping an eye (and ear) on.