Jon Batiste and Stay Human

Andrea and I have been getting out to see a little more live music over this winter and it just keeps getting better. Last night really blew me away.

I happened to notice a listing that Jon Batiste would be playing at Koerner Hall and knowing our friends Marilyn and Michael are big New Orleans jazz fans I thought it might be fun to go. Michael is from New Orleans and is really into music, plus they’re a fun couple to hang out with. It turned out they already had tickets, no surprise there. It slipped my mind until we saw them this past Thursday at our spin class at which point it was only a couple of days before the show. Much to my surprise there were still a few good seats available so I bought a pair and our Saturday evening plans came together.

We met for dinner at the Museum Tavern, right across the road from the concert hall. And then it was show time. They had seats front and center, we had ours up on the balcony where we usually go. And then the music started. We’d never seen them before and didn’t really know what to expect other than what we saw on YouTube. If I’d seen this #SocialMusic clip I might have known a little more about what was ahead. It’s worth watching if you want to feel good today 😉

A Sazerac, on ice


Before I forget, Andrea ordered a New Orleans classic: the Sazerac (Michael reminded us that it even features in an episode of Treme). The Museum Tavern gets full marks for presentation plus having a great menu.

The percussionist came on stage and took one drum from his kit to the front of the stage. And he played and played every piece of that drum. A couple of minutes later the rest of the band came on stage and it wasn’t long before they had the audience participating. First it was just by getting us to clap along.

Jon Batiste on the melodica

Then they all walked up to the front of the stage, sat down and got intimate with the audience. You can see Michael and Marilyn in the second row… it had to have felt like having them in their living room! we had a great view of it from our vantage point up above.

Up close and personal


When they got up they got the entire theater on their feet. And then this happened…

Get up Stand up
Exit stage right
On a chair, in the audience

They slowly made their way off stage and into the audience, playing the whole time. Jon walked into the audience and got up on someone’s chair (they were all empty after all, everyone was standing!).

From there the band split up (they had wireless microphones on). The percussionist and Jon went quietly up to the first balcony while the sax and tuba players drew everyone’s attention with their playing. And then the melodica and tambourine came in from the corner of the balcony. The tuba re-entered from another corner and so it went for the next 10 or 15 minutes. There was a constant flash of smartphones as people recorded the moment. And there it was… #SocialMusic.

They made their way back to the stage and wrapped up the set. With everyone still on their feet, wanting more. So when they came back out for their encore they turned it around and invited the audience up to join them. Brilliant.

Join in (Marilyn is there, hiding in the shadows a little)

Koerner Hall likes to use their lobby space too, after Stay Human were finished we walked out to find a local band playing. There’s a great view from up above… I’ll wrap this up with a shot from there.

Oh… I had been at the Toronto International Bike Show earlier in the day and I had proper camera gear with. I could have (and would have loved to) photographed this in exquisite detail. Instead I just used my iPhone when I wasn’t clapping or dancing. Fits right in with the #SocialMusic theme.


p.s. It feels good to write a personal blog entry again. This was a very fun evening, perhaps I just need to get out and do more things like this 🙂

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