My room at the Capitol in Quebec City was fine enough, but somehow I couldn’t manage a good night’s sleep after Thursday night’s performance. Curious and somewhat startling here and there, a procession of perfectly timed floor creaks and radiator cracks, sharp wall pops as the heat would come on just when the rattle in my head was slowing, late, late night traffic, delivery trucks beeping in reverse, and an all-nighter going on down the hall, might have had something to do with the Thursday night bed of nails.  By 4am I was certain every lamp, curtain pulley, coat hanger and crumb of furniture in the suite was conspiring with the Fates to sabotage the homecoming concert the coming day—just one of those nights where I couldn’t dive any deeper than a plank of driftwood bobbing on troubled waters. Long night, nonetheless, the morning came soon enough.

On came the new over-sized, black double-knit sock cap, the ray bans, the New Balances, shorts and a few layers of sweaters, and off I went for my usual morning road run. (Best way to beat a bad night’s doze is to meet the sun (or, in this case, gray sky) head on—get things moving a little.) “Nice show, Gino,” heard someone say. “I must have a “G” on my forehead or back,” I thought to myself, as I headed up to Chateau Frontenac.

It was a three-hour ride to Montreal, with two stopovers: one for drinking a cup of Joe, the other for getting rid of it. Got to Montreal and had just enough time to lay my bags down, grab a quick shower and head to sound check.  Standing at the center of that sixty-foot wide stage, a little unsure of where the lip lay, blinded by what seemed like divine rays of near-death white light, brought on by the four giant spotlights coming out of pitch blackness, while running the opening of Crazy Life and Stay with Me, I found it quite easy to get a little wobbly at the knees and say to myself, “Oh dear, I don’t have a thing to wear!”Place des Arts is one of those halls that can cut the legs off of any performer who doesn’t one up it’s imposing grandness with one simple, healing mantra, ”Whatever?” Greatest nerve tonic in the world, that word is.  Sound check ended at 5:30. I was back in my hotel room by 6, just enough to collect my stage stuff. Of course, I couldn’t decide what to wear, so I brought way too many duds. (The stage always brings out the finicky, ambivalent woman in me) When in doubt I leave such life-and-death decisions to the dictates of the mirrors in my dressing room. Black leather it was going to be.“Yo. . .yo. . .me. . .me. . .ah. . .ah. . .ooh. . .ooh. . .“then, “Five minutes to show time,” said the voice over the back stage intercom system. And suddenly, from a floating piece of driftwood I found myself bopping before three thousand people, as if a gunman with two Colt 45’s in each hand, firing shots at my feet, kept saying, “Dance!”  My thanks to the boys in the band: Reinhardt Melz, Damian Erskine, Jay Koder, Greg Goelbel, Patrick Lamb, Nick Moon, Jocelyn Couture, David Grott, and brother Ross, for making the night in  Montreal a night to remember.

21 Comments
  1. Gino,
    Any chance you can make a trek to the southern part of the US in 2011, say Atlanta or Charlotte for example, where I saw you first in 1978 when you opened the Brother to Brother tour there?
    Be well and thanks for continuing to inspire your fans!!

  2. Everytime I read about a performance I kick my self for not following my gut to just buy the darn tickets and go! Who cares what the spouse thinks right? I would have given anything to have been in Montreal to see this performance. I’m sure it was more magnificant than what has been written. Gino, you outdo yourself with every performance.
    I do have to confess though that I was in Vegas seeing Garth Brooks the week before. He announced his show before you announced yours. You can bet I would have made the trip to Montreal if it hadn’t have been for Garth. A great show by the way. You should see it if you have the opportunity when your in Vegas for your next concert. I’m eagerly waiting for the announcement for your next show in Vegas. Such a decadent place but I love it. Just a hop skip and a jump from Phoenix. Although, a show in Phoenix would be outstanding!

  3. “Whatever? Greatest nerve tonic in the world that is.” HA. May I borrow that one to get by? Thank you so much for continuing to share your experiences with your fans. After far too many years off from writing music and playing the piano, you have inspired me to begin again.

  4. Amazing show….My 4th one…..

  5. Even though I’ve been to many Gino concerts throughout the years, I was not in attendance at this particular show. Actually, I’ve never seen a show in Montreal. It was, however, brilliant to hear Gino’s words and thoughts while in anticipation and basking at night’s end in his home town. I’ve been a fan and luckily, a friend, throughout the years and I am awaiting the next musical and personal encounter with Gino and Ross.
    Love you guys!

  6. Gino – I bet it was great! By chance, I was in Montreal this summer for a Cirque opening of “Totem.” It was an amazing show but I confess that as I walked the streets back to my room that evening, Gino Vanelli and your haunting reference to Montreal came to mind… and just a few weeks ago I was in New Orleans and, again, Gino came to mind. This time it was your lyrical “Mardi Gras” reference to “Louisiana is a song I sing…me oh my, I don’t know what to do but love you…” Well, just a quick note that you have touch many lives and bring joyful moments. I discovered you as a teenager back in Louisiana and used to listen to your…uh, albums… with a very good looking girl because we had Gino in common! 😉 But even now sitting in Chicago three decades later, and having most of your CDs, I was inspired to track you down. I love Chicago but miss my Louisiana, especially as your lyrics came to me. You’re so greatly talented and timeless, from the beat and sound of Powerful People to the airy, surreal and elegant Black & Blue. Thanks for always giving us your best and making us feel a part of the Vanelli family! God bless you all.

  7. Outside of Montreal’s Wilfred Pelletier Theater,there was electricity in the air.

    Hours before the concert, people were wandering the hallways of places des arts looking for tickets to the sold out performance.

    Most had seen Gino Vanelli before. There was adolation — jubilation — accompanying his return. Back to the city where he grew up. Back to the people who had helped send him to dizzying success.

    I traveled two hours from Burlington, Vermont. Not a hometowner — just a huge Gino fan. I had seen him play in the Montreal Forum 30 years back, in the heady days of “I Just Wanna Stop” and the string of hits that followed. I reviewed the concert for an entertainment weekly, just prior to becoming the regular reviewer for the Burlington Free Press — where my reviews have now appeared regularly for 30 years.

    People often ask me to name “the best concert I’ve ever gone to.” I won’t isolate a single show because it makes no sense to do it. But I will tell you this: the Gino Vanelli concert October 29 in Montreal stands among the most elite. It was staggering.

    His band was crisp, and Vannelli’s voice was brilliant. The classics had been slightly re-arranged, but not to any detriment. The new arrangements were part of the process leading up to the release of “The Best of Gino Vanelli and Beyond” last year. I have played the CD dozens of times since the concert 7 weeks ago. Buy the CD or download the tracks — just get this extraordinary new collection of Gino’s work. You will be very pleased.

    And, by all means: do not miss an opportunity to see Gino Vanelli if he is playing anywhere even remotely close to where you live. My fiance saw him play in a small club holding 200 – 300 in Portland, Oregon, where Gino has resided for many years. The show was just 10 days before I saw him in Montreal. My guess is it was likely a “dress rehearsal” type gig for the tour, since he’s using Portland musicians in his band.

    In Montreal, it was a crowd closer to the early days.
    No difference. His voice, his compositional genius, his commanding stage presence: all are in very, very high form.

    For those wondering “can he still move the way he used to?” Absolutely. So, people: you gotta move. Because Gino Vanelli is back — and more amazing than ever.

  8. So pleased you’re doing concerts again; I saw you in 1977; and really hope to see you some time in the new millennium. Love “Best and Beyond” and am really looking forward to purchasing “Canto”. Whether seeing you on video; or in writing here; it is a pleasure that you always approach everything with thoughtfulness and novelty. I saw somewhere in the maze of the the two websites that you wrote something about running in to Sting somewhere on the road. I would love to see that here in your Blog. I would think that Sting would appreciate what a gifted composer you are; and , he’s probably envious of your voice. BTW–I would love it if you wrote some more classical; I need to download “Pauper in Paradise” as well!!

  9. This was a joy to read as I kick back on this 1st day/evening of 2011. Though its been awhile to spend a few moments on the net, it’s always nice to click your website in hope to read more words from yourself. The last concert my husband and I, along with 2 other family members, saw you was in New Orleans 09/2009 being 7 months pregnant. It was a wonderful weekend as we all celebrated my better half’s birthday with the sound of your voice. As I read this page of your night in Montreal, and came across your thoughts and opening songs of Crazy Life & Stay with Me, just put a huge smile upon me because as we left New Orleans the next day we had the pleasure to see you and your wife with a few band members at the airport not even aware we all were going to be on the same plane back to our home vicinity, Dallas-Tx., I wanted to question you in our short conversation, “Will you ever sing- Stay with Me?” perhaps if you have a show in Dallas, ever again, or New Orleans as we love to return. But, the shyness within me did not ask the question and just respected your privacy while awaiting to board.. My husband and I were just astounded that this birthday weekend would end up sharing the same ride back, let alone having a question about a song being left unsaid. We just told ourselves, we will just wait to see what you will come up with for the opening the next time we have the opportunity to see you perform again; after our newborn, Joseph..Until next time, we wait patiently for upcoming tours and an autograph of your book, we wish you well for 2011..Sincerely, Joe & Melissa. Perhaps you may blog about your thoughts where/what your thoughts were about other song titles: Stay with Me, etc…or do we wait for another book?

  10. Gino, been a fan a long time. Thanks for writing the piece above as it reveals much about what a musical artist goes though when on the road, etc. In a literary sense, it is a great ‘slice of life.’ I hope all is well for you. Keep singing and performing. It is important. Sincerely, JFJ

  11. Gino, I love the way you write. I adore the way you sing.. And I love that your imagination is written exactly the way you think it. This is an angle from a performer few people get from the artist’s own lips and kudos to you; you don’t need someone else’s words to describe your pre-concert experience. Those 4am rises are a killer, somehow there is a catalyst to keep you going (for me it’s that first cup of coffee). Black leather is like the little black dress, when in doubt, keep a few handy 🙂 and by the way, my eldest sister shares your birth date. Much love to you, I am in awe of your talent. KIsses from Australia..

  12. First saw you when you only had 2 keyboard players, a drummer and a percussionist– with cords and crown amps strewn all over the stage , but plenty of speakers. I was blown away at the sound! That was in Columbia,SC. Then saw you again with the full deal in “79′ at the Omni in Atlanta. Please come somewhere closer to us southeastern folks soon. You and Larry Carlton have been my musical heros for over 35 years!

  13. Gino! Thank you for your kind and genuine person. I feel you will always stay with that virtue of sincerity. I do look forward to your next show in Vegas on a Friday or Saturday. My sabbath would permit a fireside audience and I know manyyyyyy would support this condition. Thank you for your faith as you are coming to know how your blessed talent is influencing many. God’s speed in your righteous endeavors! Looking forward to that experience when I feel like the little boy at Christmas who just opened the greatest gift anyone could want.

  14. I thought The Gist Of The Gemini was the best album ever. If you don’t have it get it…

  15. Mr. Vannelli,
    I’ve been a fan for almost 30 yrs. Other than a chance to see you at a “Peaches Record and Tapes” event in Pittsburgh that never materialized, I’ve waited for an opportunity to see you in concert. I understand that the music business is complex and touring requires underwriters. Having said that, you have a responsibility to share your God-given talents with as many people as possible in the time allotted to you. Like the recent overwhelming response given to your Canadian compatriates “Rush”, I think you (and your sponsors) would be surprised by the US reaction to a full tour. Loved the recent remix album and wish you well!

  16. Hi Gino ! I have been watching your videos of ” I just
    wanna stop”, ” Livin inside myself”, and “One
    night with you”…over and over and OMGAA 🙂
    You remind me of a big handsome cupid angel
    singer back in the good ol days. Your songs
    have made me cry and given me thrills lol
    Thank U so much for sharing your talents, and
    your heart and soul to the world, you have made
    this world a better place. Many Blessings OXOXO

  17. Gino saw you in the late 80 in New York Beacon theater one thing I notice that day that records, CD, and iPod do not due any justice to your voice I found you live so much better than any other singer out there are great but your voice sounded celestial like a voice of energy that passed thru you

    pls come to to NY so i can hear your wonderful voice again it has been a long time

    thank you

  18. I’m sitting at my desk steering at an document that appeared at Ginov.com . A man whom I have considered a close friend for over 30 years as is giving no less than three concerts in one week. Since my older brother introduced Gino for me when I was 15, he has always been there. My whole family and all my other friends know Gino. My three children has grown up listening to Gino… wherever and whenever. Gino has been participating all the small and great occasions of our lives.
    ”Once in a lifetime” a friend of my said when I told him about the cruise. This will cost me and my wife 10.000 USD, but there no doubt in my mind. Some might say that it is a long way to go from Norway to USA for a concert. Maybe? But I already know what I will be getting for Christmas this year. Best present ever!
    I saw Gino in Oslo for many years ago. And will never forget what is the best concert of my life. After that day I have been regularly checking for the possibility to see Gino again. He has been to Europe now and then, but very often in secret. I missed the second concert in Oslo and one in Sweden. I have decided to go to Holland, which seem to have become Gino’s home in Europa. But now we will go to Fort Lauderdale in Desember!
    I have just bought “Best & Beyond” – pure heart medicine!

  19. Gino, I have my husband to thank for introducing me to your amazing talents when we were lovestruck 19 year olds (yes worked like a charm) and to this day your extraordinary compositions, voice,lyrics, melodies & harmonies engage me on all levels that connect to my soul- emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. You are a gift to world and I feel truly blessed & privileged to know of your talent.

    I was so excited to see another Aussie fan writing on your blog – you have to come down under and do some shows – perhaps the Melbourne Jazz Festival (it’s an annual event). Gino I hope you know you are really loved here.

    Seeing you perform live is absolutely on my ‘things I must do before I get too old’ list – hehe it’s actually true! The world is a much smaller place these days… so I know it will happen even if I have to go to Canada or the States; shall be an emotional moment in time for certain.

    Sincerely,
    Tracey

  20. I was just wondering, what was the largest venue you performed in?

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