Spirit of the West – Commodore Ballroom – April 15, 2016 – Part 3


So, 6 months later…. and prompted by a lovely, inspiring night watching Spirit Unforgettable…. the last large gallery from the second-to-last Spirit of the West show at the Commodore in April. It’s a big one! Again, I was concerned with the idea that these images and moments may be precious to those in them and their family and friends, and so was less critical of how *perfect* each individual shot was, and more about what it expresses. Hopefully they will be enjoyed by many, as many were moved and joyed by the performance that night, the love in the room, the warmth, the support. If you like, you can find Part One of the gallery here, and Part Two here. You can also read the full review with some of these images over at Concert Addicts.

If you aren’t aware of Spirit Unforgettable, it is a documentary featuring a brief history of the band’s furious 32-year career, interspersed with the diagnosis of singer John Mann’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and how he, the band, and his family are coping with it. It was directed by a longtime friend of the band, Pete McCormack, and was an intimate, heartwarming look into the life of the group, at times bleak and at times amusing. It has a number of upcoming screenings, and I encourage you all to see it. I went to its first showing at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and brought my mom along. She had lost her mother to Alzheimer’s a few years back. She used to go to Austria to visit once a year, and with that big gap of time between seeing her, the changes in her condition were very apparent. She enjoys human interest stories, and especially one that she might recognize facets of I figured she would be keen on watching. She did, and despite never having known anything about the band or its music prior to this, she came away with one big blanket statement that basically nailed it: “What a great family they have.” The band, minus Hugh McMillan, were in attendance, along with John Mann’s wife Jill Daum and McCormack. Even though the intended Q&A was curtailed due to a long-running BC Film awards ceremony prior to screening, they managed to get a few words in – when the room wasn’t on its feet in standing ovation, clapping and cheering. I had the bizarre good fortune afterwards of having my walking shortcut across a parking lot from the grocery store to my apartment coincide with Vince Ditrich (and his new kidney!) and Matthew Harder, plus others, on the way to, presumably, their cars, and had a chance to holler a quick thanks to them on a more personal level than in a room full of others.

Many of the people in the film were on stage at times during the show I was at in April, and this event brought that thought forward that I had never completed the last set of photos from the show during a busy whale watching season, but now that that is also winding down for the year, there is a chance to get these up. Have a look, enjoy, and please please share them around to anyone who might like to see them.



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