This week, it's the new Mike McGuire Podcast!
- Why I got back into the radio game
- A real life pain in my ass
- A public groping session at a local pub
- Special Guest: ANDRE-PHILLIPE GAGNON
CLICK HERE FOR THIS WEEK'S PODCAST!
Quick: name 3 famous voice impersonators!
If you managed to eek out anyone other than Rich Little or to a far lesser extent Jimmy Fallon, you're beating me. Then there is André-Phillipe Gagnon. The guy you have to describe to your friends as "the 'We Are The World' or 'Pink Panther Saxaphone' guy". For those that remember but don't remember, allow me to re-introduce you to him.
I was about 4 or 5 when I first heard of André-Phillipe Gagnon. My relatives had the TV on the french CBC channel and everybody seemed to be brimming with excitement. That was back when families would actually huddle around the television at a scheduled time for what was then known as "a happening".
Suddenly, there was a man on screen making the audience on TV, as well as the one in my aunt's living room roar with applause. André-Phillipe Gagnon managed to redfine the era where stand-up comedy was still cementing itself as THE form of entertainment, by mimicking EVERY voice in the legendary USA for AFRICA group of singers and celebrities.
Dubbed an "overnight success", Gagnon would rise to international stardom after an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Soon, he would be selling out arena shows, and even picked up a regular spot in Vegas, where he spent a decade performing.
The first time I saw André-Phillipe live was about 20 years ago. Now, with his "One Man Hit Parade" tour boasting a roster of over 400 impressions, I was a little surprised to hear many of the same voices I did when I was a kid. Still, after all these years, many people I talked to in the audience said it was their first time at one of his concerts, which may be part of the secret to his longevity - always attracting new audience members.
The show that tours today is very well-rehearsed, which is no doubt is a result of the Vegas stints. The difference between Gagnon and other performers who have done Vegas runs is while the show is polished and truthfully hasn't changed THAT much over all these years, his infectious energy and sincere scatter-brain antics take you on a mile-a-minute ride of ups and downs which still give it a fresh feel.
Fans of André-Phillipe's old show will notice that the days of the quick costume changes and many props have come and gone. There is one site gag involving a prop I won't spoil for those about to have the tour visit them, is expertly executed and has a great payoff.
Now, instead of props and costumes, "APG" as he's known to the crew and his fan club, uses 4 HD video panels which are expertly choreographed and move about the stage with the help of stagehands. The screens definitely aid in the presentation, especially for those acts known to have a lot of stage effects.
Easily the most impressive piece of technology is what I was assured is a very REAL "A-PAD" app, which turns the big screens into an i-Pod emulator, complete with audience member coming on stage and picking the songs at random.
Props or no props, it all comes down to what you're paying to see - a vocal impersonator. While the first part of the show is dedicated to reviewing the origins of rock and pop music, once Gagnon moved away from the 50's to the 80's, those of us in the crowd who could appreciate his impression of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis numbered in the tens.
Still, like his very show, many of the voices André-Phillipe chooses to perform as are timeless. Standouts are Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and he seems to love picking on poor Joe Cocker. His Gordon Lightfoot will make you misty-eyed, while his Barry White may very well impregnate you by the time he's finished. The show-stealer for this humble reviewer has to be his Ray Charles. I've always been a fan of Ray, even before Jamie Foxx made it cool to say that again, and André-Phillipe could likely sell-out a tour doing that impression alone.
Keeping with the times, he has integrated the occasional current-day chart topper, but most of the audience he's playing to stopped caring about new music around the year 2005 anyway. The standards are also there, including Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and a Frank Sinatra that can't be beat.
André-Phillipe Gagnon is a show everyone should at least see once. He truly is a heritage artist, and since he runs a clean show, is a fun night out for even the most easily offended - like the lady sitting behind me that night who still left with a smile on her face.
Venue: Winspear Centre, Edmonton AB
Ticket Price: $41.50-$61.50
Price I paid: $0.00 w/Media Pass
Is it worth paying to see? Yes.
COMMENTS OVERHEARD LEAVING THE THEATRE:
"I can't believe that, what a vocal range!"
Grown man in what I'm guessing his 50's-60's trying to imitate APG's Mick Jagger/Michael Jackson Moves
"Do you think that iPod thing was real?"
- Iconic performer - A True Canadian Overnight Success that has lasted decades
- Still puts as much energy and excitement into his show as he did decades ago
- Affordable ticket price, and opening standup comic makes for an intermission free feature presentation
- SOME of the material is becoming dated and may need to be cut loose.
- Not everyone in the crowd appreciates that APG studied more concert tapes than studio recordings - if you're lucky enough to have heard may of his "live" inspirations, they're bang-on.
- "We Are The World" seems to have been retired. Luckily, a certain jungle-cat inspired performance remains intact :)
Last week, you may have heard the story about retailers receiving complaints about playing Christmas Music too early.
Surely, I thought this was an isolated incident, and that even though local retailers were also reporting receiving complaints, I hardly considered this to be a real thing.
Last weekend, as I was demonstrating in the intro to this past Monday's episode of "Mike on a Monday" featuring Crystal Shawanda, I decided to take care of some warmer weather and drier conditions here in Edmonton to hang up my lights.
Yeah, I'm that guy on your block - every year getting closer and closer to full out Clark Griswolding my little casa. I didn't have a lot of great Christmases growing up, so now that I have my own little home and my own life, I choose to maximize my holiday productivity.
Proud of my newest additions to the holiday spirit, I got a terrible feeling in my stomach. I realized that if I turned these things on too soon, I may actually be OFFENDING someone.
How? All I did was turn on some lights. I didn't put a Nativity OR a Santa up (yet), so I know it couldn't be that... maybe I'm just overthinking it.
Still, after looking at my little lit-up house once, I decided to leave the lights off for most of the week, I did the unthinkable, and last night, after a massive snowfall made the display even more awesome-looking, I plugged them in and shared the picture with my friends.
The great thing about MY friends is that for the mostpart, we all think the same... or so I thought. Somehow the idea of turning on Christmas (or the more PC "holiday") lights has become correlated with DISRESPECTING REMEMBRANCE DAY.
To quote a very famous sailor and spinach proponent... "That's alls I can stands, I can't stands no more!"
Luckily, my friend and I are cool enough that we hash it out and it's done. That's the power of friendship, and what's lacking in a lot of relationships these days... that's another conversation for another time.
Let's get back to this whole "turning on your Christmas lights is disrepsectful to the troops thing.
My Grandfather FOUGHT in WWII. To this day, his name hangs proudly in the church in my hometown of Arnprior, ON. Over my years on the radio here in Edmonton, I personally became very connected with members of our military. Not to namedrop, but the day I spent with my friend George Canyon as he toured a local military base, and the night I spent following the troops as they came home from Afghanistan are just two of my fondest memories of a list that goes much longer than that.
Further, as far as the military goes, the only people I respect equally (and to be honest, maybe even just a little bit more), are the families of these soldiers. Women, men, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, parents, children... all who while they may not even agree or understand why their loved ones have chosen to face their own mortality in the name of our country, love them just the same, and want them back home more than anything.
Today, in a very quiet ceremony, I watched as officers, public servants, EMT's and families stood together in the name of those killed in Afghanistan. It was heartbreaking to see families come to lay crosses together in the name of someone they had lost in just one conflict. Today isn't a day about proving "who can out-remember who". Today is about one word: Respect.
Here's the brass tacks. If the holiday season pisses you off, without apologizing for my own choice in celebrating, I am sorry. We all have our annoyances, and that's the way it is. At the same time, using something as sacred as Remembrance Day to propogate your dislike or enjoyment of something is an insult to those who die with our flag on their arms, and to those here at home who miss them every day and night.
I will however, respect your opinion. The fact that we can freely express ourselves and our opinions is what truly makes this a great land. Let's not confuse that with exploiting those who make the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to do so.
Lest we forget.
I get it. It's not new anymore. In fact, it's borderline unoriginal and completely uninteresting. Once again, Mike McGuire is going to go on and on for weeks, nay, MONTHS, about how he's once again going to do a long distance run for charity.
I don't get it - with all this running, shouldn't he weigh like 9 pounds now? Wouldn't he at least have gotten faster? Didn't he like almost die doing this once?
My friends... the fact of the matter is, if I were to break down all my races, I can only count 2 or 3 of them where I didn't have some kind of issue or challenge during the training period.
So that begs the question: Am I crazy? Yes, but not because I choose to run. I am crazy because I choose to live in a world where excuses are not an option. While it's a nice cliche to emblazen in large text on some cotton/poly blend t-shirt, it's even more impressive when you actually adopt it as a way of life.
It's true, when I run the Vancouver Marathon on May 5 2013, it won't be my first time. My last run in Vancouver was the full, but it was under much different circumstances.
Just days after the 42.2 KM run, I was to undergo a procedure on my heart. Truthfully, I wasn't as trained for the event as I should have been. My heart was still acting up, I hadn't cut enough weight off, and I was simply not what I would have considered completely ready.
So why did I do it? The answer is simple: I wanted to say I had run a full marathon with "all the original parts". I wanted to say that I was able to play the hand dealt to me, and that I did the best I could given the circumstances.
I had to take it slow, but I finished under the time limit (barely lol), and achieved a goal. I knew I was going to be one of the last ones in, but it didn't matter. I knew my mission, and I worked as hard as I could to make it a reality.
This year, I'll be going in with some of the best training out there. My friends and former coaches/running mates will be leading me and my team all the way to Vancouver, once again in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
My heart is a-okay, I'm eating better, sleeping more, and with the help of my new buddy, former WCW Champion DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE, I've even started a Yoga program HE invented to help me with my performance.
So... now for the reason I brought you here... to see if this is a goal you've been wanting to accomplish. Running isn't for everybody and I get that... but one thing to consider is that if it was THAT easy, everybody would be doing it.
I've chosen to once again run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because frankly, they deliver the goods. The amount of training they provide for the small amount of money they ask you to raise for their cause is incredible. The best part is, they are one of the WORLD's leading charities as far as having the LOWEST overhead costs, so that means they aren't spending dollars raised on stupid things.
Not only do you get to do something amazing, not only do you get the chance to challenge yourself and improve your own life, but you are literally helping SAVE LIVES of people with blood cancers, or extend care and research for those currently diagnosed and fighting their own battles.
On Tuesday November 13, I'll be at the Edmonton Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Office (#208-10240 124 St), at 5:30pm with at least one of my coaches, and am willing to answer ANY questions about what it's like to train with Team in Training.
If you'd like any more information, or are on the fence about signing up, contact me anytime by using the new "Contact Mike" page.
It's the most over-used line I have, but it's true: IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU!!!
This is one of the only times I'm ever going to be this serious, so let's just get it out of the way right now...
August 23rd, 2012. I’ll forever remember that day as the day I realized what the truth is.
The last two months of my life have taught me a lot about people, and more importantly, given me a chance to re-examine my own life. Through it all, the shock and hurt of losing something I loved due to no apparent wrongdoing, all the way to finding out there is a world outside of what my career tells me I need to do… the one fact that got me through it all was the fact that I never compromised my integrity.
Truth is a funny thing. It’s the one thing we all say we want out of life, but at the same time, probably tops the list of what upsets us the most when we find out one person’s truth isn’t the same as our own.
Let me give you an example of what I'm trying to talk about. Without going into details, I recently found myself at an impasse. I could have followed the examples I've been given and make up some b-s story without ever actually giving a reason for my decision, or I could tell the truth. I was making a decision that would not only affect my life, but the lives of some people around me. I had a choice to make… an and I chose to be completely honest with why I made my decision.
To avoid beating a dead horse, let's face the fact that there are many who will take the b-s route. I guess it works for them– they get what they want, and they don’t really have to be accountable. When we ask ourselves “what’s wrong with the world today?” the simple matter is, too many of us are afraid to tell the truth.
Why wouldn’t we be? The truth sucks. People HATE the truth, because frankly, the truth is emotionless.
However, how the truth affects us all… that’s a different story all together.
The truth is about courage. The truth is about respect. The truth, as cheesy as it sounds, sets you free.
I can’t always guarantee I’ll tell you “everything”, because frankly, who wants to hear “everything”?
As sure as I write these words, I can guarantee you that whatever I do tell you, will be the truth.