Our Lady Peace launched their ‘Wonderful Future’ Tour at The Royal Theatre in Victoria Monday evening with an ambitious program that included holograms and one actual real-life surprise guest.
The stage had two large LED screens on either side of the drums that looked like booths when the holograms appeared.
The show opened with a hologram character of an artificial intelligence named Molly welcoming concert-goers to the show. Holograms of Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida and bassist Duncan Coutts then appeared on the screens showing a recorded performance of ‘In Repair’. Unfortunately there was no sound at the beginning. The crew at front of house scrambled to source out the problem and were able to figure it out quickly and restarted the video.
A hologram of futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil then appeared. Kurzweil was a major influence for Our Lady Peace’s 2000 album ‘Spiritual Machines’ and the band’s latest album ‘Spiritual Machines 2’ that the tour is promoting. At times it was a bit hard to hear what Kurzweil was saying during his various appearances between parts of the show.
Our Lady Peace split the concert into two parts with an intermission in between. The first set was surprisingly short, only lasting about 7 or 8 songs.
The audience in the Royal Theatre didn’t stand up for a song until near the end of the first set when ‘Innocent’ was performed. Heads were bobbing throughout the show, so clearly people were enjoying the concert, but only one person on the main floor remained standing for the entire show. Kudos to that woman in row S. I don’t know if everyone else just had a case of the Mondays or if it’s just Victoria audiences always being lazy at a seated venue.
It didn’t help that the Ray Kurzweil and AI hologram conversations drained the momentum of the show at times despite being an interesting concept with some intriguing predictions for our future. Row S standing fan could be heard telling her partner it was “killing the vibe.”
During ‘All My Friends,’ the final song before the intermission, a hologram of former Our Lady Peace guitarist Mike Turner performed beside Maida. Halfway through the song the real Mike Turner made a surprise appearance on stage to play guitar. The audience didn’t really clue in until Maida announced his presence. That’s probably because lighting was dim when Turner arrived on stage. He would later rejoin the band for the final two songs of the encore and even had a brief interaction with his own hologram when it was accidentally shown during the finale ‘Starseed’.
The second set opened with a hologram of Sarah Slean performing her version of ‘Julia’. Later on, one last hologram of Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova would appear to perform her part of ‘Stop Making Stupid People Famous’. Nadya’s voice was a bit low in the mix with some backup vocals overpowering her.
The audience finally stood up again when the band closed out the set with ‘Clumsy’. Then they sat down again during the break before the encore when the holograms of an AI named Cassandra and Ray Kurzweil reappeared. Then they stood back up when the band returned to perform ‘4am’, ‘Naveed’ and ‘Starseed’.
With this being the very first show of the tour incorporating technology that the band had very little time to test or rehearse with, there were clearly some kinks that need to be ironed out. Despite some awkward moments and fans not rocking out nearly as much as they should have, the show was still an entertaining one. The new music from ‘Spiritual Machines 2’ blended in well in the set with their classic songs.
The tour continues in Nanaimo at The Port Theatre Tuesday.