Tommy Emmanuel at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City

Tommy Emmanuel at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City

Tommy Emmanuel: What a talent!

The guitar gods must have been repeatedly somersaulting for joy when this guy entered the world for he is nothing short of incredible.

“He’s the best guitarist on earth” – Eric Clapton

“He is one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever seen” – Chet Atkins

The show at Quebec City’s Palais Montcalm started just after 8pm on Saturday 13, May with special guest Andy McKee playing a 45-minute opening set.

He received a well-deserved standing ovation for it. And a pretty lengthy one at that.

Never before had I seen the warm-up guy (and I’m doing him a disservice by calling McKee that) get a standing ovation before the main event.

The Palais was packed, with all the balconies full, and after a short break the man they’d all come to see took to the stage.

Three guitars, all of them used at various, recurring intervals, and numerous fingerpicking playing styles mesmerized all of us. Mesmerized is the right description. There’s no other word for it. I’ve never, repeat NEVER, seen or heard anything like this.

Kentucky bluegrass, rock, classical, jazz manouche, rockabilly, and more. It was all there in nearly two hours of this acoustic masterclass.

Sometimes singing, sometimes ‘just’ playing, we were royally entertained.

At times, Emmanuel became a complete band, using his guitar and microphone to create other, accompanying sounds including percussion instruments and fiddles.

That he cannot read or write music and had had no formal training makes Emmanuel’s performances all the more astonishing.

Warm and engaging, the Australian took to the microphone to impart his wisdom from time to time in between tracks from musicals, a marvellous Beatles medley, and some self-penned work of his own.

Andy McKee reappeared for the show’s finale with the two of them playing together to their (and the audience’s) obvious delight.

If you’re in the habit of compiling a bucket list, you might wish to seriously consider adding going to see a Tommy Emmanuel show to it.


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Categories: Arts & Culture, Reviews

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He owns a translation company, an English bookstore, and the publishing company responsible for LifeinQuebec.com and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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