A tangible sense of excitement washed over Victoria's Royal Theatre on Wednesday night as the house lights dimmed and the first evocative tones of Q's opening music began to play. This excitement carried over to Q host Jian Ghomeshi's lively opening monologue, which he gave whilst pacing the stage buoyed by the collective energy of a sold out crowd. The monologue read much like a love letter to our town, paying tribute to Victoria's tranquil beauty and its 'wild beating heart', both of which were on full display Wednesday night.
Destined to be broadcast as part of Q's Friday Live series, the show was as fast paced as it was diverse. In the space of two short hours, Ghomeshi conducted interviews with some of our city's most compelling figures, moderated a media panel discussion, and stepped aside for musical performances by musicians Kathryn Calder and Carolyn Mark. In spite of the show's fast pace, Ghomeshi was consummately comfortable on stage, using station breaks (though the show was pre-recorded, the producers chose to remain faithful to its live format) as opportunities to field questions from the audience.
In a show filled with highlights, it was Ghomeshi's talk with artist Robert Bateman which stood out. Bateman, who will celebrate his 83rd birthday on the day the show goes to air, articulated his environmental concerns given the results of last week's provincial election (the election arose as the evening's primary subtext) and offered an interesting twist on an old question: "We talk about what kind of world we are leaving our children, but what kind of children are we leaving our world?"
When the Victoria edition of Q's Friday live goes to air on Friday morning, listeners across Canada and beyond will behold a snapshot of our town's diverse cultural climate. Victoria is indeed beautiful, but more importantly, it is home to world class musicians, athletes, artists and politicians who intend to keep it that way. M