Thisbe and the Barkettes
Bring Your Own Bone Tour
At the Ancient Open-Air Theatre
Friday, May 8
They were dancing in the aisles. And that is no metaphor.
By the time Friday’s concert by Thisbe and the Barkettes wrapped up—two hours later than scheduled—there was no Animal left who was lying, sitting, or standing still.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even at the Beasts of Burden concert ten years ago,” said music aficionada and longtime Barkettes fan Miriam Wapiti. “It was overwhelming.”
That feeling was unanimous. And mutual, as well.
The first Park concert of the group’s Bring Your Own Bone tour delivered on its promise both musically and emotionally and as Thisbe said just before the encores began, “We will never forget this feeling. You don’t know what you’ve given us.”
The evening opened with a very short video of highlights of the group’s career, including a few snippets from I Love a Man in a Collar, Rauf Wiedersehen Shepherd’s documentary about the group that opened the 2012 Park Interspecial Film Festival (PIFF).
Then, The Barkettes ascended the stage, not together as expected, but one by one: first, Estelle, then, Lorraine, Carmen and, finally, Mercedes. By this time, the crowd was clamouring for Thisbe. Screaming, howling and banging their own home-made instruments, they kept up a steady call for the singer until suddenly all fell silent. From stage left, they could see just the tip of Thisbe’s nose. Then, after a quick shake, she bounded onto the stage to join her Barkettes.
Wearing a bespoke collar in raspberry, she acknowledged the crowd with a quick shake of the paw before launching into a solo version of Goin’ to the Groomer. Then, the Barkettes joined her for Four Strong Paws, Halcyon Days, Puppy Love, I Will Follow Her, Perrito, Perrito, Sto Spiti Mou/At My House, It’s My Bone and I’ll Chew It If I Want To, and a jazzed-up version of Papa’s Got a Brand New Ball.
But the evening wasn’t just a nostalgic trip through the group’s greatest hits. Rumours that their recent studio work has included new music were confirmed in the second half of the show when they introduced three new songs: You Should Know By Now, Working Dog/Sporting Life, and Again.
Of course, one of the great highlights of the night occurred just before the concert’s end when Noreen joined the group onstage for a rousing rendition of Stuffed Dogs Don’t Shed. Though she’d planned to sing only one song with her idols, the crowd called for encores and Noreen ended up singing her heart out all the way through Mud Season and Paws Across The Water.
One last surprise awaited the audience at the end of the night: after the group’s bows and thanks and encores and final exit, Thisbe returned for one last solo and sang I’ll Never Walk Alone to her adoring fans. When she was done, she had only two words left for the screaming crowd: “With gratitude,” she said.
Thisbe and the Barkettes return tonight to sing at The Wishing Well at 8:00 p.m.