May 15

The Legendary Downchild Blues Band 50th Anniversary Concert @ Massey Hall-Sat.,May 13th,2023

By Alex Lam

lt was showcased as the 50th anniversary concert, but in fact, it was the 54th year that this iconic Blues band has been together. It was an energetic audience for the sold out Saturday night concert to witness one of the most influential Blues bands around.

The crowd was dancing in the aisles, singing to all the songs and shouting out requests during the spirited one hour and fourty-five minute nostalgic trip down memory lane. With 19 albums, accolades from the who’s who and a recent honour of being named “Entertainer of The Year” this year at the Maple Blues Awards, this band isn’t slowing down at all.
Downchild released their 50th Anniversary Live At The Toronto Jazz Festival album, featuring special guests Dan Aykroyd, Paul Shaffer, David Wilcox, Kenny Neal, Gene Taylor and Erja Lyytinen. They also hit the road with The Longest 50th Anniversary Tour Ever! with 73 shows over the past 2 1/2 years, from PEI, all the way to Vancouver Island.

Very special guests 7x Grammy Award winner Daniel Lanois, world renowned Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, opening act and keyboardist Jenie Thai and legendary boogie woogie piano master Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne joining them on stage.

Downchild came to international prominence as the inspiration for Hollywood stars Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi’s hit film, The Blues Brothers. In fact, two Downchild songs, “Shotgun Blues” and “I Got Everything I Need (Almost)” were even covered on The Blues Brothers’ 1978 multi-platinum album Briefcase Full of Blues.

Their big hits: Flip, Flop and Fly and I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost) ended the show and it has the fans bopping their heads, dancing and singing every word of the song. Some of the other highlights were all the special guests joining Downchild on stage; keeping it Canadiana with Natalie MacMaster accompanying Downchild for Mississippi Women, Mississauga Man, their trademark harmonica sound and their infectious blues, boogie woogie get up and dance groove. Fans were seen enjoying the concert with foot tapping and finger snapping right from the start of the show with “Understanding and Affection” to their encore “TV. mama” as it was a nice ending to the concert, Sunday was Mother’s Day.

The band consisted of:Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh on guitar and harmonica, singer Chuck Jackson, who also plays harmonica, tenor sax man Pat Carey, Gary Kendall on bass, drummer Jim Casson and Tyler Yarema on keyboards.

The Legendary Downchild Blues Band Set List:

  1. Understanding and Affection
  2. It’s Been So Long(with Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne)
  3. It’s a Matter of Time
  4. Mr. Confused
  5. Come on In(with Daniel Lanois)
  6. Shoot That Moon(with Daniel Lanois)
  7. Dew Drop Inn
  8. Tell Your Mother
  9. Mississippi Woman, Mississauga Man(with Natalie MacMaster)
  10. Shotgun Blues
  11. Tryin’ to Keep Her 88’s Straight(with Jenie Thai)
  12. (I Got Everything I Need) Almost
  13. Flip Flop and Fly(Big Joe Turner & His Blues Kings cover)
  14. Encore:
  15. TV Mama(Big Joe Turner cover)

We would like to thank Eric Alper, Todd Littlefield and Mima Agozzino, Massey Hall for the invitation to cover Downchild Blues Band.