Strangers in the Night was the the best event of 2017! Turning Fairview Pointe-Claire’s parking lot into a gourmet gala extravaganza, fund raiser, social event, and rock concert by the legendary STYX left everyone not wanting it to end and there were comments such as “Can’t wait for next year.” or “Let’s do it again.”
There really is nothing to compare the experience with because there is nothing like it. Founder and director, Larry Day, has truly blessed Pointe Claire residents with a charity gala that gives to three charities, Cure SMA, The Miriam Foundation and the West Island Women’s Shelter. Speaking with Miriam Foundation executive officer, Warren Greenstone, and his team is an eye opener to realize the needs of Autism spectrum disorders. I think it’s said best by their actual name Miriam Home for the Exceptional because these children are exceptional, and I mean that in the best loving and possible way. Greenstone even read a letter from a nine year old girl on stage before STYX that was basically letting people know that she is exceptional and wants to be treated like everyone else. I would encourage you to visit their website and support them or even make a donation… I did.
The social event which was the main gourmet gala was very nicely done. Walking in there was a luxury start with a line of Alfa Romeo cars. This led toward the main tent areas. One was for the main food buffet style. The other was sit down tables and even had some live entertainment from local band, Power Play. After that was the main parking lot area where the STYX concert was going to take place.
In the main buffet tent there was every variety of food available from appetizers, to main meals, desserts, drinks and more. Yes I said, more. Almost anything you could think of was there and the quality overall was just as great as the entire night itself. With so much to try I or anyone would have to pace themselves to keep stomach space for the next food table. Not just burgers or fries there was also a range of world wide delicacies such as Spanish Tapas from Ole Tapas. There were two Asian places right beside each other, the Cambodian style of Street Monkeys and a mix of different adobo from Junior Filipino. One table had an interesting gourmet twist on a Quebec classic with duck poutine. Places such as Les Trois Brasseurs and LaBrosse Micro Brewery were serving up their own selections of beers It was the Hudson location of Chateau Du Lac that left a real good impression to many with their own special apple martini.
Some special shout- outs would have to go to Pastamore in D.D.O. You might think all pasta places are the same but whatever these guys are doing it is a taste above the rest. Copper Branch was excellent with an entire plant based helping. Soupe Et Cetera had a very good (not too spicy) carrot soup. However, I was personally most impressed with the Japanese cuisine of Moushi. A great creative bowl of rice and tofu with edamame, carrot, seaweed, and a small sweet taste of daikon. It was so perfect I had to hold back from getting another helping.. or two. Great job Moushi. I look forward to a visit soon to order a full portion.
Desserts were there in full swing in particular who can resist an apple pie from Rockaberry? How about a fried Oreo cookie in ice cream from The Rail? Who also had a fried Shepherd’s Pie. The deep friend balls of Mr. Puffs was also amongst the tables. David’s Tea was sampling a fruit blend of apple and pineapple called Me to We that had a thirst quenching aroma and taste that is perfect for the summer.
Once you passed by the second main tent where the seated tables were you would be in the main parking lot area for the concert. On the right side were three open tent set ups for VIP’s and a few local celebrities such as Canadiens’ defence legend, Larry Robinson. At the six course meal VIP open tent there was even a birthday party going on where the birthday girl turning 32 got serenaded by a musical duo. From this tent they could even watch the concert. On the opposite side of the grounds the STYX fans had gathered up along the fence as soon as the gates were opened.
It would be local Montrealer Annakin Slade who would play a fun set of funky dance music that included a medley of 90’s hits such as No Diggity, This Is How We Do it and The Fugees, Ready or Not. With his love for sports when the Expos return to Montreal Annakin Slayd should be the artist to play the inaugural opener. I’m just sayin’. Larry Day and Warren Greenstone conducted an auction to raise more money for the charities involved by receiving bids on flights supplied by Air Canada and a day pass at a Porsche track.
STYX came on stage to the rocking Gone Gone Gone the first song from their excellent new album, The Mission. Lawrence Gowan wore a red jacket and was a constant moving dynamo all night. His keyboard is on a carousel that spins 360 degrees so he really is the most fun keyboardist in rock to watch and listen to. Tommy Shaw brought us back to the 70’s with Blue Collar Man. The classic hits kept on coming one after the other with The Grand illusion, Lady, Too Much Time on my Hands, and more. The added bonus of the night was an appearance from original bassist, Chuck Panozzo for three songs, Fooling Yourself (an Angry Young Man), Come Sail Away and Renegade.
Quebec is a unique and special place to see STYX. This is after all the province that Gowan opened for STYX at the Bell centre in 1996 so it sort of makes it the birth place of the Gowan era of the band. Way back in the 70’s it was Suite Madame Blue that was popularized in Canada and in particular Quebec that now make sit impossible for STYX to do a show here without playing it. Looking at setlist s from the States they usually don’t play it so we get an added bonus here. We also get another song American audiences don’t usually get and that was STYXi version of Gowan’s signature song, A Criminal Mind.
These guys were on a constant high of music playing and working the stage. Tommy pulling off every rock pose every invented. James ‘Jy’ Young played lead solo after lead solo. Bassist, Ricky Phillips filled out the sound. As much as Gowan and Shaw are running around a musical highlight came from the extra hard pounding of drummer, Todd Sucherman. Where does he get his power from?
Gowan sat at the keyboard and made a quick joke that this was the second most fun he’d ever had in a parking lot in Quebec. He then played a medley of Bohemian Rhapsody and Golden Slumbers into Come Sail Away where he stood on top of his keyboard and by song’s end had everyone swaying their hands and singing along. The show ended with a two song encore of Rockin the Paradise and the Shaw theme song, Renegade. STYX is one of the best performing live bands let’s hope they bring the Mission back to Montreal soon.
A huge thank you goes out to Larry Day and his team for giving us such an event and it had an importance behind it for the local charities Miriam Foundation, Cure SMA and the West Island Women’s s Shelter.Make sure to visit their websites for more information and offer your support. I also would like to personally thank Petrona Joseph for all she did. I can truly sum it up by quoting a STYX classic in saying The Strangers In the Night gourmet gala was absolutely the best of times.