The Boom 99.7 Legends series continued last night with Canadian icons The Box, who have been staples on Canadian airwaves since the early ’80s. It was originally supposed to be a double bill with Chalk Circle, but unfortunately they were unable to play due to an injury in the band. The Box took this in stride, explaining that they would offer a slightly different format for the evening.
They kicked things off with the punchy “Must I Always Remember” and the tight vocal harmonies of “Carry On”. Lead vocalist and founding member Jean-Marc Pisapia explained that this was the second incarnation of the band—formed in 2005 (with bassist Dan Volj, keyboardist Guillaume Jodoin, guitarist Francois Bruneau, drummer Martin Lapierre and backing vocalist Isabelle Lemay), and jokingly noted that this fact actually meant they have been together longer than the original lineup. The camaraderie was evident throughout the evening as they played, joked, and carried on like family.
Their first set continued with mostly newer material, including the epic “So Beautiful” and “Hell on Earth”; the former describes the beauty of Earth as seen from afar, and the latter offers a much darker view of the planet over the last century.
Following the first set, Pisapia stayed onstage to host an impromptu Q&A, while the band took a break. Eager fans got a rare chance to ask questions about the origins of the band’s name (he said it was a very “unsexy” backstory about a guitar effects pedal of the same name, but did manage to give a very solid explanation as to why the name worked), his trademark uniform (he loved aviation but felt he was too much of a rule-breaker to ever become a pilot, but that these characteristics had served him well as a musician and as a painter), and the inspiration behind the hit song “Closer Together” (the song was commissioned to help support the leukemia unit of a local children’s hospital in Montreal).
As promised, the second set consisted of many of the band’s hits, including “Crying Out Loud For Love”, “My Dreams of You”, and my personal favourite, “L’Affaire Dumoutier (Say To Me)”, which was a bucket-list nostalgia moment for me as Jean-Marc delivered a very theatrical version of the spoken-word verses, and the crowd sang along with the powerful chorus.
After thanking the crowd, and personally thanking the Bronson Centre Music Theatre’s owner Lisa Zbitnew for inviting them to play and being an early champion of the band and integral in their success, they briefly left the stage before returning for an encore that had fans on their feet and dancing to “Checkmate (Quand le Roy)” and an energetic cover of Pisapia’s former band Men Without Hats’ classic “Safety Dance”.