Full house attends McLean’s ‘Vinyl Café’

Call him a poet, a story teller, or guy who just gets a kick out of old records, audience members will tell you Stuart McLean ended the 1998/99 “tour de fort” series in style.
Standing in front of the motto, “We may not be big, but we are small,” McLean and his touring companions, guitarist Kevin Barrett and singer Lisa Lindo, set the stage in a very casual atmosphere, first of all joking about the popularity of McLean’s show, “The Vinyl Café.”
“The reason you haven’t heard of the Vinyl Café is because it’s on the radio,” McLean said, getting a chuckle and a round of applause from the audience.
“That’s not the only strike against it,” he added. “It’s on CBC radio.”
At that point, the audience gave a thunderous round of applause, to which McLean responded, “Now I know you’re lying.”
That pretty much set the mood of the evening as McLean and his companions went through a combination of stories and musical numbers, moving at the slow steady pace of a waltz yet never getting boring.
For those unfamiliar with the Vinyl Café, it’s a record store in which McLean bases his story on. The owner’s name is Dave, his wife is Morley, and their two kids.
Funny enough, most of his stories aren’t about the antiquated vinyl records Dave sells in his store. It’s more about daily life. Such as the time when Morley was horrified to discover she had to buy a jock-strap for her son, Sam, during his first year of hockey.
First of all, McLean mused, Morley had to discover whether or not the word “jock-strap” was an actual word or just slang like “fart.” Then came the several attempts, failures and re-attempts to find a jock-strap in the right size for Sam until finally, Morley had succeeded and gave Sam the jock-strap–which he promptly put on over his pants and ran across the street to show his best friend Allan.
“And then Morley, watching from the window, saw Allan swing his leg through and kick her son right between the legs,” McLean said, getting howls of laughter. “She watched Sam topple over then get up, screaming, ‘Again!’”
Between stories, Barrett’s fingers would fly over his guitar as Lindo laid down some smooth, jazz lyrics. At times, it was hard to tell what the audience appreciated more–Lindo’s singing or McLean’s stories.
But it was easy to see that between the two, a lot of people would be tuning into McLean’s radio show that weekend.