Was it a false good idea after all? This is the finding that we had after half an hour of the listening event at the Bell Center, this Friday evening. Held in front of a record crowd of 21,131 people, the show offered us moments of euphoria, at the very beginning, before quickly deflating.
• To read also: Podcast “Under listening”: towards a Guinness record for Mike Ward
When Erich Preach, who opens for Mike Ward on tour, arrived in the stands to warm up the crowd, we felt we were experiencing something special. The comedian, who was doorman of the Bordel Comédie Club just a few years ago, had just been applauded as if he were a great international star.
About fifteen minutes later, when Mike Ward entered, the decibels were in the carpet. Walking through the crowd, the comedian shook hands, a big smile on his face. Monster ovation. We had rarely heard the Bell Center so noisy.
“Honestly, I thought I had a better reception than that. We're going to add claps to the edit,” Ward chuckled.
The moment was truly magical. You almost had to pinch yourself to tell yourself that we were witnessing such an event for a French-speaking podcast! The Guinness Records had to certify this evening of Under Listening as being the live podcast presented in front of the biggest crowd in the world.
too much echo
Mike Ward introduced his co-host for the evening, the essential Jean-Thomas Jobin. Another loud ovation. The latter was to be the lifeline in case Ward was too boozed up to continue the animation, which has happened in the past at The Brothel.
Everything was going on wheels. Then, Ward introduced the three guests of the first of the evening's two episodes: Les Denis Drolet and Christine Morency.
And that's when our pleasure suddenly diminished. All seated in a circle around a small table, the five companions seemed completely lost on the stage, through the huge crowd. For several minutes, they noted the situation, a little in discomfort.
"Do you hear me echoing? asked one. "You said the sound would be bad, you got it!" retorted the other. We struggled to hear all the jokes as the sound bounced all over the enclosure.
The smallness of the table also meant that we saw the guests more often from the back than from the front, on the giant screens. Maybe the result will be better on the web. But on the spot, the result was disappointing.
After nearly an hour, the quintet got going and the evening resumed its liveliness. Was it thanks to the alcohol that had warmed them or because they had finally tamed the grandeur of the site? Still, we started laughing again after a long break.
It is in particular by joking on the show Chanteurs masked that the guests have regained the crowd. Previously, they had joked on the Denis Drolet podcast, Rince-crème, and on the various Guinness records. But we must admit that we often lost the thread of their discussions as it all went in all directions.
Sing for the Pope
Because the energy was starting to drop towards the end of the first episode, Mike Ward turned to the audience to take a few questions. "Mike, we know you like to sing. The Pope is coming to Quebec next week, would you like to sing for him? asked a viewer, to the hilarity of the audience. "That's the best joke so far!" said Jean-Thomas.
After a little musical intermission from Pépé and his guitar, Mike Ward welcomed the guests of the second episode of the evening, shortly after 10 p.m. At the time of this writing, Marie-Lyne Joncas, Martin Matte and Stéphane Rousseau had just arrived on stage.
Mike Ward can be proud to have created this event and to have attracted so many people to attend a simple recording of a podcast. The huge dose of love he received from the huge crowd, he will never be able to forget. But we can't wait to find Under listening in the intimacy of the Brothel.