THE LAST ROCK SHOW: Sloan Plays Saint Andrews Hall Before The Big Outbreak

DETROIT – On March 7th 2020 the Canadian power rock band Sloan played in Detroit at the world famous Saint Andews Hall. This particular show showcased the bands epic anniversary for, “Navy Blues”. In traditional Detroit fashion the band delivered two long sets with an intermission. The band played for over two hours. Detroit has long been one of Sloan’s top markets thanks to the radio station 89.X which is based in Canada but also attracts a lot of the Motor City listeners.

This was the show to be at. Little did we know that the next days to come would usher in dark and black days due to the Corona Virus. This virus has grown quickly in different countries and has resulted in businesses closing their doors as well as restaurants, salons and even music venues. This show was to be the last rock show… at least for a while.

Sloan has postponed their future dates and are honoring their commitments like so many other music acts. This is most unfortunate but it is being done for the greater good of the population.


I remember playing,”Navy Blues” the first time and was surprised by the inclusion of familiar guitar hooks from classic rock. I could hear inspiration from Aerosmith and simple song construction with power chords thrown in.
This release was more rock centered than, “Twice Removed” and even the previous, “One Chord To Another”. This had a lot of meat on its bones and it really had a different delivery. It almost demanded more attention.

Not too long after this album was released Sloan delivered a special 2 album collection of live songs from their tour., “4 Nights At The Palais Royale”. This album has become a favorite among their growing and loyal fan base and was pretty much the recent set list for the anniversary tour.

Since I missed the original Navy Blues tour and only had the live recordings I found this live event to be somewhat spectacular.

When you go downstairs of Saint Andrews Hall you enter into the Shelter. This space has been renovated into a bar and lounge with a giant TV that has a live feed to the stage. So its like having front row seats. The other option is to get the balcony seats which gives you access to a private bar and a general standing room only view of the band. Moving around the club was somewhat easy as it wasn’t completely crammed with people, (unlike the Jesus and Mary Chain show a couple years back… argh). I was able to see the whole thing in its entirety.

There were a few surprises along the way since Sloan threw in songs from other albums such as, “Deeper Than Beauty”, (which was welcome with great applause). These guys really evolved into a hard rock sensation with its fans. I commonly refer to them as the Canadian Beatles. Now that might be somewhat of a stretch but they do write some catchy material. I have noticed that there is still that introspective tone to a lot of their catalog. That emotion signals some appeal with much of the audience.


I remember playing the first album, “Twice Removed” which came out a very quirky era of dying MTV, the emergence of alternative rock music and unclear future of radio. My co-worker demanded that I … “Turn that shit off”. I was working a crappy advertising agency in River North, Chicago. The guy I worked with was miserable and hated life and it showed. On one hand the songs on the first release had some slow tracks on it that were dreary. There was some sprinkles of brilliance on it that showed signs of life so the entire album was not a total loss. The audience wasn’t really ready for Sloan then. I knew they had something special in them and they stuck out like sore thumb against a backdrop of bands who didn’t make the long haul like Crash Test Dummies and Live.

We really needed something significant for this band to survive and something strong. Sloan delivered that with, “One Chord to Another” which had a shimmering pop rock vibration. A lot of those songs just made you feel good. The opening track, “The Good in Everyone” really blew the roof off of old expectations. This was the band to start listening too. Sloan did a smart thing by including a special, “LIVE at a Sloan Party” disc in its packaging which featured an after party performance. This gave us a different dimension of the band and made them more likeable. I caught this tour and it was much better than anything I could imagine. I saw that show at the Metro in Chicago. They opened that show with, “Anyone Who’s Anyone” and there are of course the memorable opening lines, “Things can happen if we stay….” which carries a very ominous promise. To me it was an open invitation to not only let them stay but to totally take over.

And they have.

This marks the 4th big Sloan show I caught in Detroit. Each one I attended was about three hours in length on the average. They really over deliver and to me they make the same sort of par along with the big arena rock shows, (Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones etc.) they play the same length of time and really give something back to their fans. Their fans really appreciate it too because you see the merch table has special products made just for them such as limited wax recordings, special mugs, T-shirts, (which often sell out) and special live tracks.

I was able to sit the encore out in the Shelter and watch the band wrap up. Rumors started to circulate that the Sloan was going to come downstairs and greet the fans and a big line was already starting to form. I didn’t grab anything for them to sign and I decided to just walk by the autograph table and give the lead singer Chris Murphy a simple thanks. I didn’t need anything tangible but wanted to them them know that I appreciate them and that what they do really matters.

The next night the band played Buffalo, New York and then called it quits for now due to the virus outbreak. So no… this is NOT THE LAST ROCK SHOW… but for me it was, at least for a while, until the world viral situation gets resolved.

And now, here is the set list.

Navy Blues 2020 Tour

  1. She Says What She Means
  2. C'mon C'mon (We're Gonna Get It Started)
  3. Iggy & Angus
  4. Sinking Ships
  5. Keep On Thinkin'
  6. Money City Maniacs
  7. Seems So Heavy
  8. Chester the Molester
  9. Stand by Me, Yeah
  10. Suppose They Close the Door
  11. On the Horizon
  12. I Wanna Thank You
  13. I'm Not Through With You Yet

    2nd Set

  14. Flying High Again
  15. Who Taught You to Live Like That?
  16. Shadow of Love
  17. Unkind
  18. Three Sisters
  19. Coax Me
  20. Ill Placed Trust
  21. Sensory Deprivation
  22. Live On
  23. I Hate My Generation
  24. Underwhelmed


  25. Deeper Than Beauty
  26. The Lines You Amend
  27. The Good in Everyone





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