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"Survivorman" displays his talents at Freed performance

Les reforming on stage at the Biggs Theatre (Photo by Northern Review/Nick Pesetsky)

Canadian filmmaker, musician, survivalist and creator of “Survivorman”, Les Stroud performed a show that revealed his passions and talents go beyond his television career.

On and off for fifteen years, the survival program, “Survivorman” chronicled the efforts of survival expert Les Stroud as he demonstrated survival skills in the wilderness alone.  Stroud’s fame as television star encompassed most of his life and is what he is known for.  Sprinkled within episodes of his show is his first passion of music, where he would play his harmonica on camera. 

Stroud’s show at the Freed Center began with a montage video of clips from the television show that transitioned into Stroud and his band performing their first song.  He explained after the first song that, “In these concerts, like to play songs that celebrate nature.”

The show continued as a concert with folk and heavily rock influenced songs.  Many of Stroud’s original songs were directly about nature such as “Artic Mistress”.  But Stroud also had darker, more serious themes in his music.  One song in particular, “One Big Farm” almost wasn’t played.  Stroud said that he wouldn’t have played the song if he did not feel the audience could handle it. 

“One Big Farm” was accompanied by graphic footage of whaling and dolphin killing among other ways of harvesting from the seas.  The song’s lyrics acted as a scolding of the fishing industry and how they were destroying the oceans and wouldn’t be able to support people if they weren’t protected. 

At the middle of the show, Stroud put his guitars down and opened the floor to questions about Survivorman, anything from his TV career was free game.  The audience asked questions all over the spectrum.  One woman asked about the time Stroud was trapped in a tree by a tiger in India.  But a more sensitive question came from a man who asked, “Do you still believe in Bigfoot?” 

One of Stroud’s latest televised adventures was a search for Bigfoot in the Canadian bush.  Stroud responded in a stern way by laying out a bunch of scientific facts that to him, mean that it is possible that Bigfoot, or an undiscovered humanoid and highly intelligent creature was living away from society. 

After the questions, Stroud and his band of Peter and Sean continued their detailed concert.

Stroud performed two solos in separate songs on his harmonica, both were long winded and intricate.  Peter. a multi-instrumentalist played guitar, violin and steel pick guitar.  Peter also performed solos in many of the songs.  The drummer, Sean, was not amazingly exciting for most of the show, but in the last song he hammered out a drum solo with the spotlight drawn only on him with Stroud and standing on the dark side of the stage to watch him.

Stroud’s performance, like his career, was multifaceted and encompassed a commitment to connect with nature that he shared with the audience through his music and experience.  The performance would be the the last of a nationwide tour for Stroud and his crew.                

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