Dave Bidini Around the World in 57½ Gigs.


311 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 978-0-7710-1465-9
DDC 782.42'1660905





Reviewed by Laila Abdalla

Laila Abdalla is an associate professor of English at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and former professor at McGill University.


Dave Bidini was a member of the group the Rheostatics. When the band breaks up after 25 years, Bidini, a singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist, decides to tour as a solo act. His manager arranges a tour that begins in London, moves on to Finland, and takes in Russia, China, the U.S., and Canada. He is accompanied by Alun Piggins, a Canadian song man (and Bidini’s hockey defence partner), whom Bidini describes as the writer of “some of the world’s finest, most beautiful songs about pornography.” Piggins is a talented, funny wild man, who alternatively spooks and protects the rookie solo performer Bidini.


Around the World is divided into 21 chapters that bear city names as titles, followed by a discography that identifies the performer, album, and date of each song referenced in the chapters. Each chapter describes the gig within the city, but also offers other anecdotes and insights about the larger experience. The book is part travelogue, part musicologue, part autobiography, part creative non-fiction, and almost always wholly comedic. Dave Bidini has what creative writers term “a voice”; one can hear the man speaking through his written words and can glean a strong sense of his personality. He does not attempt different writing styles, nor does he experiment with creativity. He simply tells. The book reads like a late-night conversation in a raucous bar, where a friend shares interesting, often self-deprecating, and almost always funny events from his life.


This book should appeal to anyone looking for some light and entertaining reading. Do not expect polished prose; in fact, do not always expect grammatical or syntactical cohesion. But a reader who enjoys contemporary music, travelling, and laughing will take pleasure in this book. Its episodic nature also makes it easy to pick up after a long pause. This book is just good fun.


Bidini, Dave., “Dave Bidini Around the World in 57½ Gigs.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/26600.