Montrealer loves playing with Madonna
Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour heads to Quebec, and Sun Media reporter Jane Stevenson talks to keyboardist Ric’key Pageot, who hails from a musical family, studied at Vanier College and McGill University in Montreal and was previously the musical director with Cirque Du Soleil’s touring production, Delirium.
“Oh, my God! I grew up with this music. And I’m fortunate enough now to be going toward the stage with her and playing this music. It hit me a couple of times, even right now. I’m very thankful to be on this gig but sometimes it’s very easy to forget that I’m playing with Madonna. And all these songs I’ve grown up listening to, back in the ’80s and ’90s, so I’ve been blessed.”
Pageot’s father, Fritz, is a bass player. His older brother, Steve, is a 2004 Grammy winner and his younger brother, Tony, is a drummer.
What the 31-year-old musician, who moved to L.A. with his wife/singer Dessy Di Lauro at the beginning of 2008, didn’t know going into the Sticky and Sweet Tour is that he would end up alone with Madonna in the show’s visually stunning climax.
The moment in question occurs as Madge sits atop his piano singing and writhing around during the new song, Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You, while a circular wall of lights and watery images swirls around just the two of them on a smaller b-stage away from the rest of the band members.
“When I listened to that song I fell in love with that piano part. So I started practising it and I just started coming up with new stuff, new lines, where would I go, where would I take the music, if it were my song, if I had the power to do that,” said Pageot down the line from Boston last week.
“So I came to rehearsal and started playing the part exactly the way it is on the album and then M (his and other’s nickname for Madonna) just says, ‘Well, I want this song to go somewhere else.’
And I jumped out of my seat.
“I told M, ‘Well, I came up with some parts for this song. Do you want to listen to them?’ And I started playing them for her and she said, ‘Okay’ and she started breaking down that whole song and just featuring me on that part. And then a couple of days later she said I would be on the b-stage, playing on a grand piano with her on top. I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’ That’s exactly how envisioned that song when I first heard that song and I started practising it.”
Pageot got the Madonna gig after staying in touch with Sticky and Sweet musical director Kevin Antunes, who he first met at a Cirque stop in 2006.
“Kevin called me and he said, ‘You play accordion, right?’ Which was so funny because after the Cirque gig I was like, ‘Okay, I can put it aside, I don’t think I’m ever going to get a gig playing accordion again.’ Lo and behold, he called me and said, ‘Well, what I’m about to tell you is going involve you playing accordion,’ which was the Madonna promo gigs.”
Pageot was hired initially to play three club dates in New York, Paris and Kent, England, that Madge performed earlier this year to promote the release of her new album, Hard Candy, before getting hired for the full Sticky and Sweet tour.
Pageot is especially excited about playing to a hometown crowd this week. “Going back to Montreal, I speak to some friends back home and they’re saying that I’m the talk of the town in Montreal,” he says. “To me, I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions and seeing my friends. I just can’t wait. My family’s going to be there. My in-laws bought like close to 20 tickets. I’m already verklempt right now.”
Pageot says Madonna’s split from hubby Guy Ritchie wasn’t discussed on stage or off this past Wednesday night as the Sticky and Sweet road show pulled into Boston for the beginning of a two-night stand.
“Boston went really well,” said Pageot down the line from Beantown earlier this week. “You’re always expecting something different every night because every crowd reacts differently to each song and Boston was great.”
From an article by Jane Stevenson, Sun Media.