Highlander Flashback

Highlander-highlander-the-series“He is Duncan McLeod, the Highlander. Born in 1592 in the Highlands of Scotland, and he is still alive. He is immortal. For centuries he has battled the forces of darkness, with holy ground his only refuge... I am a Watcher, part of a secret society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere. We know the truth about Immortals. In the end, there can be only one. May it be Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander.”

If you’ve ever seen Highlander: the Series, then these lines may be familiar to you. It’s a show about an immortal Highland swordsman, Duncan McLeod, living in modern-day Seacouver (amalgamation of Vancouver and Seattle, where the show was filmed) and following his own chivalrous code of honour.

One of my favorite characters on the show was Joe Dawson, a Watcher. He is human, but he knows about the existence of immortals. Eventually McLeod finds out that he is being watched. He forms an uneasy friendship with Joe, who happens to be the proprietor of a blues bar called Joe’s Bar.

When he’s not spying on immortals, Joe likes to play blues guitar. It’s an interesting feature of Highlander, both the movies and the series, that they both go hand in hand with great music. The original score for the movie was written and performed by Queen, and the series has had some famous musician guest stars such as Joan Jett and Roger Daltrey.

highlander20However, it was Joe Dawson, played by charismatic real-life musician Jim Byrnes, who really developed a more permanent presence on the show. He added another dimension to the show, a more human presence that we could all relate to. Byrnes says, “Music is Joe’s form of meditation, where he would go; it’s Joe’s martial art.”

In a story that is mostly about immortals, we get a hint of how humans can also achieve immortality, through making music or perhaps any kind of creative action.

A Special Performance by Jim Byrnes

While McLeod often has historical flashbacks, I recently had my own flashback to the nineties, when I used to watch the show as a child…

Being a swashbuckler usually involves late-night carousing, so I am not exactly a morning person. However, I got out of bed at 6 a.m. to attend a special early morning CBC event to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Together with the CBC crew, Jim Byrnes was there, and I was lucky enough to get front row seats. It was a beautiful, cool summer morning, and a small crowd of spectators was there, as well as some passing dog-owners (you can hear dogs adding their creative input in this video). It was a very special morning!


6 thoughts on “Highlander Flashback

  1. Hey Sonya! You know, I’ve never seen the Highlander series although I’ve seen the film, which I believe was with Sean Connery (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m too lazy to check it with IMDB). I remember loving the movie! Now that winter’s around the corner, I’m looking for a new series to get into and this might just be it!

    As for Jim Byrnes, he sounds incredible. What a great video. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked it, Jack! 😀
      Yes, the highlander film did have an appearance from Sean Connery as a Spanish gentleman, the highlander’s fencing teacher. I hope you enjoy the highlander series as well. I’ve already gotten a couple of my friends into it!

  2. Hey Sonya,

    Yes! I remember the movie AND the series. Duncan Macleod was so dreamy and such a brooding character. Jim Byrnes is awesome! I have seen around at several functions over the years. Very low key and cool guy.

    Glad you managed to drag your butt outta bed at 6:00 AM, you ol’ swashbuckler you!


  3. Sonya,

    Thanks for posting the video! Jim Byrnes is without a doubt my favorite blues musician. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Byrnes play in September at the Kay Meeks Center. I am grateful I did not have to drag my sorry butt out of bed at 6 am to see him, I would have though. I just had to haul it close to 3000 miles to hear him. He is a very nice guy, I got to meet him and chat briefly as well as get his autograph. I hope I get to make it to Vancouver again one day to see play again. I tried to talk him in to coming to TX for a show, I know I can pack the house for him, not sure he is on board with the idea, but hey you can’t blame a gal for asking. If I don’t make it back to Vancouver and he never makes it to TX I will just have to rely on the kindness of folks like to keep posting videos for me to enjoy.

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