Bring Back The Sun

October 21, 2012

Kirk and I started dating when we were in high school…next year we’ll have been together for half of my life (married for seven years!), and Chantal Kreviazuk and Our Lady Peace were a major part of the soundtrack of our lives from the beginning. I thought we knew everything we could about their work. But last night we went to an absolutely amazing concert, with Chantal headlining and Raine in a (very strong…stronger even than the last time) supporting role, and we learned even more about them and some of our favourite songs. Some things were major¬† and some things were silly and we should have known before.

The concert was one of the keystones of an IMAGINE Festival for the Ontario Shores mental health organization, although we didn’t know it at the time. So the musicians’ work was informed by that theme, and we learned stories about many of the songs that were influenced by experiences with mental health issues.

Some of the things we learned were major: I’ll never listen to her “Surrounded” or our wedding song, “In This Life” in the same way again, now that I know something about the experiences to which they refer.

Some of the things were minor, and I felt silly for not realizing them before. She does a song called “Feels Like Home” that I knew was a cover, as one’s heard other women sing it, often. But I didn’t realize till she said it that the songwriter was Randy Newman. Now that I know it, the Newmanisms all come out. It sounds SO much like the rest of his work. In a good way.

Kirk and I both always thought the phrase in the chorus of Maida’s “Yellow Brick Road” was “Rise Up”…turns out it’s “Wise Up”. Not too silly, as some of our misheard lyrics go.

And I’d never thought before about the pun on his name, when, in “Before You”, she sings, “Ever since I met you on a cloudy Monday, I can’t believe how much I love the rain.” I feel like such a dullard for missing it before.

The last time we saw them together was a few years ago at Massey Hall. Raine was a straight opener for his wife, which is beautiful to me. So often, historically, with talented couples, the woman’s talent is downplayed through her support for the man’s career (something I think I’ve pondered on this blog before). It was even better last night to see him more often, still as an opener, but then again throughout the night. He did acoustic versions of “Innocence” and “In Repair”, and as an encore, acquiesced to an audience request for “4 am”, which was incredible, and I’d never thought we’d hear it.

I think we were probably somewhat unusual among the audience, which tended older and I think more Chantal-focused (which makes sense), in that Kirk and I shared as our absolute favourite from the entire night a STUNNING duet on the OLP song “Bring Back the Sun”. They shared the verses, and came together on the choruses, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful song. Thinking of it now brings back tears. Maybe my favourite live performance of any song, ever.

Both shared new songs that, we hope, will be on their next albums (well, one of three by Chantal was on her live album “In This Life”). Maida said he’d likely go home and record “Not Done Yet” today, and we should hold him to that!

Watching the two of them together is good for the heart. They were joking about being cranky, but they’re both amazingly gorgeous and talented and clearly in love. It’s so perfectly Canadian, that people with so many gifts are still so self-deprecating. A very, very warm fall evening, with times of darkness brought into the light.

Advertisements

My Christmas present from my husband this year was going to see Chantal Kreviazuk, in support of her new album Plain Jane, at Massey Hall.

First, the album. Her last two albums, What if it All Means Something and Ghost Stories, were immediately enjoyable to me. I felt like I loved some of the songs with the very first listen (we used “In This Life” as our first dance at our wedding). Plain Jane didn’t catch me that way, at least not at first. But having listened to it a few more times, I began to appreciate the musical development it demonstrated, especially with its jazz tendencies.

So I was excited to see the show at Massey Hall. I’ve never been there before, although of course I’ve known about the space. And her husband, Raine Maida, was going to be Kreviazuk’s opening act, which was thrilling as a long-time Our Lady Peace fan and someone who enjoyed The Hunter’s Lullaby. It was also a treat as they apparently don’t do concerts together very often.

Dala was the very opening act. They’re a female duo from Scarborough. I went home and downloaded the album right away. What wonderful voices, what wonderful songs. From fun (“Levi Blues”) to heart-wrenching (“Horses”, a song that still has only failed to make me cry once).

Maida’s set was really good. I feel like concerts are always too loud to be able to hear musical complexity, and I regret that deeply, but most of it still came across here. Amazing what can be done with voice, piano, guitar, drums, cello, and violin. Not the typical rock set up, but Maida proved his rock star credentials by climbing up on his wife’s grand piano in the final song. An excellent, acoustic, slowed-down version of “Innocent” from the OLP album Gravity, which isn’t one of my favourite songs, but this changed my mind some.

It’s hard to describe what a warm feeling the whole concert gave me. Part of it was probably the space, part of it the type of music, part of it the Canadian-ness, part of it the family-ness of the event. And going at the beginning of the Christmas season. But during Maida’s set, and continuing through Kreviazuk’s, it really felt like a very warm, sharing performance. Not in a mushy way…Maida told a story about Kreviazuk calling his mother to come deal with a newlywed squabble.

Just in a very normal, happy family sort of way. Kreviazuk shared stories about personal tragedies that have led to the writing of some of the songs, including a song written just a few weeks ago for a friend. She chatted with their sons, all offstage, and with friends in the crowd. She sang Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown”, which she said she always sings in her hometown of Winnipeg and now feels like she can also sing in Toronto. One of the videos played in the background during a song was home video of their sons.

And she didn’t discourage them from the stage. The oldest, Rowan, is almost 6 and ran out in the middle of the concert to talk to her. “He’s asking me how much longer I’ll be,” she said to the audience, “because he’s so into it,” sarcastically. Finally, during the last curtain call, he came out again and introduced his younger brother, Lucca, who’s 4. With Mom at the piano, and the other musicians playing along, he sang all of the opening track from Plain Jane, “Invincible”.¬† It was one of those moments that’s so beautiful it’s heartbreaking. He accepted our applause and then ran off to give Dad a hug on the side of the stage. And then she did, as she put it, “her version”, and finished the night.

We drove back into some blowing snow, but it was such an incredibly warm evening. What a wonderful gift.