Jann Arden is the sort of performer who just knows how to put the audience at ease from the get go.. as down to earth on stage as she is on her personally managed Twitter account, one can almost forget for a moment that you’re not in Jann’s living room curled up on her couch listening to her sing to you, rather than in a theatre with a few thousand other ‘friends’ listening to a full scale concert.
Looking smart and sassy in knee high boots and belted ensemble, and sporting a newly blond bob, Jann opened the show with a few of her softer songs, then told us, “we’re going to slow things down a little… yes, even slower than the last 3 songs”, which got a hearty laugh from the audience and set the mood for the remainder of the evening. Songs were followed by short stories about the songs, or about Jann’s mother and father to much laughter from the crowd. At one point, Jann told us, ‘this is the part of the show where I usually take a washroom break (more laughter from us) so I’m going to pick one of the band members to turn the spotlight on…. Alison! Your turn tonight.” Alison Cornell is Jann’s fiddle player. Cornell also plays mandolin, keyboards and a host of other instruments all arranged near her stage space. Cornell also has a solo cd which we saw at the merchandise table after the show. As Arden left the stage, Alison performed one of her own songs.
The band was ready to jump back into Arden’s tunes.. and … no Jann! Suddenly a spotlight appeared over the audience and Jann was walking up the aisle singing to fans at floor level! At one point, a fan handed Jann a gift bag, and the song paused while Arden thanked her and moved on, to sit in an empty seat and continue singing. The owner of the empty seat came back from the lobby to find JANN ARDEN in her seat! The look of shock and surprise on her face was priceless! Arden collected a bouquet of flowers on her way back to the stage, and the show continued.
The band was introduced at one point – didn’t catch all the names but one of the SheDaisy ladies was on background vocals (very cool), Cornell, another fellow on second keyboards, and someone we’ve run into more than a few times, Pat Stewart from The Odds on drums! The band was fabulous and it all came together with Arden’s singing and storytelling to make for an amazing experience. Arden’s voice was spot on – the high notes she hits with ease, are incredible and her voice was strong and melodic. The songs are timeless -whether singing one of her new songs, or older tunes like Good Mother, they speak to life’s experiences and we can all identify with them in some way.
The show ended with a standing ovation and lots of clapping, whistling and calling Arden and the band back for a 4 song encore.. and another standing ovation before they turned the house lights on and we had to leave. If you get a chance to see Jann Arden on this current tour – go. You’ll be glad you did.
all rights reserved