TicketMOMster Review: Chantal Kreviazuk @ The Burt
I remember the day my Dad called to tell me Chantal was scheduled to play a show at The Burt the day after his birthday. He was so excited. He told me the last time he saw her, he was so moved by one of her songs that he jumped out of his seat and applauded. When he looked around, he realized he was the only one standing so he whispered to everyone that he was her Uncle. I laughed and then rolled my eyes so hard I almost sprained my eyeballs.
He died suddenly, two months ago. He wasn’t sick, he never declined, and he never suffered. But…it’s a shock and the road is hard.
I already gave him the tickets, so I went to his house yesterday to pick them up. I spent some quiet time there, looking through his CD’s and albums and then I packed them up and loaded them in my car. I now own a Chantal Kreviazuk CD.
As I was driving away from his house, the sky morphed into the most amazing shades of pinks, oranges and yellows. I had to stop the car and take a picture; it was truly breathtaking.
I knew this was going to be a hard show before it started. As soon as I sat down and saw that empty chair next to me, tears rolled down my cheeks. I will never sit on the floor at The Burt with my Dad ever again. This is it. The chair is empty. He’s gone.
People glanced at me, but no one said anything. I wasn’t embarrassed, the world is not going to end if my mascara is smudged and I look like hell. I’m grieving. This is hard and I’m going right through it.
Kevin Fox picked up his cello and with the help of a loop pedal, he started his set with a cover of Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. It was alright and then he broke the news to us: Leonard Cohen was dead. The whole audience gasped.
WHAT IS WITH THIS YEAR?!
He played “Hallelujah” and as the tears rolled down my cheeks again, I considered leaving. Maybe this show was going to be too much for me. But then the song ended and he talked about his hair and it made me laugh. His banter was long but funny and he told us repeatedly how appreciative he was for this opportunity.
By that time my face was dry and tight with tear stains. He ended with Joni Mitchell’s “River”. That’s probably my favourite Joni Mitchell song and I’m really picky about how it’s covered. Kevin slid his fingers down the strings and then looped it, which didn’t work for me, but I appreciated his effort.
During intermission I watched the sun rise on the large screen on stage. I don’t know the name of the song they played while the sun rose, but it was very soothing.
The lights went down and strings of light bulbs surrounding the stage, lit up. Chantal joined Kevin who was already on stage and they played “Meant For This” off her new album Hard Sail. Her voice sounded like a voice my Dad would have loved and I tried hard to keep my mouth shut so I wouldn’t sob.
After that song she greeted us with “Hi Home, how are you?” (she’s from Winnipeg). She told us she missed her kids but every Mom should have a tour where they can brush their teeth twice a day and take a bath. I identified with all her Mom banter.
She spoke easily and was very personable. She told us the show was being streamed live on Facebook, so if you’d like to watch it, I’m pretty sure it’s still on her page.
She talked about growing up in her musical family and about using song writing as an outlet for dealing with hard events in her life. We watched a woman standing on the edge of an ocean on the big screen as Chantal sang “Lost”.
Her set list included a lot of new songs and plenty of time for banter. It was usually interesting and/or funny and I’ve never seen an audience so quiet and attentive to a musician in my life.
Later in the show, we were introduced to Sarah from Tuxedo. She was sitting in a seat with an obstructed view. Chantal brought her on stage and offered her drinks as they sat together at the piano. They talked a bit about kids and then Chantal sang “Feels Like Home”.
After the song was over, she invited her Dad up on stage. This was one of the hardest moments of the show for me. There she was sitting next to her Dad and here I was, aching with an empty chair next to me. I was filled with a strange mixture of happiness for her and unbearable grief and longing for myself. She sang “Leaving On A Jet Plane” with her Dad:
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
I don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe I hate to go
The tears flowed and my body trembled as she sang.
Last month, Chantal and her son were invited by Starkey to personally fit Peruvians with new hearing aids. She sang a cover of Radiohead’s “Daydreaming” while we watched pictures of her trip.
“I Love You” was dedicated to her recently departed dog, Chanty and then she asked her Mom to come up on stage and she sang “All I Can Do” to her. My own Mother has been absolutely amazing through this whole ordeal. She’s constantly there for me and this time I cried tears of gratitude.
The encore started with a clumsy version of “Hallelujah” which kept changing keys. It was a bit painful to listen to initially, but Chantal’s voice was strong and impressive.
The show ended with “Surrounded” which was written to honor Chantal’s young friend Sam. The song moved me like no other that night. I felt surrounded by death, grief and loneliness, but also by my friends and family who are there when I need them.
I ran to my car, slammed the door and burst into tears. I cried long and hard and then I drove home.
I wish I could tell you this is the end of shows like this, but there will be at least two more. This musical journey is going right through grief and I have no idea where we’ll end up. You can get off at any time. If you choose to stay, thank you.
I’m exhausted and I have to sleep now.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters