TicketMOMster Review: Jann Arden @ Concert Hall (with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra)
A few weeks ago…
TicketMOMster (thinking): “What am I going to get my Dad for Christmas? He’s so hard to buy for…oh wait, I forgot. I’m taking him to see Jann Arden, he loves Jann Arden…oh wait, I forgot…he’s dead.”
Wow, that’s depressing. But I don’t think it’s an unusual reaction for someone whose parent suddenly died three months ago. Actually, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more.
Last month would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday and we fully intended on seeing Chantal Kreviazuk together to celebrate his birthday. But he went to sleep and never woke up, so that put a serious damper on those plans.
I ended up going to that show alone and it was absolutely excruciating sitting next to an empty chair. But it was something I had to do.
And now it’s Christmastime and I had two tickets to Jann Arden. I thought long and hard about what to do with the tickets.
To be perfectly honest with you, my Dad loved Jann Arden, but he wasn’t a Christmas kind of guy. He was a bit of a humbug.
I, on the other hand, am all about Christmas. It’s my favourite holiday and I look forward to the joy and magic of the season every year.
If you ask me how many versions I need of “Jingle Bells”, I’ll tell you all of them; and they need to be on rotation for the full month of December. I’m THAT person.
For obvious reasons, this year is different. My mood, energy and Christmas spirit are at an all time low, but I continue to do Christmas things hoping to rev it up.
I wanted to go to this show for the festivities. But I also knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I worried it might ruin Christmas for me even more. My Mom recommended I take my Husband so I wasn’t alone, which I thought was a good idea.
The streets around the Concert Hall were packed with cars an hour before show time. So we parked at the Richardson Building and sprinted to the Concert Hall in -25 degree weather.
Dozens of tables were set up in the foyer selling various things and my eyes were drawn to a roll of Werther’s Originals candies. While going through my Dad’s possessions in his house, I found those candies in all of his jacket pockets. I took it as a sign and bought myself a roll.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Miles Macdonell Symphony Singers were already on stage when we took our seats. Conductor, Julian Pellicano guided the musicians in “Canadian Brass Christmas”, “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride” and then Jann opened her set with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
I quickly learned it’s hard to be sad when Jann Arden has the mic. I laughed out loud when she mentioned taking a walk earlier today and losing a nipple in the process. Later in the show she urged us all to mosh to “The Little Drummer Boy” by “gently passing a senior around”.
She sang a couple of her own tunes like “Insensitive” and “Waiting in Canada”, but mostly stuck to the festive standards.
The crowd loved the Symphony’s version of “Carol of the Bells” and Miles Macdonell shone on their soothing rendition of “Silent Night”. “We Need a Little Christmas” was energetic and the crowd responded with loud applause.
Jann started her second set with “Happy X-mas (War is Over)” and spoke a bit about family traditions before moving on to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” followed by “O Holy Night”. She marveled at the construction of the harp and remarked how it’s used “in every maxi pad commercial…it’s the sound of freshness!” Which was hilarious…and true.
The last song was “Good Mother” and then she ended the show which completely threw me off. To my surprise, I burst out crying, right there in the Concert Hall. My Husband put his arm around me as everyone stood and applauded. This was it. This was the end of my concert gifts to my Dad. My Husband held me as Jann came back out with her “half German Sheppard, half Gerbil” dog and sang “Blue Christmas” which continued to make me cry.
The show ended and tears rolled down my cheeks as we exited the Concert Hall and sprinted back to the car.
Did this show ruin Christmas for me even more? No, I feel like I’m still at the same low level I was before the show.
It was nice to watch something festive, the music was good and Jann was really funny. I wish it had reached me more, but I think that may be asking too much this year.
Maybe I need to resign myself to the fact that this isn’t going to be my most favourite Christmas ever. Under this heavy blanket of grief, there’s still a bit of Christmas spirit in me and maybe this year, a bit is enough.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters