Warming the crowd

Monday, October 27, 2003

  • Chantal Kreviazuk at the piano...

    Chantal Kreviazuk at the piano...

Stagnancy is not something that Chantal Kreviazuk is accustomed to. Since the near-fatal accident that catalysed the launch of her musical career, Canada’s piano-playing pop sensation has been caught up in an ever-revolving whirlwind of activity. Seven months pregnant, Kreviazuk should be ready to sit down and put up her feet.

But last Monday night’s performance at the River Run Center was absolute proof that she’s not.

Toronto-based guitar/fiddle duo Madviolet commenced the performance with just enough comic relief to place the slightly uptight crowd at ease. The dynamic pair worked their minimalist instruments to produce heart-wrenching ballads sung by husky-voiced Brenley MacEachern. Lisa MacIsaac’s stunning interjection of high-energy fiddling was reminiscent of her controversial brother’s work and provided the audience with a unique taste of the group’s east coast heritage.

When Kreviazuk took the stage, accompanied by a hearty round of applause and her beloved dog, the room was immediately filled with her presence. Though the singer and her trademark Steinway & Sons piano sat alone in the shadows, the warmth of her personality quickly erased all feelings of emptiness within the auditorium.

After a quick introduction the audience was treated to an energetic version of the hit single “Time”. With fingers dancing maniacally across the keys, Kreviazuk demonstrated her desire to push herself to the limit despite an obvious physical constraint.

The audience was treated to a 75 minute set which contained a full selection of songs off all of her albums as well as a few cover songs.

Kreviazuk’s knack for on-stage banter was clearly evident as she chatted up the crowd as if discussing the day’s happenings over a cup of tea. With the giddiness of a teenybopper in the presence of a favourite heartthrob, she engaged the audience with tales of pregnancy, strange highway encounters and outlandish CD prices.

Perfection was not the name of the game as Kreviazuk encountered a few glitches during her performance. After dedicating the Juno-worthy “Before You” to her unborn son and adlibbing a few key lines, the singer broke down in a fit of giggles and promptly halted the song. During a stunning stripped-down version of “Wayne” the sound system popped and buzzed which launched Kreviazuk into another drawn-out tale about being pregnant.

With vocals that soar to heights unattainable by most popular singers, Kreviazuk proves with every performance that music has less to do with technical perfection than it does with passion and emotion, and that even the smallest amount of good humour can make a world of difference.

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