Picks of the Week – July 31, 2018

Another month wraps up and the August long-weekend is packed with loads of entertainment in these picks of the week

Cinema: Vancouver Civic Theatres are presenting free outdoor Wednesday evening cinema at šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn (formerly QET Plaza) outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tonight the 2019 live action Dumbo starts at dusk.

Theatre Under The Stars photo: Lindsay Elliott

Stars: The 2019 season of Theatre Under The Stars presents the entertaining musicals Mamma Mia! and Disney’s Newsies on alternating nights until August 17th.

Gallery: This Friday Vancouver Art Gallery presents Pride at the Gallerya night of creativity, fun and connection in celebration of LGBTQ2+, with added programming on top of regular admission.

Gig: Friday, August 2 the Vancouver Convention Centre launches Summer Sounds on Jack Poole Plaza, a music experience from The New Shackeltons, taking place from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM, with more performancer schedule each Friday, August

Celebration of Light

Fireworks: The 2019 Honda Celebration of Light continues tonight, with plenty of entertainment to enjoy before Canada brings light to the skies above English Bay.

Repertory: The third play, Superior Donuts, in the Ensemble Theatre Company’s 7th Annual Repertory Festival opens this week, with the trio of plays in repertoire at the Jericho Art Centre until August 16th.

Bach: Early Music Vancouver brings the Vancouver Bach Festival to Christ Church Cathedral and Chan Centre for Performing Arts until August 9th. This week featured performances include; Part II of Bach Complete Brandenburg Concertos with Les Boréades tonight, Faure Requiem with Vancouver Bach Choir on Aug 1st, and Bach Cantatas with Les Boréades on Aug 2nd.

Parade: Everyone loves a parade, and the Vancouver Pride Parade, on Sunday August 4th promises to be one of the most colourful and lively parades of the year.

Sunset Beach Festival

Pride: The Vancouver Pride Sunset Beach Festival is your destination for entertainment, food trucks, beer garden, vendors, dancing, and more after the Parade or come earlier and get your place to enjoy the entertainment all day

Puppets: Museum of Anthropology’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Art:  The Vancouver Art Gallery dives into its permanent collection to present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, until October

Bard: The 30th season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer on the Mainstage, and All’s Well That Ends Well on now at the Howard Family Stage.

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival

Blooms: The second Chilliwack Sunflower Festival opens August 1st with a total of 20 acres of flowers, bringing colour to the Fraser Valley community

Korean: The 18th Annual Korean Festival fills Swangard Stadium in Burnaby with Korean culture, food and arts, on Saturday August 3rd from 10am to 8pm

Arts: Harmony Arts Festival fills the West Vancouver Waterfront from Ambleside Pier to John Lawson Park, with a line-up of entertainment from August 2nd to 11th with scores of music, arts, film and food events, much of it free.

Robyn bring The Honey Tour to Vancouver

Robyn – Pacific Coliseum – February 28, 2019

The anticipated return of Robyn to Vancouver definitely didn’t leave anyone dancing on their own. The Swedish pop star brought her fans out to Pacific Coliseum, moved from PNE Forum due to demand.

From the first strains of Honey to the last of Who Do You Love? Robyn filled the 90 minutes in between with the fun pop she’s known for. With her last visit to Vancouver being in 2010 her fans have been waiting a long time for another chance to dance and sing along to her tunes. Dressed in white and singing from white set stage the singer presented a muse-like ethereal figure. Robyn was certainly a muse for the thousands in attendance as the energy and excitement built throughout the set. After a costume change the red hot singer brought the show a crescendo as the set drew on, the whole audience singing along to Dancing On My Own was certainly a moment to remember. Following up with Missing U and Call Your Girlfriend to close out the main set, the audience craved more. Robyn delivered with more songs in the encore leaving fans to dance their way out of the Coliseum into the night.

Robyn The Honey Tour continues around North America through March before returning to Europe for the rest of spring and summer.

The Fratellis kicked off North American Tour

The Fratellis – Commodore Ballroom – April 26, 2018

Scottish act, The Fratellis flew into Vancouver to kick off their North American tour supporting their latest release, In Your Own Sweet Time. The fifth full length album by the Fratelli trio, brings an alt-country sound to the stage with a relaxed twang mixed with a Scottish burr.

The Commodore Ballroom was filled with a mix of fans from near and far as the opening act, Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes, warmed up the room.  The headliners made their way to the stage the audience was ready to hang on their every note.   Most Vancouver Canucks fans may have a distaste for the Scottish act responsible for the dreaded Chicago Blackhawks goal song, but they’re music is much more than the pop/punk sound of Chelsea Dagger, taken from their first release.

Jon Fratelli

Not ones for a lot of chatter, other than the odd greeting from lead singer/guitar Jon Fratelli, and a laugh at their jetleg caused gaffs.  The band lets the music speak for them, plugging away with song after song from their five albums, for the 90 minute set.  The Commodore fans were left satisfied with the return of The Fratellis and their first taste of what audiences around North America will experience in the month to come.

The Fratellis In Your Own Sweet Time Tour continues with dates around Canada and the US until wrapping May 22nd in Atlanta.

Janet Jackson brings the State Of The World to Vancouver

Janet Jackson – Rogers Arena – September 26, 2017

Janet Jackson brought her State Of The World concert tour to Rogers Arena in Vancouver this week.  Vancouver has a special connection with Miss Jackson, being the rehearsal spot the All For You Tour, and starting arena for her Rock Witchu and Unbreakable Tours.  An enthusiastic audience cheered the voice-over social commentary before the R&B legend made her appearance, followed by her troupe of dancers, to give us The Knowledge and State of the World to open the set.

From then on, it was two+ hours of hits, and memories, keeping most of the audience on their feet for the evening.  Just as her albums have shown an evolution and provided Miss Jackson with a platform to make her own statement on the state of the world, this tour performance was broken into segments that reflected the divas decades long career.  The new mom worked at a great clip powering through vocals and dancing mash-ups of her early hits including; Nasty, What Have You Done For Me Lately, Miss You Much, Alright, Control, Escapade, and more.  A costume change brought some of her softer ballads, and some slight sound issues, before kicking it back up for a crowd pleasing That’s The Way Love Goes and other legendary 90s hits before another costume change wraps up the show with If and Rhythm Nation.  Video vignettes showing career highlights as well as new imagery accented the stage set and served as a statement about the longevity of the Janet’s iconic career. 

The encore and final costume change saw a casually sexy Janet, fitted white shirt and jeans, come out to engage with the audience, introducing her band and dancers then leaving the audience satisfied but wanting the good times to continue. 

 

Janet Jackson’s State of the World Tour continues around North America for the remainder of 2017.

 

Lionel Richie & Mariah Carey bring All The Hits to Vancouver

This week, Lionel Richie wrapped up his All The Hits tour in Seattle with their penultimate gig making a stop in Vancouver. Along with the iconic hit maker, another legendary voice joined the tour with Mariah Carey sharing the bill as a special guest.

As the audience arrived, opening act Tauren Wells, got the evening going with a set of his Christian R&B tinged pop/rock.

A short stage reset welcomed Mariah Carey to the stage.

With a flash of a career montage, Ms Carey, upon a throne, her voice preceding her, arrived on stage. Her set included some of her greatest hits, sounding amazing as she hit every note of her career defining tunes like; Heartbreaker, Touch My Body, My All, It’s Like That, Vision of Love, and more.  One of the sweetest moments of the set was when the singer’s twins, Moroccan and Monroe joined her onstage.  Little Miss Monroe joined her mother singing Always Be My Baby, while Moroccan took to the throne and interjected like a hype-boy.  With her instrument fully in great form, Mariah has fun playing the diva throughout the set; her back-up dancers treating her like a Queen, getting a hair & make-up touch up whilst on her throne, three costume changes but never letting the over-the-top fun get in the way of job number one, belting out best-selling hit after hit.

After Ms Carey’s 75 minute set wrapped up with an encore of Hero, another set change get the stage ready for Lionel Richie and his nearly 50 year catalogue.

The energetic 68 year old showed little effect from the knee surgery that postponed the tour from earlier in the year.  Boundless energy and an arena filling presence kept the audience enraptured and singing along to hits from both his solo career and with The Commodores.  Starting with Easy, then moving swiftly between upbeat numbers and ballads like Running With The Night, You Are, Penny Lover, Hello, Stuck On You, Brickhouse, Three Times A Lady, Say You Say Me, Dancing On The Ceiling.  Engaging the audience, and poking a bit of fun at his and some of the fans’ age. Lionel also had a good time with some of the ladies in the front of the audience, highlighting them or their dancing on the stage screens caused some embarrassment and some joy. Getting a bit political the songwriter reminded us of how much good can get done when people work together with a solo rendition of We Are The World before wrapping up the evening with his anthem All Night Long (All Night).

Surely many of the audience would have like the evening of great songs and singers to continue all night long but after nearly 4 hours the night wrapped leaving smiles on faces and songs in heads and hearts across the arena.

 

Picks of the Week – Aug 2, 2017

The August long weekend in Vancouver is always packed with so much entertainment; Pride, Fireworks, Festivals, Concerts and more make it hard to choose the picks of the week…

Lights: Look up, way up and witness the explosive entertainment of Celebration of Lights as United Kingdom lights the night tonight and Canada wows the crowds on Saturday

Punks: Reminisce with the contrasting of rock styles when Echo & The Bunnymen and Violent Femmes take the PNE Amphitheatre stage on Thursday

Arts: As if you need more to do this weekend, the 27th Harmony Arts Festival kicks off on Friday bringing 10 days of arts & entertainment to West Vancouver.

Shakespeare:  Bard on the Beach is under the tents at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing and The Winter’s Tale are on the BMO Mainstage with The Merchant of Venice and Two Gentlemen of Verona in previews on the Howard Family Stage

Pier: Pride comes to North Vancouver this year with the new Prance on the Pier, an all-ages dance party at the Shipyards pier in lower Lonsdale

Bingo: At Wednesday’s Bingo 4 Life Pride Edition Grease is the word as Mina Mercury and Carlotta Gurl channel their inner Sandy’s while calling numbers to raise money for Vancouver Friends For Life

Bach: Early Music Vancouver presents the 2nd Vancouver Bach Festival with chamber music concerts, ensembles and soloists bringing classical music to Christ Church Cathdral and The Chan Centre until Aug 11th

Run: Get your weekend off and running, supporting charities while you’re at it. Drop your gear for the Pride Undie Run, a quick jog from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the Davie Street Party on Friday night.

Street: Pride really gets going with the annual Davie Street Dance Party filling the street from Burrard to Jervis with music, food, drink and entertainment

Stars: Enjoy the evening in Stanley Park at Theatre Under The Stars this season presenting Mary Poppins and The Drowsey Chaperone on alternating evenings.

Beach: Sunday the Sunset Beach Festival opens at 11am for a day of music, outdoor beer garden, food trucks and marketplace. 

Parade: The main event of Vancouver Pride the 39th Annual Pride Parade starts at Noon at Robson & Bute then makes its way to Sunset Beach entertaining thousands of spectators along the way.

Parties: Fill in the weekend with any of the multitude of parties and cruises like Love & Freedom Events’ Big Pride Weekend,  Ruff Vancouver, TFD Presents’ Rapture Pride Weekend, Vancouver Arts & Leisure’s Alternative Pride, Cruisy-T’s Boat Cruise and more

 

 

John Legend – Darkness & Light Tour

John Legend – Rogers Arena – June 1, 2017

June started with an uplifting, soulful evening as John Legend brought his Darkness and Light Tour to Vancouver. The Academy, Grammy, Golden Globe award winner started the show promptly at 8:55pm, rising slowly into the centre of the stage with his piano. As the stage screens shifted to reveal more of the singer, he moved to centre stage to get the audience on their feet as he moved through his set. Joined by his trio of supporting singers, and their perfectly synchronized girl-group choreography, Love Me Now, elevated the energy level early on as the rousing hit prompted an audience sing-a-long and got them moving. Other hits followed; Used to Love You, Like I’m Gonna Lose You, Ordinary People, Who Do We Think We Are were mixed with album tracks, new and old.

A few covers were mixed in to the set too. Telling the story of the birth of his daughter, Luna, John Legend spoke of the special significance of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly.  Known for his political leanings, Teddy Pendergrass’s Wake Up Everybody fit Legend like a glove, with the lyrics as topical today as in 1975.  A bit of an acapella rendition of the  Beach Boys God Only Knows introduced the final quarter of the nearly 2 hour set.  The tune Slow Dance will forever be memorable for an audience member, Tanya, who was invited onstage to dance with Legend, and stole the set while she was at it. John Legend wrapped up the Darkness and Light Tour stop with the encore tunes, All Of Me and the Oscar winning Glory. The later providing an audience sing-a-long that threatened to block out the singer himself.

John Legend’s Darnkess and Light Tour continues this weekend in Washington State, stopping at Woodenville, WA.  Try to catch the tour if John Legend makes his way to your town.