Katy Perry wraps up The Witness Tour in Vancouver

Katy Perry – Rogers Arena – February 6, 2018

Last week, Katy Perry brought her Canada/US leg of The Witness Tour to a close in Vancouver.  Supported by local songstress, Carly Rae Jepsen, the finale of the tour was an added night, used to film the tour for future use.

After 52 tour dates, the pop star showed little signs of tiring, pumping through the 20 song set with high energy throughout the 2 hours.  First up, Carly Rae Jepsen sparkled as she got the audience on their feet with some of her lively tunes.  Her half hour warm up set had the crowd, especially those in the VIP pit bouncing to her effervescent pop. Rounded out by her hits, Cut To The Feeling, Really Like You and Call Me Maybe which had everyone singing along.


Once the arena filled up, the lights went down except for the hundreds of illuminated Katy Kat ears adorning many of her fans. Then the all eyes were on the all-seeing eye on screen, as it parted to welcome Katy Perry with a roar from the audience.  The youngest fans, in particular, went wild as the star made her way on stage singing “Witness” to kick off The Witness Tour show.

For the next hours, the singing along, dancing and cheering continued with great joy.  If the onstage show isn’t enough, watching the happiness of the little fans is contagious and can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face.  The keyword for any Katy Perry show, is fun, as the star and her dancers make it seem like they’re enjoying every moment of the set. The multimedia, the dancers, stage sets and costumes really make a point that Katy knows her beloved Katy Kats but makes sure that the show doesn’t includes enough for the grown ups to enjoy the staging and music.  From “Witness”, to the encore of “Fireworks” all her top hits plus a few numbers from the Witness album  were included in the setlist. As is the norm for a Katy Perry show, fans were included, bringing up a sparkling little star to wish upon a star then a dad to help swish swish some giant basketballs on his birthday. As the end of the show neared and 11pm came around, some of the youngest fans tired and were seen being carried out of Rogers Arena, and home to dream about seeing their pop hero live.  For many, their first overall concert experience or for others their first Katy Perry concert was one they won’t soon forget.

 

Who will be the Best Sommelier of BC 2018?

On January 29, 2018,  the fourth annual Best Sommelier of BC Competition returns to Rogers Arena, Hosted by The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers British Columbia Chapter (CAPS BC).  Canadian Assoc Professional Sommeliers

This annual competition brings some of the best and brightest sommeliers from across the province together to compete for the title of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018 . The challenging competition includes both a written and practical examination. The practical exam will be held live as the top three sommeliers from the written portion compete for the 2018 title.

Eligible competitors must be accredited members of CAPS BC, and Canadian citizens or permanent residents earning at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment as a sommelier. 

For the first time, this year CAPS BC is also hosting the 2018 BC Aspiring Somm Competition.

This additional event is open to any member of CAPS BC who earns at least 50% of their income from hospitality employment in any role and also has an interest in participating in future Best Sommelier of BC competitions. Shadowing the Best Sommelier of BC format the competition gives aspiring sommeliers the opportunity to understand what the competition is really all about.  The 2018 BC Aspiring Sommelier Winner will be announced prior to the Best Sommelier of BC announcement on Monday evening.

Esteemed judges for this year: Barbara Philip, Michaela Morris and Sebastien Le Goff. Emcee is DJ Kearney and Shane Taylor, winner of 2017 Best Sommelier BC Competition.

On competition day, the hard work for the contestants starts at  9:00am behind closed doors as the preliminary competition, including written exam and blind tasting, with all candidates gets underway.  

Then at noon, the Top 3 Competitors will be announced, and then immediately compete live, before the public and industry, for Best Somm BC 2018. Tickets for the live competition only are just $10 at the door.

In the evening celebrate the day’s competition at the Champions Dinner, starting with cocktails at 4:30pm followed by dinner and the announcement of the winners of BC’s Best Sommelier 2018.

For registration and more details on the events visit bc.sommelierscanada.ca

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.

 

Find out who will be Canada’s Best Sommelier?

For the first time ever, oenophiles, vintners, other wine industry, and friends from all across Canada will descend upon Vancouver to find out who is Best Sommelier of Canada.

Presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers the day long competition takes place at Rogers Arena starting at 9am on September 5, 2017.  The live competition is open to industry and public, and finds the top three sommeliers from across the country testing their skills against each other to who will be uncorked as #BestSommCanada.  Preliminary, closed-door competitions the day prior will select the top three from the regional winners;

British Columbia
Shane Taylor, wine director,  Cin Cin Ristorante + Bar
Alistair Veen, chef & owner, Tap Restaurant
Jason Yamasaki, group sommelier, Joey Wine Group 

The Prairies
Domar Rafael, food & beverage manager, The Manitoba Club 

Ontario
Emily Pearce Bibona, sommelier, The York Club
Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant

Quebec
Carl LePage Villeneuve, sommelier, Restaurant Toque
Pier Alexis Souliere, sommelier, Manresa Restaurant

Atlantic Canada
Lesley Quinn, sommelier, Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar

Lunch for all guests will follow the Live Competition then the day continues with educational and interesting sponsor seminars from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge and Wines of Ontario

Dinner, at Victoria Chinese Restaurant will be preceded by a cocktail reception sponsored by Lifford Wines and Spirits and presented by the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association.  The Best Sommelier of Canada winner will be announced later in the evening. The Grand Prize will be presented to the winner by Gallo along with other prizes, including: trips to Argentina, flights around the world presented by the Vancouver International Wine Festival, a special trip arranged by Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, premium wines, spirits, fine Crystal from Nova Scotian Crystal, and more.

Winner of Best Sommelier of Canada earns the right to compete in Best Sommelier of The Americas in hopes of competing at Best Sommelier of the World.

Tickets and a full schedule are bc.sommelierscanada.ca/events

Neil Diamond – 50th Anniversary Tour

Neil Diamond – Rogers Arena – July 24, 2017

This week Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour made a stop at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.  The arena was nearly sold out as the lights dimmed, a video montage played and the band took their places onstage, then the solitary man walked out to take centre stage before rapturous applause.

With a massive catalogue spanning the decades since his start songwriting in Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, the 2 hour setlist had something for everyone, touching on memories from all corners of his discography.  Of course there was the requisite hits that had everyone singing and dancing. Cherry Cherry, Forever In Blue Jeans, Song Sung Blue, I Am…I Said,  You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (albiet without Barbra Streisand, instead a duet with Sax Player Larry Klimas).  As well Red, Red, Wine and I’m A Believer made more famous by others reminded us of his songwriting skills.  Capping off the night the encore was a sing-a-long as not a soul didn’t echo the ‘Ba Ba Baaas’ and ‘So Good So Good So Good” of Sweet Caroline to deafening effect, Cracklin’ Rosie lent more to the singing and Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show rounded out the set as the audience drifted out into the night humming to themselves any of the multitude of musical memories.

Even at 76 years old, Neil Diamond still makes performing seem effortless, while he may move a bit slower than he did 50 years ago, most of his audience probably has slowed down too. His 16 piece backing band has obviously been with him for decades as well even adding second generation players now. Individually and as a whole they make beautiful music as heard during their intros and the follow-up instrumental Jazz Time.  The troupe together don’t seem to show any signs that this Beautiful Noise can’t continue for many more years.

Neil Diamond’s 50th Anniversary Tour continues down the West Coast for the next two weeks then transfers to Europe for the Autumn.

Queen + Adam Lambert rock Vancouver

Queen + Adam Lambert – Rogers Arena – July 2, 2017

 Queen + Adam Lambert returned to Vancouver on Sunday night for a spectacular performance at Rogers Arena.  Before a most diverse audience, from children to seniors, Queen founders Brian May and Roger Taylor along with Adam Lambert brought the house down performing their vast catalogue of hits.

Even though he passed 27 years ago, the spirit of Freddie Mercury lives on in the fans, including the brilliantly dressed ‘Freddie’ working the arena in Yellow “A Kind of Magic” jacket, and the 5 year old Live Aid styled “Freddie’, as well his pre-recorded vocals and video highlights appeared during the concert.  In Adam Lambert, the band has found a singer who can complement the songs and legacy without being an imitation.  Respecting that Freddie Mercury paved the way for artists like Lambert to fuse camp theatricality, flashy costumes, shockingly red hair with great vocals.  Original members Brian May and Roger Taylor have said in the past that they aren’t replacing Freddie when they tour with someone, hence the billing as Queen + Adam Lambert. They are like a perfect duet, two individual acts that fit together; two of the best musicians in the world combined with an amazing vocalist, when they speak of each other one gets a sense of genuine respect and camaraderie.

From the beat of Another One Bites The Dust, to bluesy Fat Bottom Girls, to the pop of Don’t Stop Me Now and Somebody To Love or rockabilly on Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the Queen catalogue of hits is an eclectic mix of styles, genres and tempos.  The iconic Bohemian Rhapsody has all the genres in one song, and Adam Lambert deftly weaves the vocal variations and adds his own theatricality to the stage.  Even though their instrumental work is front and centre throughout, Brian May and Roger Taylor each had the opportunity to highlight their vocal skills too, with May handling the vocals and accoustic guitar on Love Of My Life (also featuring Freddie Mercury on video) and Taylor drumming and singing the duet with Lambert on Under Pressure (dedicated to David Bowie).  Over the two hour show, the set list builds to the highly anticipated encore of the legendary hits We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, with the whole of Rogers Arena singing along.

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While they may not live forever, in entrusting their catalogue to Adam Lambert, Queen has ensured that these hit songs are performed for a long time to come.

Queen + Adam Lambert North American Summer Tour continues around Canada and USA until August, before moving to Europe in the autumn.