Seeing Dolly Parton perform live at the Molson Amphitheatre was like a dream coming a true. No, I didn’t grow up dreaming of seeing that blonde country singer with the big boobs who sings sad songs, but Dolly’s music always seemed to be playing somewhere in the background. What made seeing the country legend perform live for nearly two hours ethereal was the collectively warm ethos of the audience. With their hybrid, modern takes on country garb, everyone was just so…happy. It was a nice environment to be part of.
When the pint-sized singer took to the stage, it was like a queen sitting at her throne. There was a definitive feel of reverence for the woman who has endured fame for over 50 years. From her infectious giggle to her sometimes salty anecdotes, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
Her setlist perfectly captured her multi-decade songwriting successes. There was some bluegrass, a few early hits, and even some gospel, but it was when the opening notes of Islands in the Stream and the ubiquotous 9 to 5 filled the theatre did it begin to feel like church on a sunday…in a good way.
This woman is a knockout, true talent. Her vocals were beyond crisp, and her penchant for rhinestones and glitter was not hidden in any way. I’m very grateful I got to see her.
Favorite performance? Hmm, tough one. Obviously I want to say Nine to Five, but if I had to choose, Coat of Many Colors really hit home (as it usually always does). I wish she did sing “Hard Candy Christmas”, but hey, she couldn’t sing everything.
In honor of my last day of vacation and my current state of being well rested, here’s a little video of Belle & Sebastian busting out the goodness. It was taken in 2011 at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Thursday, June 25th was a night to remember. Not for the choral renditions of the songs that are embossed within our brains, but because of the sheer showmanship of a certain Shania Twain.
Starting with the titular song Rock This Country, Twain stormed the stage looking even better than she has ever before. While the bare midriff baring outfits have gone by the way side, the snazzy disco-inspired shiny one-pieces worn by Twain perfectly accented her parade of non-stop hits that had the 14,000 plus people in attendance dancing in their too-small seats.
Quickly moving through her endless catalogue, Shania managed to hit every note and sing, literally, every song that she’s made famous throughout the years. It had been a LONG TIME since I’ve been to a concert where I stood the whole time, ensuring that I danced just the right amount so as to not annoy the cowboy wearing people behind me and the small, fearful couple on either side. I was truly mesmerized at Shania’s charisma and stamina and ability to command a crowd full of every demographic possible.
Personal favorite part? That’s got to be the encore where she changed into thigh high boots and a cape (!) to sing her karaoke-laden hit Man! I Feel Like a Woman! Let me tell you – she sang every exclamation mark in a song heavy of them.
Part Vegas revue, part arena tour, seeing Shania was like throwing on your favorite, hideous fleece sweater that always manages to make you feel better and that you’re not shy to wear around others. It was soul food, and I hadn’t realized how hungry for it I was until the music ended.
Upon first learning that the one and only Bette Midler was going to perform in Toronto there was no hesitance in knowing that we would go. How could we pass up the opportunity to visit the legendary woman who starred in everyone’s favorite films like Beaches (sniff, sniff) and The Rose.
I’m happy to say that Ms. Midler did not fail to deliver nearly two hours worth of hits and covers and a general feeling of adoration and gratitude. With a backdrop such as this….
we knew that we would be in for a show of grandiose imagery, dramatics, and a voracious display of pure talent…and that’s what we got.
Starting with a few songs from her new album “It’s the Girls,” Bette soon delved into her timeless repertoire of hits. Among the crowd pleasers were obviously “The Wing Beneath My Wings” and “The Rose,” but also other gems like “From a Distance” and the gut-wrenchingly emotional “Stay With Me.”
A true showgirl, Bette graced the enthusiastic crowd with two encores where she showed her genuine gratitude to the audience who have helped her maintain success in the fickle industry that is show business. I was in awe not only at her raw vocal prowess, but it was her ability to keep the thousands of people riveted from song to song.
We had incredible seats to take in the spectacle, and a spectacle it was.