Sunday, February 6, 2011

Connie Kaldor

Well, as I related in my last post, I used to go to concerts a fair bit when I was younger, but quit for several reasons. I’d pretty much given up on going to anymore but then I got the opportunity to go see Connie Kaldor a few weeks ago and I couldn’t say no!

In mid December, I got a call from a relative who asked if I still liked Connie Kaldor and if I’d like to go see her in January at the West End Cultural Centre. I said I didn’t get to listen to her a lot but still really enjoyed her work. I politely said thanks for thinking of me, however, I just couldn’t afford the ticket. At that point my wonderful relative told me that they were a Christmas gift and they wanted me to go and have fun!

WOW! Two tickets to an actual live concert! What a wonderful and generous surprise! It had been so many years! I really didn’t remember the last time I went to a concert. I couldn’t even remember when I had seen Connie Kaldor the first time other than it was sometime in the 1990’s at the WECC!

From what I recalled of that first concert, she put on a great show. There was lots of music and interesting stories. She really involved the audience in her shows and played off of them well.

I was excited at the prospect of seeing her again. I asked one of my gal pals to go with me.

The concert was slated for January 26 at the legendary WECC. Seating at the venue has almost always been rush and this concert was no exception. A few days before, I called to see if there was any way that I could reserve a couple of seats to the right side of centre about 2 or 3 rows back. It had been a long time since I had made that request there. They had always been helpful in the past and I hoped that the option might still be available. The gentleman I spoke with wasn’t aware of anything like that but also didn’t see why it couldn’t be done. He took down my information and said I should speak with the house manager the night of the show.

My gal pal and I got to the venue about 7:15 or so. The seats reserved were a bit further back than I had wanted but luckily there were two seats just to the right of centre in the second row! Now most people aren’t too crazy about sitting that close as you have to look up a bit to see the stage which is only about 3 feet above the main floor, but for me this was perfect! We settled in and waited for the show to begin...

Connie was introduced shortly after 8. From the moment she stepped on stage to the end of her second encore, she charmed and thoroughly entertained the audience! There was a story to tell with every song and Connie has a way of making everyone feel like they are an integral part of the evening. The running commentary between songs is often humorous and always informative. It makes you appreciate and understand the songs even more.

She opened with a commentary on coming back to Winnipeg and living in Canada in winter and comfortably slipped into “You’re All Right”. I didn’t keep track of all of the songs, but a few that I recall of the evening included: “Mother’s Prayer”; “Maria’s Place/Batoche”; “That’s What Mothers Do”; “What Might Have Been”, “Bird On A Wing “; “Wood River” and “Bigger Than Anything Else” (one of my all time favourites!).

Wood River Hall 2 from Connie Kaldor on Vimeo.

As well as singing, Connie played guitar or piano on most songs but also picked up a ukulele for “Okanagan Peaches”. Throughout the show, she was accompanied by her husband (and as she noted the “co-producer” of her children!) Paul Campagne and Bill Gossage. They contributed various stringed instruments (mostly different guitars) and backup vocals and occasional commentary!

There is always much humour in a Connie Kaldor show and you never really know what she might say. She plays so well to the audience that you can’t always tell how much is rehearsed and how much is off the cuff!

In the first set, she was introducing “Prairie Moon” which is one of those songs that is perfect for playing at socials. For the uninitiated, a social is a Canadian prairie thing that is basically a fundraiser for an engaged couple to help pay for some wedding expenses or to help a group raise money for some kind of project. They rent a hall and organize a dance with a DJ or a local band, silent auction, a cash bar and some food is served at midnight. I don’t recall her exact phrasing, but Connie seems to have summed up the social beautifully in that it is part of the circle of life or like being on a hamster wheel. You go to a social to help another couple out and end up meeting your significant other and next thing you know you are planning your own social. Some other couple meets through your social and then you are going to their social!

As she was talking about Socials and the food served at them, she commented that she had once written a song about Perogies. Her husband said that she HAD to sing it now that she’d talked about it. Well, since she was in Winnipeg and most Winnipeggers (Not this writer but that is another story!) loved their Perogies, it would be fitting to sing it here. She noted though that this wasn’t a song she could sing just anywhere as not everyone would understand the references or the innuendo! I don’t recall all of the lyrics but the gist of the song was about the advice of a grandparent to her grandson. The main line was something like “If you like her Perogies, she’ll like your Kielbasa!” Needless to say, the audience was in stitches and was singing along with her in no time!

There were a couple of country influenced songs - “Liar” and “Heartacheville” Both generously laced with puns and ironic humour!

She did a couple of songs for the kids (and kids at heart) in the audience; “A Poodle In Paris” (From the album of the same name) is a hoot and she even suggested that some audiences have been known to get up and do the Cancan during the song! “I Love That Dog” (from Small Cafe) was also done later in the evening.

It was a very appreciative audience throughout the evening and none of us wanted the evening to end! We brought her back for two encores. Personally, I could have listened to her for another couple of hours! She sang a number of songs that I recognized and a few that were new to me. There were a couple though that I was hoping to hear that she left off of this playlist – “Relax” (From the CD Out Of The Blue) and “Saskatoon Moon” (recorded with Roy Forbes).

If you have never been luckily enough to hear this talented lady in concert you really are missing something! Don’t take my word for it! You can listen to a number of her songs on her website. Just click on the music link then any of the album titles in the drop down box. Three cuts from each of the albums are available to listen to. There are also several songs from the kids albums on the kids link.

You should also check out The CBC Radio 2 Concerts On Demand: Connie Kaldor at the Segal Centre. The concert was recorded January 26, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec. Some of her dialogue with the audience is in French, but the track listing for this recording is similar to what I got to hear the other night and gives the listener a true sense of just how much fun and entertaining her shows are!

After listening to a few of the songs from any of her 14 CD’s or being at one of her concerts, if you don’t find yourself relating to the words, laughing, tapping your feet, singing along or wanting to hear more from this multitalented artist, then there is truly something wrong with your taste!



goozer said...

Thanks for this vibrant description. I feel like I was there too!?!

dnsyl57 said...

Thanks goozer!! It was a wonderful evening and I wish you could have been there too!! You'd have loved it! :-)