Last night I got the opportunity to see Chantal Kreviazuk play a very small and intimate club in Los Angeles called, The Hotel Cafe. The venue can hold about one hundred fifty people, so it was pretty small and the venue wasn’t the easiest to find, fortunately, Google Street View maps made it relatively easy thanks to being able to identify the surrounding businesses.
Chantal was third on the lineup of four artists performing each performing for about 45 minutes starting at the top of the hour with the first artist taking the stage at seven. Tickets to the event were not sold in advance online so it was kind of a crap shoot to just drive on up to Los Angeles from San Diego. But what the hell, I took a couple days extra off work to do this as I love Chantal’s music and it was worth it to me to come. I didn’t even know how much the tickets would be at the door either. So when I got to the venue and found out they were only $8, it was one of the best concert bargains all year.
I invited my friend Rod Reynolds, who lives in Los Angeles. Like me he is also a fellow Canadian and funny enough, he originates from Edmonton and I originate from Calgary, so I’m quite amused by the fact that San Diego and Los Angeles kind of replicate that major city separation that’s present between Calgary and Edmonton. Rod also likes Chantal and he wasn’t aware she was playing in L.A., so he was glad to be informed she was going to be playing.
Chantal was using her set to try out a few of the new songs from her her upcoming album that will get released in Canada in September. The album is being called “Plain Jane” which according to her blog is about the relative anonymity she has in the United States as opposed to the headliner status she enjoys in Canada. It creates a nice dichotomy being a star in one country and just an everyday person in the other. From what it sounds like is that she has homes in both Canada and Los Angeles so that she can get away from celebrity status every once in a while.
As the show started she jokingly asked if it was just all family and immediate friends in the audience as she recognized the laughter of one of her friends. She presented a lot of songs from the new album, and in her performance she only did two songs from her previously released songs, the first being “Surrounded” which was her very first hit. And the second was “Ghosts Of You” from her most recent album. I’m very excited with the new songs, they all sounded fantastic and I can’t wait to get them properly on her new album. The only ones that were familiar were the ones she’s already made public in some fashion like “Ordinary People” which can be downloaded for free from Garnier Nutrisse in Canada, “Invincible” which can be heard on her Myspace and Facebook pages, and the partial video clip of the song “Today” is available on her Facebook page. (I’ve posted links to locations to hear the mentioned songs if one exists, so just click on the song title to hear those songs.)
Chantal also has a special surprise for the audience as well. To help her out on stage in addition to the wonderful percussionist and violinist who were on stage with her for nearly the whole time, Chantal has Chris Botti come out to play her trumpet with her on the title track from the new album called “Plain Jane.” For those who aren’t familiar, Chris Botti had Chantal as a featured vocalist for the song “The Look Of Love” on his album “A Thousand Kisses Deep.” “The Look Of Love” as performed by Chris Botti and Chantal Kreviazuk is probably the sexiest version that I’ve ever heard of the classic song originally made famous by Dusty Springfield.
I think one of the advantages of seeing Chantal Kreviazuk in Los Angeles is that she has access to special guests like Chris Botti. The first time I saw Chantal Kreviazuk it was at the El Ray Theater in Los Angeles and she had Randy Newman come out to play piano for her while she sang “Feels Like Home” which he wrote. The second time I saw Chantal was in San Diego where she was opening for Jason Mraz, who I hadn’t heard of at the time, so it was the first time I ever bought a ticket to a show just to see the opening act, and ended up sticking around for the whole show because I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable he was as well.
I feel quite fortunate to have had the chance to see Chantal perform three times now, and as much as I would really like to see one of her shows in Canada just to experience one of her arena shows, I think the small intimate settings have been a great way to see Chantal. And it’s also been good for me to get a chance to meet Chantal as well. When I saw her for the second time she announced she was going to be at the merchandise stand to meet people who wanted to come see her so I was able to meet her then. She graciously signed copies of her first three albums for me and posed for a photo with me. I think she could tell I was definitely a fan because the versions of her albums I presented her to sign were the Japanese pressing of her first album “Under These Rocks And Stones,” the Canadian edition of her “Colour Moving And Still” Album, and the Canadian special edition version of her “What If It All Means Something” album. When I met her then she also asked if we had met before, and at that time the answer was no.
This time I again got to pose for a picture with Chantal again, and this time I just presented the US Best Buy Exclusive bonus disc sleeve from her “Ghost Stories” album to be signed. I tend to get a little nervous around celebrities that I like but fortunately I was able to tell her I came up from San Diego to see her show and that I can’t wait for her new album. She did ask me again if we had met before, and this time I could definitely say yes. I also was able to get a photo of Chantal with my friend Rod, so I’m including both the photos of her with us fellow So-Cal Canadians.
And on the way out, they were selling copies of Chantal’s Greatest Hits album that was only released in Canada. I never bothered to import it at the time of its release because it didn’t have any songs on it that I didn’t already have. But since it was here and only $10, I had to have a copy of it to complete my collection. For those not familiar with Chantal, it would definitely be a great collection to try Chantal’s music out. I think it’s a great selection of songs that represent her four previous albums very well. Click here to get it from Amazon Canada.