Ron Sexsmith brought us a toe-tapping, head bopping good time at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. With Lori Cullen warming up the stage, everyone was in store for a fun night of smooth tunes.
Lori Cullen kicked off the show for us with her smooth voice, and her fun personality. She started with some slower songs, before picking up tempo and throwing a couple jazz numbers at us. I found Lori’s voice to be very well-suited for the jazz numbers. She showed immense control, and was able to transition from her high to low notes seamlessly.
Lori had everyone giggling when she told some of the horror stories of being famous. The two most memorable being that her colonoscopy doctor had seen her live in concert the night before. And that a lovely Scottish man named Rory, delivered her baby, before seeing her live in concert a couple years later. (Alas, she remembered him, but he did not remember her…)
What especially impressed me about Lori, was that she made herself present at the end of the show. I walked out of the theatre at the National Arts Centre, and there she was! Selling merchandise and chatting with fans. I went over to say hi, and introduce myself. She was very warm and receptive and seemed genuinely interested in chatting with everyone. If you get the chance, I recommend seeing Lori live.
After Lori finished her set with Paul McCartney’s Goodbye, there was a quick intermission before Ron and his band took the stage. Sexsmith dove straight into his first song. With his number Late Bloomer, he had the audience toe-tapping and bopping their heads right along to the beat.
Although man of few words, Sexsmith saluted the audience with his cup after every song, and would thank them for their cheers and hollers. One song that Sexsmith joked about was his hit The Idiot Boy. He told us, while laughing, that this song was currently number 2 in the charts… in Ireland! He then shook his head saying that it had yet to do anything here. Obviously those Irish have got something right. He told us that he wrote The Idiot Boy a while back, and can’t remember exactly why it came to be. He remembers it having something to do with the Clinton scandal, but says that it could also be applicable now, in light of the latest United States President. This was met with full belly-laughs and cheers from the audience – who were clearly not Trump’s biggest fans.
One interesting aspect of Sexsmith’s concert was the way the band would come and go. A couple of times throughout the show they would sneak out halfway through a song, as they did in his latest single Radio, leaving Ron alone on stage. This altered the whole vibe of the show, making it feel more intimate, and like at a coffeehouse or a talent showcase. This was an interesting technique – and definitely like nothing I had ever seen before.
The band members were also an integral part of Sexsmith’s show. They brought energy and fun; with the bassist and keyboardist feeding off each other’s playing, the pianist’s fun dances behind the keys, and the drummers fun kit cover of a Saint Bernard dog. The cover was later removed, after their hit Saint Bernard, to show a big picture of Sexsmith’s face.
Once he was finished his show, Ron Sexsmith came back and performed a few more encore songs. This was met with cheers from the audience, and everyone was playing their finger drums and had their toes wiggling. The audience was engaged the whole night, and would cheer over the opening chords for the songs they recognized, and would applaud vigorously for the end of new songs.
Overall, Sexsmith brought us a night of smooth listening with some fun twists. His lyrics were incredibly relatable and at times, I found myself just closing my eyes to absorb it all. I would recommend his live show to anyone wanting to hear some smooth, easy listening music.