Photographs by Ray Williams.
Jann Arden has never been by definition hip or cool, and that suits the Calgary native just fine. Something of a Canadian Institution some twenty-plus years into her career, Arden’s loyal fans packed Toronto’s Massey Hall, for the latest tour stop in support of her album Everything Almost.
A Jann Arden performance is almost a hybrid of a stand-up comedy routine and concert with the singer-songwriter’s self-deprecating humour in full force. Heckling the audience to running jokes about the show’s length to a staged moment of audience interaction turned selfie snapshot and absurd dance party with an enthused fan as Arden replied “I like your boobs.” She was, as always, on her game.
Sprinkling well-received new material throughout the night, an impromptu karaoke version of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” with the women of CTV’s The Social, to a Nina Simone cover, felt like the night went a little sideways. But Arden managed to ground the more absurd, free-spirited moments with in her catalogue of hits.
Arden felt at home pausing to offer colourful anecdotes to songs familiar to anyone who remembers Canadian Radio in the ‘90s, including a medley of songs from her 1994 disc, Living Under June, celebrating 20 years since its release. Loyal fans waiting to hear nostalgic hits like “Insensitive,” “Good Mother,” and “Unloved,” were rewarded throughout the night.
Arden is not flashy or trendy she’s never needed to be, whether people come for nostalgic hits, or the funny woman herself, Arden puts on a show worth watching.
Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.