TO Jazz Review: Martha Wainwright, June 25, The Great Hall

Toronto – The Toronto Jazz Festival kicked off last night with a stellar performance by Martha Wainwright at The Great Hall. It was an amazingly intimate affair powered by some truly stunning vocals. Martha blew the roof of the hall as she sparrowed her way through songs by French singer Edith Piaf. I was completely unprepared for how consummate a musician she is. It’s too bad that much of the audience missed the first half of the set.

I was really looking forward to checking out The Great Hall; it was my first time at this venue. I arrived as per the website billing at 9 pm sharp, hoping that I’d have time to grab a drink before the show. To my dismay, the show was in full swing and had been for nearly 40 minutes. Apparently the actual show time was 8 pm. The lady at the door explained that they tried to delay as much as possible. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Factual error on the internet? Yeah right. Give me a break!” I know! I didn’t think it was possible either.

Martha, with a voice like that, I could never stay mad at you. Let`s never fight again.

Nevertheless, the management at The Great Hall isn’t so Great after all.  The fact of the matter is that The Great Hall doesn’t post event timing on their website, so the only resource we can go by is the main TO jazz site. If that website says 9 and the plan was to play at 8, then change the plan. Beg and plead with the artist and audience to start later. If someone asked Martha to come out and explain the situation and ask the audience if it was OK to start at 9 to accommodate the mixup, who would object? All I’m saying is $30 + ticketmaster surcharges is a lot to pay to miss half a set.

It’s a good thing that Martha’s performance was so captivating. Her stage banter was endearing and her voice has both nuance and power. Near the end of the set she was bobbing from side to side. Her antics painted a childish grin on my face. Martha, with a voice like that, I could never stay mad at you. Let`s never fight again. Many audience members sat down on the floor in the wings of The Great Hall to soak in the experience. If I had heard the entire set, this could very well have been my first 5 star review. C’etait vraiment incroyable.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Everything, Toronto Jazz Festival