With a beautiful and powerful voice, and infectious love of music and playing live, Serena Ryder had the sold out crowd at the Rebecca Cohn clappin’ their hands and stompin’ their feet throughout the night.
The evening began with a lovely performance by Montreal’s Danielle Duval, who played a number of songs from her recently released album Of The Valley. Duval was the perfect warm-up to what was an unforgettable evening.
Serena Ryder is currently touring in support of her enormously successful album Harmony, which is nominated for two 2013 Juno awards (Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Single of the Year for “Stompa”). Ryder is the perfect musical combination: beautiful voice, charming personality, engaging stage presence, brilliant songwriter, and a bundle of energy. And she brought it all to The Cohn on Saturday night.
Playing most of the songs from Harmony, along with some all-time favourites, Ryder (and her terrific four-member band) had the crowd singing and clapping along right from the start. “Baby Come Back”, “What I Wouldn’t Do”, “Stompa” and the night’s closer “Circle of the Sun” are all “jump out of your seat and dance along” songs…and Ryder looked genuinely happy when any member of the seated crowd felt the need to get up and dance.
Other highlights of the concert were classics “Little Bit of Red” (especially when Ryder walked to the front of the stage while the audience sang the chorus); and the first song of the encore “Weak In The Knees” (another song where fans could not resist singing along).
Ryder’s sparkling personality also shone through when introducing a Nina Simone inspired new song “For You”.
My personal highlight was when Ryder brought 11-year-old Halifax singer Makayla Lynn to the stage to join her in singing the lovely “Please Baby Please”. What was originally supposed to be a back-up singer role turned into a duet between the two. There is no doubt that Ryder, who herself has been writing and singing since about the age of 11, saw something special in Makayla Lynn. This was a very touching tribute from a singer at the height of her stardom to someone who hopefully one-day will reach similar success. The crowd also heard and saw something special in the young Halifax singer as Makayla Lynn received thunderous applause throughout the song and upon completion. Here is the video (from Makayla Lynn’s Facebook page):
For her magnificent performance, Ryder received two well-deserved standing ovations. She plays the Rebecca Cohn again Sunday night. There are still limited tickets available. If at all possible, you should get out to this show.
To Serena Ryder…my utmost gratitude…and another standing ovation!
Author’s Note: I did not intend to review this concert when I arrived at the Rebecca Cohn. This was simply a fun night out with a group of friends. I took no notes, photos or video. However, after witnessing such a tremendous display of emotion, energy, musicianship and love of music, I felt the need to share the experience. Many thanks to those who shared their photos and video with me for this post.