Fun fact: On June 25, 1967, 400 million viewers from around the globe tuned in to watch Our World, the first live, international, satellite television production in history. It featured the live debut of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love”. Among millions around the world who were born on that day, one, now celebrating his 51st birthday, boarded the SkyTrain from Metrotown station with his wife, and the two headed to the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver. Those were just two who attended a very special event: multiplatinum pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen performing with The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Both are JUNO Award winners.
Working mainly with material from her Polaris short-listed album Emotion, Chris Mayo arranged the pieces for a full symphony orchestra. Carly had previously performed with the Toronto and Indianapolis Symphonies. Lucas Waldin was to conduct the VSO for Jepsen’s third symphonic collaboration.
The theatre filled to capacity, the lights dimmed, and the conductor emerged. Following an orchestral intro, Waldin asked the crowd to welcome a first-time performer with the symphony – Carly Rae Jepsen. When she appeared on stage, the crowd went nuts. All dolled up in a beautiful black and gold dress, and blonde locks, Carly belted out the words to “Run Away with Me” and followed it up with three more tracks from her critically acclaimed album. The arrangements were beefed up with strong drum beats and some fine guitar work from her right-hand man, Tavish Crowe. After the set, Jepsen announced she would take a break and allow the symphony to perform a piece of classical music, Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”. The conductor said it was Carly who had chosen it.
Jepsen re-emerged to offer two more tracks but this time in a lighter string quartet arrangement, and then, as is traditional with orchestral performances, a 20-minute intermission ensued.
A second classical piece was delivered beautifully by the orchestra, again chosen by Carly, Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Jepsen re-emerged with a short fluffy bright red dress to begin her second set. The crowd was fairly even in terms of males and females, mostly millennials with some members of generation X and a few iGens and boomers. All in all, a nice mixture of ages. Apparently, some had travelled from other cities to be there.
Of the dozen or so songs Carly performed through the evening, one had the crowd cheer so loudly, it’s a wonder that the roof wasn’t blown off the theatre, and that song was “Cut to the Feeling”. By this time, all were on their feet swinging and dancing away. Carly had joked that all should feel free to stand up and boogie but teased she may respond by performing a ballad. She finished the final set with “Call Me Maybe” which had everyone singing along. She exited, and, of course, returned for an encore. The evening was capped off with her performance of gold single “I Really Like You”.
Afterwards, Carly Rae Jepsen commented, “A night I shall not soon forget!! Thanks to all who made it possible! @vsorchestra @tavishcrowe @lucaswaldin @Cjsmayo and every single heart in the Orpheum tonight!”