The Orpheum. For Vancouverites, this gilded building is well known as one of the finest concert venues around town. It is intimate, elegant, and has hosted symphonies and rockstars in near-equal numbers. Last night, Montreal's popular Stars and their special guests Hey Rosetta!, paid a visit, as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Hey Rosetta! brought the house to a standing ovation that roared on for minutes after they exited the stage, guitars in hand, the echoes of their song A Thousand Suns still rebounding thank-yous off the Orpheum's walls. Stars entered to more thunderous applause, throwing white roses into the audience throughout their stunning performance, and featuring several new songs from an upcoming album.
If encountering these bands from the steats in the Orpheum is stunning, however, the experience from backstage is infinitely more so.
After pulling a couple strings, Christina Adams, VANOC's Manager of Education Programs and frequent Students Live chaperone, lead us outside, around a corner, and backstage through a heavily guarded door. There, giddy with excitement, we practically skipped through a narrow hallway and to the dressing rooms, brainstorming questions along the way.
In the dim light of Hey Rosetta!'s dressing room, we suddenly found ourselves chatting with Amy Millan, singer and guitarist of Stars and Tim Baker, lead singer of Hey Rosetta!. After introductions and a reenactment of being drunkenly rejected from the Dutch House, Millan excused herself, retreating to her own dressing room, and Baker led us into the quieter area at the back of the room for an interview.
Sitting on a little wooden chair, he described his awe at The Orpheum."This building, it seems like it could maybe only exist somewhere like Vancouver." He mused, gesturing around him."I didn't even know that these kind of places existed."
"The whole town is a buzz." He continued, describing the atmosphere in the theatre and the Cultural Olympiad. "There's so much more going on than you might imagine."
We asked him how he thought Canadian music stands up on an international level, and he praised what Canada has to offer. "You know, we've toured all across Canada, and most of my favourite bands are ones we've toured with." The proof of that was in his obvious admiration for the night's headlining act.
Reflecting on the evening, Tim smiled."It was a beautiful, beautiful night."
I think it's safe to say that everybody else at the Orpheum agreed.