Show Review – Marie-Mai

By: Dutch Bickell

When: 17 December 2015 to 10 January 2016
Venue: Théâtre Saint-Denis
Where: Montreal, Quebec

These days to sell out any concert tour is a hard feat for any artist on any level of success. To sell out almost an entire run of a theatrical concert residency is a mark of how truly successful and lasting a talented artist can be. Selling out 20 plus shows at the Théâtre Saint-Denis in Montreal, Maire-Mai proves that after almost a year and a half since her last major stage appearance that she still has the talent and charm to entertain her fans. Running between 17 December 2015 and 10 January 2016, Marie-Mai played to a packed house for a total of 22 performances in 25 days.

When you have five studio albums, two live concert DVD’s, and dozens of music videos you know you have cultivated quite the musical media library to put together an extravagant live show. Armed with hits over the past eleven years, six back up dancers, and her five piece band ensemble Marie-Mai tirelessly worked towards putting together a show her fans would enjoy and remember for a long time. Enlisting the help of Jonathan Lewis (set design) and Steve Bolton (choreography), Marie-Mai puts on a show that would rival any top selling act on the music scene today.

Costume changes, meticulously placed lighting, and professional dancers are a must for creating a live show that both wows and touches an audience, but the final details are always in the set list selection. Selecting songs that have been performed tirelessly for the past eleven years is a hard task for any artist. Marie-Mai was very diligent in selecting songs she knew she wanted to perform as well as songs she knew in her heart her fans would love to hear. “When I think of a residency show, I immediately see the opportunity to do something spectacular, a totally different concert experience.” explains Marie-Mai via Productions J“Being night after night in the same place gives us a lot of different and delicious possibilities. A bit like what we find in the great shows in Vegas!”

With five studio albums, InoxydableDangereuse AttractionVersion 3.0Miroir, and M, Marie-Mai managed to squeeze 25 songs into the jam packed set list.The set list included; “Je Reviens,” “C.O.B.R.A.,” “Ne M’ecoute pas,” “Emmène-moi,” “Mentir,” “Déjà loin,” “Secrets,” “Qui prenda ma place,” “Tourner,” “Indivisible,” “Lean On/Sorry,” “ Sans Cri Ni Haine,” “À bout portant,” “Conscience,” “Garde tes larmes,” “Almost,” “ Différents,” “ Rien à perdre,” “Jet Lag,” “Je Cours,” “C’est moi,” and “ Encore une nuit.” Marie-Mai also included a few cover songs to showcase her musical diversity. An awesome rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and a cover of Taylor Swift’s mega hit “Blank Space” made the cut. Turning “Blank Space” into a beautiful ballad shows just how well an artist can interpret a song and make it their own. Also I am sorry Taylor Swift, but it finally took a complete francophone performing one of your biggest hits for me to finally hear and understand all of the words in “Blank Space.”

With a tight set list, Marie-Mai also took the time to mix up the arrangements of her originals. Tempo and instrumentation changes kept the songs fresh and updated. When you have performed some of your biggest hits for years, as an artist the music is constantly changing. Marie-Mai continues to be inventive and intuitive with her performances.

Highly thought out and well executed, Marie-Mai’s residency at the Théâtre Saint-Denis was successful, and for all the right reasons. The non-stop show was tight, well-rehearsed, and completely entertaining to long time and new fans alike. The dancers, band, and Marie-Mai herself were all on point night after night. Marie-Mai had international fans travel all over the world, and as far as Brazil to come and see her perform at this classic Montreal venue. With the residency now in her rear view mirror, 2016 is a blank canvas and I am excited to see what Marie-Mai will come up with next!

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