Date and Venue 30 March @ 8 pm Orpheum Theatre

Evan Mitchell , Conductor

Judy Collins , Entertainer

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Legendary Judy Collins! Legendary indeed is this great entertainer who performed for one night only with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Evan Mitchell, in a special concert featuring hits like Both Sides Now, Send in the Clowns, Someday Soon and many more of her classic songs.

My teenage years came back to me remembering how in the 60s she thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique interpretation and style. I'm just amazed that at 70, she could still hit those high notes and hold her breath as she ends her songs. In this concert, she sang a blend of different songs from the Golden era to folksongs and contemporary themes. When she introduced her song "Mountain Girl", she talked about moving from Colorado to New York and meeting such artists as Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen and Pete Seeger. She even joked about meeting a drunk in a bar, and punched in, "That was Bob Dylan". Collins is an entertainer indeed. She even got the audience to sing along with her."It's been almost 50 years that I've been doing this", she said. What charisma!

Collins started off in the first half of the show with her rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" which first appeared in her classic 1967 album, Wildflowers. "Both Sides Now" has since been entered into the Grammy's Hall of Fame. She concluded her programme with another award-winning song, her version of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" which won the "Song of the Year" award at the 1975 Grammys.

Sanity and Grace, A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength, is a deeply moving memoir, focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy. The book speaks to all who have endured the sorrow of losing a loved one before their time. In the depths of her suffering, she composed a song dedicated to her son, "Wings of Angels", and although she didn't talk about it, everyone in the audience knew, as she sang, that it was about her son. She found relief by reaching out to others for help and support. In the late 1990s, during the Clinton administration, she said she was in Sarajevo as a UNICEF ambassador during the civil war there, and she remembers going to a school where there were children who were being taught how to identify land mines. "On the table, the mines were in the form of toys and Coca-Cola bottles", she said. Afterwards she sang a song she composed about the horrors of that war.

It was a terrific show that lasted more than two hours. There were applauses and shouts for an encore number from the audience, but the house lights came up. I'm sure she would have sung an encore number if the lights didn't come up.

© 2009 Ed Farolan