A Great Big World bring a storm every time they come to Toronto. No joke. After their show at the Mod club on March 3rd was cancelled due to the biggest snowstorm of the entire year, A Great Big World brought the storm back to the Opera House on April 4th. Thankfully, this time the storm was inside, and a lot less dangerous.
The night started out a little quieter for my sister and I, though by no means less exciting. Once again, I treated myself to a pair of VIP tickets (when don’t I?) which meant that I had the chance to meet the incredibly kind and optimistic souls behind A Great Big World, Chad King and Ian Axel, as well as enjoy an acoustic session.
Meeting Ian and Chad is like meeting the human version of their song Cheer Up. I have honestly never heard any music that makes me as genuinely happy as A Great Big World and meeting the beautiful people behind that music makes that understandable. They were incredibly generous with their time and attentive and genuine and just friendly, good people.
Of course, I had to use my time to ask them some questions! Since they have been talking about a musical they’ve been writing for years, and since that musical sounds so super exciting, I obviously had to ask what it is about! Unfortunately, they couldn’t say much other than what I already knew. But after being bribed with a bag of sunflower sprouts to keep healthy on tour (they are health fanatics!) they were willing to part with a two word clue about the plot. Not that I would ever betray their trust and put that info on the internet (I swore that I wouldn’t! Sorry!). Anyway, keep your eye out for Strokes of Genius, there should be more information about their musical after April 26!
Also as a trumpet player and passionate trumpet fan I had to ask Chad how long he’s been playing for! He said since he was in grade six but that he doesn’t play much anymore (which can’t be true because they have Land of Opportunity on the setlist).
It was magical to watch their stripped down versions of Shorty Don’t Wait and Say Something. Ian rocked the ukulele rather than his usual piano and their guitar player also joined in the acoustic session. Shorty Don’t Wait heavily features Chad’s skillfully powerful vocals and was a total treat standing a couple feet away. Say Something nearly made me cry even while accompanied by the contrastingly joyful twanging of the ukulele. Ian’s voice has the most enchantingly gorgeous tone, absolutely captivating and surprisingly strong. After the set they couldn’t say enough nice things about Canada: it has a positive energy that you can’t find anywhere else and they can’t way to come back!
The actual show was everything I ever hoped it would be and more. The positive vibes were through the roof and whole band was great at interacting with the crowd, making everyone
feel important. I have never witnessed anybody play the piano, an immobile instrument, with the energy and passion of Ian Axel. Honestly, I could have just watched him the whole time except that Chad was just as energetic, running around to keep the whole crowd engaged and moving his hands emotively along with the music.They kept the energy high with songs like “Kaleidoscope”, “End of the World”, and “This is the New Year” and brought it down for some magical quiet moments such as “Where Does the Time Go” and “One Step Ahead” which Ian used as an opportunity to tell everyone he is getting married next week since he proposed using that song (which is so cute, congrats)! My personal highlights were when Ian and Chad performed Futuristic’s rap during Hold Each Other, the entirety of Everyone is Gay (since Chad was feeling “especially gay” that night) and (predictably) when Chad played the trumpet solo during Land Of Opportunity! Also the beauty in way their voices contrast and weave together during their harmonies is something that I will remember and appreciate forever in their music.
Even though the Kaleidoscope tour is over they still have some summer tour dates which you can check out here
You can check out my other article about A Great Big World here