Hometown hero Joel Plaskett highlighted the Halifax Pop Explosion by delighting two back-to-back sold out crowds at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Thursday and Friday.
On Friday night, Plaskett played a selection of his hits, as well as some duets with Mo Kenney, who also performed solo throughout the evening. Both were backed by Symphony Nova Scotia, which was conducted by Martin MacDonald.
Plaskett said playing with a full symphony behind his tunes was like “riding a wave” and the audience couldn’t agree more – there is nothing quite like seeing a full Symphony perform live, especially when fronted by some of Halifax’s pop icons.
Leaning heavily on his latest album Scrappy Happiness, Plaskett and his guests played for close to two and a half hours to a captivated crowd. Plaskett played an extended version of “Love This Town” during the first set, in which he weaved stories in a rambling blues fashion into his hometown hit.
Mo Kenney came onstage halfway through the first set, singing some songs off her debut self-titled album, which was recorded and produced by Plaskett. “Sucker,” her SOCAN songwriting prize winning track, sounded fantastic as a duo with Plaskett.
A new song Plaskett dubbed the “Park Avenue Sobriety Test” had the entire theatre singing along to what will probably become a favourite song to most local drinkers after it’s officially released.
The second half of the show started with Kenney. Her haunting tune “Scene of the Crime” was arranged beautifully for the orchestra by bassoonist Chris Palmer, who arranged Mo Kenney’s work for the evening. Plaskett’s songs were arranged for the orchestra by David Christensen.
“There’s a lot of you – holy crap!”, exclaimed Kenney to the sold-out crowd after a change in stage lighting. “I love you Morgan” shouted one fan, to which Kenney replied “I love you too…and now you know my real name!”.
Joel was also joined by Erin Costello and David Christensen at times during the show, as well as his father Bill Plaskett, to add icing on the cake of an already magical evening.