When Quebec signer and piano man Gregory Charles grew up, his Trinidadian dad and Québécoise mum filled his imagination with stories of cozy music clubs lit by candlelight and the warmth of some international megastar’s dulcet tones. Well, he’s built himself such a club, and in it he serves the world’s greatest hits – all in a single show…
Right there on the edge of the St. Lawrence in the Old Port, lies the Vintage theatre – a custom-made temporary music club where patrons sit at little round tables stage-side and enjoy the a tumbler of whiskey while watching a dazzling light show and listening to live music that spans gravelly Joe Cocker to mellifluous Adele. Charles conceived of this show to match his particular talents, which are incredible: name a song, any song, and chances are he – and his gifted band – can play it to perfection. Not only that, they’ll mash it up with another song, or two – or three, and potentially play with the lyrics to address something that’s going on in the crowd.
There was never a more interactive show than this one – from the moment you buy you’re tickets, you’re invited to fill in a questionnaire and tell Charles and his peeps all about your musical tastes. The show is different every night, based on people’s suggestions – there are polls of the whole audience (which is your favourite music decade?) but also specific shout-outs, and thanks to an instant-messaging system, pretty funny live banter between Charles and audience members.
The mood of the whole one-man show is definitely vintage, because you get to hear tunes from decades past, but also very new age. Charles has found a way to make the constant use of one’s smart phone a fun thing, rather than an annoying one. But overall, it’s really about the music – it’s crazy how adaptable his voice is, and his piano playing is flawless, whether he’s doing Stevie Wonder or Billy Joel. And of course, who he’s doing is up to you!