Mavis Staples is a tour de force. Her show at the Orpheum Theatre on Monday night sometimes resembled a revival meeting, with Staples rousing her converts to ever more vigorous cheering and applause.
Staples held the audience in her hands right from the start, and didn’t let them go until she had actually shaken the hands of a good number of them
Staples was in Vancouver as part of a double header concert with Jonny Lang, as part of their short tour through Western Canada. Although this might seem like an odd pairing, it worked well, as throughout Staples’ long and illustrious career she has partnered with artists as diverse as Salt N Pepa, and Gorillaz.
Not only were songs such as Take Us Back, and Slippery People a joy to listen to, but Staples storytelling was also compelling. Freedom Highway was interspersed with Staples accounts of her time on the Civil Rights marches of the 1960’s, with staples declaring she was there, and she is still here. And still here she very much is both musically and politically. Her latest album If All I Was Was Black, has a theme of bringing people together, facing head on the issues she sees in her country.
I was there, and I am still here, still working everyday, A Soldier fighting for Love, Hope and Peace
Overall the set had a theme of peaceful coexistence, with sings such as Love and Trust, and Dedicated.
Towards the end of the set the song Touch A Friend, Make A Friend, so Staples reaching out and shaking the hand of anyone that wanted to, which was a warm gesture to an appreciative audience.
The set closed out with the thought provoking No Time for Cryin’, and a well-earned standing ovation.
Check out our images from the show below.
Photos: Stewart Johnstone