For the past 15 years Jackson-Triggs winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake has sponsored an outdoor amphitheatre concert series during the summer months. The ampitheatre is built into the side of a hill adjacent to the vineyard. There are only about 400 seats resulting in an intimate concert experience. The winery has a number of local food trucks on site for the evening and pours numerous wines. It offers a relaxed way to enjoy wine country at its best, while experiencing the talents of top Canadian performers and savouring Jackson-Triggs' outstanding VQA wine and local fare.
Back in April, when the line up was announced, I bought tickets to Jann Arden for Paul's anniversary gift. Jann Arden is a Canadian born, singer, songwriter, broadcaster and author. The much celebrated multi-platinum, award winning artist catapulted onto the Canadian music scene in 1993 with the release of her debut album "Time For Mercy" featuring the hit single, I Would Die For You. A year later with “Living Under June”, she would have her career break out hit Insensitive that would solidify her position in the music world. Arden has released 12 albums with 19 top ten singles. We've seen her perform a few times and always love her shows - she tends to add more between the songs than other performers do . . . talking about the inspiration of the song, what it means to her, he challenges she has faced as a performer, etc.
We hopped into the car on Saturday and made the trek to Niagara for the concert. We took our time - with the horrific 'let's head to Niagara on the weekend' traffic we could do noting but. We stopped for an early dinner/late lunch at one of our favourite BBQ restaurants, we meandered along the 'slow road' through the peninsula (even cutting off to see my grandparents old house in Grimsby - now torn down and replaced with a monstrosity apparently).
It was about 6:30 when we got to the winery and scored one of the last parking spots before the overflow lots across the street were called into service. Once we checked in we received a wine glass, wrist band, and a sticker with our name on it so we could reserve our seats.
Once they let folks in we just walked to a seat we thought we'd like, put our stickler on, and that was 'home' for the night. Once the seat was claimed you could wander the wine stands, food trucks, or lounge about on the lawns until the show started.
We lucked out - our seats were in the front row.
Jann started performing at 8:00. She had another guitar player, a keyboardist, and another back up musician who played keyboards, the mandolin, and violin. One of the neat features of the evening was when she asked each of the back up performers to lay and sign a song which resonated with them. It was amazing to hear the talent there from folks who normally toil away in the back ground.
Jann played all of her hits, some material from her last CD (happily not her upcoming Christmas CD - that would have been weird) and kept us in laughter all night with her patter.
Jann played an encore - introduced us all to her beloved dog midi - and the band took a final bow.
It was a wonderful evening - there really isn't anything better than a performer at the top of their game in a casual, intimate setting. Happily we hadn't been in attendance the night before when a thunderstorm cut the evening short. We were treated to amazing music under the stars . . .