Ocie Elliott at Orpheum Theatre

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Vancouver’s historic Orpheum Theatre provided a beautiful backdrop for Ocie Elliott’s largest headlining show to date. On December 2, the Victoria-based duo, composed of Jon Middleton and Sierra Lundy, provided the nearly sold-out venue with a warm hug of a night, sharing their beautiful harmonies with a captivated crowd.

The concert opened with an engaging set by Ashleigh Ball, known as the frontwoman of Vancouver’s Hey Ocean!. Her impressive vocal range, flute solos and laugh-out-loud banter between songs were a strong start to the evening. She left me wanting more and, judging by the murmurs of admiration following her set, I wasn’t the only one.

Ocie Elliott took to the stage amid a backdrop of hexagonal lights that, at times, added a fireside-like glow to the theatre. Their set was a thoughtful mix of songs from their discography, including the well-loved “Down by the Water,” which the pair revealed was written on a beach here in Kitsilano, and several new tunes from their recently released EP, Know the Night. The crowd was treated to some call-and-response harmonica moments, as well as a haunting cover of “Helplessly Hoping” (Crosby, Stills and Nash), which fans of their popular Live from the CRV YouTube series would recognize. 

The addition of trombonist Dave St. Jean and trumpet player Phil Hamelin during the final two songs of their setlist, “Run to You” and “Forest Floor,” added a beautiful richness to their sound. Following an encore that included the fittingly titled “Take Me Home,” the pair left the stage with the audience on its feet.

After previously seeing the duo in a much more intimate setting, I’ll admit I was curious how their performance would connect at a venue of the Orpheum’s scale. It’s not easy to make a room of 2,700 people go quiet, but Jon and Sierra’s music has a mesmerizing way about it that seems to capture their audiences in a daze of blissful calm. When music appears that effortless, you can be sure it’s anything but. 

Their show left me feeling a little less heavy and a little more connected, and goodness knows we could all use more of that.

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