Jeans ’n Classic kicks off season with music of Fleetwood Mac at Grand Theatre

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Next Thursday marks the return of Jeans ’n Classics to the Grand Theatre stage.

The made-in-London music showcase combines two styles that, on first blush, might not seem to have much in common. But even though the orchestra is front and centre, and the inspiration is often classic rock, don’t go thinking Jeans ’n Classics is an exercise in elevator music.

And just because the spiritual home for Jeans ’n Classics is a London landmark — the Grand Theatre — that doesn’t mean founder Peter Brennan and his crew limit themselves to playing only in the Forest City.

They’ve ranged all across North America in the more-than-20 years since he made the concept a reality.

“It always used to surprise me, almost annoy me, because people would say, ‘You play (in places) other than London?’ ” said Brennan.

It was his wife who pointed out to him that Londoners had no reason to know otherwise in the early days.

“Why should they know what we do?” he said. “As people become more aware, they realize it’s not just London.”

The Jeans ’n Classics website may say it best: “What began as seven scared people assembled for a one-off concert experiment with an equally nervous orchestra has grown into an ensemble of 30 people presenting 45 different pop/rock productions, with over 100 orchestras worldwide, to some 200,000 people annually.”

“You’re going to get your orchestra fix, your rock-band fix, a nostalgia tweak,” Brennan said, adding “You get the Grand Theatre. You get a whole vibe that goes with it.”

This is Brennan and company’s second season at the Grand.

He thinks the audience does pick up on the unique vibe of the storied space: “It feels like a very special sense of occasion. The Grand is physically beautiful, but there’s also an intimacy to it. It makes us feel pretty special,” to be on the same stage where so much London history has been made, he said.

The tickets for this season, which kicks off Aug. 17, have been selling quickly.

After the first show, which centres on the music of classic-rock stalwarts Fleetwood Mac, there are evenings dedicated to themes from the James Bond movies, a “bittersweet” look back at departed musicians David Bowie and Prince, a premier show celebrating all the great tunes that came out of the Brill Building, where songwriters such as Carol King cut their teeth, plus a John Lennon tribute to finish off the season.

When he plays for Londoners, Brennan will ask the audience who has been to see Jeans ’n Classics before.

“It is a really healthy combination (of first-time ticket buyers and longtime fans),” he said. “It’s a re-inventing kind of crowd.”

And he says first-time attendees often walk away surprised after the show.

“It’s different than what their perception may be,” he said. “Not only do you get the band, and some pretty fabulous vocalists, the difference being with us you get an orchestra.”

If you go

What: The Jeans ’n Classics Season

Where: The Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond St.

When: The music of Fleetwood Mac, Aug. 17; Shaken not stirred: The music of James Bond, Oct. 5; Bowie and Prince, Feb. 8; Notes from the Brill, April 5; Imagine: The music of John Lennon, May 26


Tickets: Singles are $84 and $67. Subscriptions start at $280. 

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