Years ago, a young comedian on "The Tonight Show" was describing the difference between California girls and Canadian girls.
"California girls want to hop in the hot tub and play dive for the soap," he said, "but you have to take a Canadian girl out three times just to get one kiss. Canadian girls are soft-spoken, a bit old-fashioned, conservative but aware, very aware."If you wonder why Anne Murray's concerts always do so well in a state like Utah, well, she's a Canadian.
And Tuesday was Anne Murray night at Symphony Hall. Dress of the day was silver and black, order of the day was hit after hit after hit.
After apologizing because she feels responsible for every cold front that comes south from Canada, Murray warmed everyone up with "Danny's Song," and a medley that included "Another Sleepless Night," "I Want to Sing You a Love Song," "Broken Hearted Me" and "Just Another Woman in Love."
A few days ago in a preconcert interview, Murray said that everyone's heard the songs she sings, but they're often amazed to learn that she was the one who made them hits.
You could hear that comment bubbling about Symphony Hall Tuesday.
Easy-going, personable, her stage patter was low-key but spontaneous for the most part; the kind of off-the-cuff self-effacing humor that goes down easy and well in the American West.
In between pithy comments and Top 10 songs, she showcased several tunes from her new album "You Will." The lack of enthusiasm over its release became a running gag for the evening.
But the songs were anything but jokes. "Bluebird" is a Calypso tune that should easily go gold as soon as radio stations pick it up. And "Is There a New Way Out?" is one of the finest hard country numbers since, well, since Murray did "Can I Have This Dance?"
The first set closed with the song that got her where she is: "Snowbird."
After a 20-minute intermission, the singer was back in pink shorts and some of her more up-tempo numbers. A dance step or two - complete with top hat and cane - a few roses from the audience, an introduction of her international band (French Canadians to South Africans on board there) and she was ready to call it quits.
As the show wound down, however, everyone in the hall knew she wouldn't get out alive without doing "You Needed Me." She set the song apart with a nice mood change and some soft lighting.
After "Shadows in the Moonlight" she was gone, leaving the crowd to wonder what happened to "Could I Have This Dance?"
It was there, but in the encore.
In the end, it was a one-woman show staged and played much like a Las Vegas lounge act. Non-threatening, cool, clever, well-rehearsed.
It was the kind of show that flies well in Salt Lake City, the type of act guys like Bruce Granath of Space Agency can go to the bank on.
The promoters went to the bank Tuesday as the house was sold out.
As for Murray, she'll be back. She's been here half-a-dozen times but knows she can always get a date in Salt Lake City.
They love her here.
And, being the conservative, soft-spoken soul you don't kiss until the third date, you get the feeling Anne Murray feels a little bit of nostalgia for good old Nova Scotia every time she drops into town.
She'll be back.