Third Eye Blind: Summer Gods Tour

Third Eye Blind and Silversun Pickups
When: June 28, 2017
Where: Echo Beach – Toronto, ON
Seats: General Admission

THE COMPANY

I went to this one with concert-buddy Marco, and honestly it was probably the most chill show I’ve been to in a long time. Neither of us were like “super fans” of Third Eye Blind – only knowing a handful of songs each; we were just happy to spend a night on the beach and get to listen to some tunes.

THE PERFORMANCE

When Third Eye Blind came out, the crowd went nuts. The beginning of their set was pretty slow, and I was wondering when it was going to pick up. That’s when they announced they’d be playing their debut album front to back, and the show kicked into gear. Even the songs I wasn’t familiar with made me want to dance. But of course, I think everyone was expecting those mega-nostalgic hits to be the highlights of the show, and the band delivered! From the very first chord of “Semi-Charmed Life”, “Jumper”, “Never Let You Go”, and “How It’s Gonna Be”, the entire audience cheered and began screaming the lyrics along. Overall, the show was pretty upbeat and fun, but my mood was kind of mellow.

THE AUDIENCE

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this audience, honestly. But the crowd was made up of a lot of people in their 20s and 30s who were ready for a night of 90s nostalgia. It was kind of awesome to see hundreds of drunk people screaming along to “Jumper” like their lives depended on it.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. Weightless
  2. Company of Strangers
  3. Horror Show ♥
  4. Wounded
  5. Queen of Daydreams
  6. Shipboard Cook
  7. Losing a Whole Year ♥
  8. Narcolepsy ♥
  9. Semi-Charmed Life ♥
  10. Jumper ♥
  11. How It’s Gonna Be ♥
  12. Thanks a Lot
  13. Burning Man
  14. Good for You
  15. London ♥
  16. I Want You
  17. The Background
  18. Motorcycle Drive By ♥

Encore:
19. Never Let You Go ♥
20. God of Wine

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Train: Play That Song Tour

Train with O.A.R and Natasha Bedingfield
When: June 21, 2017
Where: Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON
Seats: General Admission – Lawn

THE COMPANY

When these tickets dropped on Groupon for $15, I knew I had to snatch them up! And I asked one of my besties, Nikki, to come along – to which she obviously said yes, because why would someone not say yes to $15 concert tickets? Who knows.

And then this opportunity got even more awesome when we got to the venue and apparently the show didn’t sell out – which, okay, I guess isn’t great for them – but it was great for us, because they were upgrading people who had lawn seats! So we ended up in the 300-section instead of two sections back, sitting on the grass. So that was nifty.

THE PERFORMANCE

It wasn’t until a few days before the concert that I realized how many Train songs I knew. Obviously, Drops of Jupiter. But I couldn’t believe how many hits they had. And I recognized even more of them at the show. Train would launch into the next song, and I’d start singing along; something in the back of my mind remembered lyrics to Meet Virginia from years ago. But the band was incredible and so high energy the whole time.

I particularly liked the fact that Train brought out the two opening acts (Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R) at separate points during their set to do a song collaboratively. A lot of the time, people aren’t there to see the opening acts, so it was cool to see how supportive and excited the audience was to see them back again to perform with the headliner.

Some favourites are marked in the setlist below, but I really enjoyed getting to hear Drive By, Hey Soul Sister, and their cover of Queen/Bowie’s “Under Pressure” was absolutely fantastic.

THE AUDIENCE

The audience may not have been as high-energy as the band on stage, but they were definitely excited to be at this show. I always find it interesting to see the crowds at shows and see who is a fan of the band. I’m into some pretty diverse stuff and I don’t typically enter any “fan communities”, so I’m honestly not too aware of what kinds of people to expect at certain concerts. And this one was very up in the air for me. But I thought it was cool to see the wide range of people at this one – people of literally all ages could be seen around the venue, and everyone was up dancing.

$15 tickets on Groupon for a night like that? Yeah, I’d definitely do it again.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. Drink Up
  2. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. If It’s Love
  4. Angel in Blue Jeans
  5. Get to Me
  6. Save Me, San Francisco ♥
  7. Calling All Angels ♥
  8. Bruises (with Natasha Bedingfield) ♥
  9. Meet Virginia ♥
  10. Drive By ♥
  11. Marry Me
  12. You Better Believe
  13. You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover – with O.A.R)
  14. Working Girl
  15. Mermaid/Shape of You/Cheap Thrills/Treat You Better/Lost and Found ♥
  16. Hey, Soul Sister ♥
  17. Play That Song ♥

Encore:
18. Under Pressure (Queen/Bowie cover) ♥
19. Drops of Jupiter ♥

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How the Arkells Changed My Life

I can count the bands I love on one hand. They’re not just bands I like, but bands that have had a serious impact on my life. Green Day has always been my group – the one whose music has meant the most to me and inspired me since I was ten years old. It’s been so long, I guess I forgot what it felt like to “love” a group like that. Then I got a chance to see Arkells at their homecoming concert in Hamilton.

“Take me to the bus stop Matty, drive me back to Hamilton…”
-Book Club

It was the first concert I’ve ever been to where I only knew a couple of songs, but still had a blast singing along. I fell in love that night – but not with a person. Arkells rekindled my love and appreciation for music. Their songs are so upbeat and happy, or emotionally charged. I can’t stand still. “Dirty Blonde” comes on, and I just need to dance.

“Give me your number, pick any colour, I can tell your fortune tonight.”
-Dirty Blonde

I guess that’s when I realized I wasn’t happy. In that moment, I fell in love with a sound harder than I’d fallen in love with the person I was dating. When I listen to their music, it makes me feel stronger – happier, sadder, giddier – than I felt when I was with the guy who was supposed to be “the one”.

In that moment, I decided I was tired of feeling numb. I realized I don’t need a person to make me feel – I can feel things on my own – with a book, with a game, with a band, with a song. And whether it was with another person, or by myself, I realized this is how I wanted to feel for the rest of my life.

The Arkells were the light in my life when I was numb and repressed by my selfish ex.

“I just want to love you, but it’s so hard.”
-Private School

They were there when he left me.

“When the rain starts comin’ down, a little rain ain’t bringin’ me down.”
-A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)

And they were there when I fell for someone who respected me, and who empowered me to be the person I wanted to be, for me. Not for him or for anyone else.

“It used to be just weekends, now I want you everyday.”
-My Heart’s Always Yours

The Arkells were my lifeline in a time when I needed something to shake me from my comfort zone, and tell me that there was something better out there for me. I just had to get out of my funk and find it.

And I can already feel the difference between going through the motions, and being just plain happy. I’m as happy as I was that night in Hamilton, and I feel happy every time I put High Noon on my record player.

I cannot wait to see the Arkells when they come to Toronto this month, because this time around it’ll mean so much more.

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Bon Jovi: This House is Not for Sale Tour

Bon Jovi w/ Cannons
When: April 11, 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON
Seats: Lower level, Row 25 – Rear

THE COMPANY

This was the first concert where Jacob accompanied me, and it was really exciting – mostly because I’m a pretty quiet person, but when it comes to concerts, I’m loud and I sing and dance the whole time. And it’s kind of scary to go to a show with someone who may or may not clap along or cheer at the end of a song. But we had a great time dancing together!

It was also particularly awesome because we got these tickets off of Groupon, so they were $20 each. So it was super last minute, but such a great night.

THE PERFORMANCE

I was kind of worried, because our discount tickets put us sort of behind the stage, but honestly the view was incredible. And when Bon Jovi hit the stage, everyone was on their feet, dancing and cheering the whole night. I was excited to hear a handful of my favourite songs (“Shot Through the Heart” – heyyyooo) but I didn’t realize how many other songs I recognized!

I think what I loved the most was that JBJ was really open to creating an experience for all types of fans. At one point, he began explaining the meaning behind the band’s newer songs and what they meant to them before beginning each one. Then he announced, “This is the last new one – the rest are hits from here on out.” When a band has so many hits, it must be hard to find a happy medium when touring a new album. But I think they did a great job at introducing This House is Not For Sale to an audience that was likely hoping for hits or their older tunes.

THE AUDIENCE

The audience at this show was incredible. Sitting at a “behind the stage” angle actually gave me a new appreciation for shows, because it allowed me to see the audience from the perspective of the band on stage. I’d look out and see the lights illuminating the faces in the crowd, and I could see how much fun they were having singing the lyrics along with the band. It was so cool. And of course, my favourite part of any show – when the audience pulls out their lights and makes the ACC look like the night sky – was just amplified because of all the excitement and my surprisingly amazing seats.

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COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. This House is Not for Sale ♥
  2. Knockout
  3. You Give Love a Bad Name ♥
  4. Lost Highway
  5. Who Lot of Leavin’ ♥
  6. Roller Coaster ♥
  7. We Weren’t Born to Follow
  8. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
  9. We Got It Goin’ On ♥
  10. Who Says You Can’t Go Home ♥
  11. It’s My Life ♥
  12. We Don’t Run
  13. God Bless This Mess ♥
  14. Scars on This Guitar ♥
  15. New Year’s Day
  16. Lay Your Hands on Me ♥
  17. Born to Be My Baby
  18. Have a Nice Day ♥
  19. Bad Medicine ♥
  20. Keep the Faith

Encore:
21. Always ♥
22. Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen from Mars
23. Wanted Dead or Alive ♥
24. Livin’ on a Prayer ♥

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The Zolas @ The Opera House

The Zolas
When: March 16, 2017
Where: The Opera House – Toronto, ON
Seats: General Admission – Floor

THE COMPANY

This show was such a last minute thing. My friend Marco messaged and asked if I wanted to go with him to a concert. And I’m always up for a concert. Even if I don’t know the band – as was with this case – I know Marco and I have pretty similar taste in music, so I trust him. I listened to some Zolas before heading out, and already had a few favourite songs in mind as we headed to The Opera House.

THE PERFORMANCE

The show was fantastic! The audience was so hyped when The Zolas took the stage, and the band was able to keep the excitement rolling their entire set. There was a good mix of upbeat songs that I could bop along to, and some slower, more mellow tunes, which I always enjoy. And even during the slower songs, I was really enjoying watching the band rock out. There was never a dull moment.

I thought it was especially cool that during their last song, the lead singer came into the crowd and performed from the centre of the floor. Everyone circled around and shone their cell phone lights on him, lighting the venue. It was a really cool experience!

Side note: It’s been a month and I still frequently get “Ancient Mars” stuck in my head.

THE AUDIENCE

Shows are just significantly more enjoyable when they’re general admission shows, honestly. I don’t care if I don’t know the band – if I’m standing in a general admission area, I feel like I’m part of the crowd. Part of the show. Part of an experience. Not just watching – but a part. And that’s how I felt this entire show.

The Zolas really seemed to appreciate the fact that they filled The Opera House with so many enthusiastic fans, and you know what – they gained another one that night. I’d happily buy a ticket to see them in Toronto again.

COMPLETE SETLIST:

  1. In Heaven
  2. Molotov Girls ♥
  3. Get Dark ♥
  4. Fell In Love with New York ♥
  5. Ancient Mars ♥
  6. Cultured Man
  7. You’re Too Cool
  8. Freida on the Mountain ♥
  9. This Changes Everything
  10. Marlaina Kamikaze
  11. Cab Driver
  12. Strange Girl ♥
  13. CV Dazzle
  14. Swooner ♥

Encore:
15. Invisible ♥
16. Observatory
17. Escape Artist ♥

Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway Tour

I’ve got quite the list of 2017 concerts building up, so I’ve decided I’m going to write about them! And to me, concerts are about three things, so I’m going to focus on each of these aspects in my reviews: who I went with and the time we had, the band’s performance, and the feel of the audience.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway Tour
When: February 4, 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON
Seats: Balcony level, Row 13

The Company

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So I went to see the Chili Peppers with my dad. He’s a huge fan, and after struggling to get my hand on a pair of tickets in the presale, I knew he would probably appreciate them the most. And he did. We had a great time together! Even though we way up in the balcony of the Air Canada Centre, we had a great view of the stage and rocked out to the awesome show.

The Performance

Jack Irons and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue were the opening acts for the Chili Peppers. Irons captivated the entire audience with his insane drum skills, and my dad and I left the show saying we wanted to buy a Trombone Shorty album – what a band! They had everyone on their feet dancing before the main act even came on.

But everyone was there for the Chili Peppers, and let me tell you, I don’t think anyone left disappointed. They were SO energetic and threw themselves into every song. There were moments between songs where the band just jammed for a bit, creating more of a build up than a lull, as they left the audience hanging on to hear the next hit. I was just incredibly happy to hear “By the Way” and “Snow”, and okay, I have had “Go Robot” stuck in my head since that night.

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And the show itself was so visually impressive. Even when they started playing a new song I didn’t know as well, the gorgeous light show that changed with every new tune was mesmerizing. The hanging lights did a wave and would dance over the audience in various colours and movements. I couldn’t look away.

The Audience

Like I said earlier: I had a hard time getting my hand on tickets in presale because they were selling like CRAZY. So you can imagine that everyone in the room was extremely stoked to be at the show. And they were. I have been at shows at the ACC where people in the balcony level stay seated and bop along to the band, and that upsets me because I enjoy dancing at shows. As soon as the Chili Peppers got on stage, everyone in the venue got to their feet and showed their enthusiasm.

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And it was great to hear the first few notes of “Give It Away”, or “Otherside”, and have the band almost get drowned out by the crowd of fans screaming the lyrics along. That’s probably my favourite moment at a show, and it happened a few times at this one.

It was probably one of my top 10 concerts, and if they ever come back, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to get more tickets.

Complete setlist:

  1. Intro Jam
  2. Around the World
  3. Otherside ♥
  4. Snow (Hey Oh) ♥
  5. Dark Necessities ♥
  6. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie ♥
  7. Right on Time
  8. Go Robot ♥
  9. Emit Remmus
  10. Sick Love
  11. I Like Dirt
  12. Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)
  13. The Getaway
  14. Soul to Squeeze ♥
  15. By the Way ♥

Encore
16. Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin – tease)
17. Goodbye Angels
18. Give It Away ♥

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