Who: Dean Brody, Tim Hicks & Carly Pearce
When: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Where: Budweiser Stage, Toronto ON
Thursday, August 24, 2017, was an exceptional night of music on the Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place in Toronto. Thanks to the folks at Live Nation, Dean Brody, Tim Hicks and Carly Pearce put on, what this writer would consider, the best show of the summer.
It is also important to mention that Brody was the first Canadian country star to headline this venue based strictly on his domestic success. The show was a sell out! A far cry from his first gig, not that many years ago, at Boots & Bourbon Saloon. Brody has been quoted to say that there were barely 12 people in the audience.
There was a By Invitation Only special function put on by RGK Entertainment (Management for both Dean Brody and Tim Hicks and many more notable acts) in the Vibe Room prior to the show. It was a friendly mix and mingle with a multitude of familiar faces from media and music. A few of those were Mr. RGK himself, Ron Kitchener, Tim Hicks, Jessica Mitchell, several of the Durham Radio Inc. family – Steve Kassay, Pete Walker, Bill Toffan and Linda Martelli – and many more.
Big Machine‘s Carly Pearce was first to hit the stage. This was the American Country singer’s first Canadian date. She has been making great waves both State side and here in Canada with her current single, “Every Little Thing”. Originally, from Kentucky and now living in Nashville, Pearce, at the age of 16, would perform five days a week at Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. If the crowd reaction is any indication of where this artist’s career is headed, this won’t be her last time in Canada.
Ontario loves their native son, Tim Hicks! He and his band have their own brand of Country music. They hit the stage full of power and flames, with “Shake These Walls”, and didn’t stop. Having spent many years playing the bar circuit in Southern Ontario, including being the house band at Grace O’Malley’s, performing on the Budweiser Stage was a dream come true for Hicks. They effortlessly performed hit after hit to huge crowd response, but none was bigger than when he played “Stronger Beer”. That song has become an anthem to many and I’m sure the sing-along could be heard all the way over to the far side of the Canadian National Exhibition. Hicks ended his set with what he introduced as his next single to radio, “Forever Rebels”. This has been on the set list through 2017. It is personal for Hicks and the fans love it. My bet is, he has another hit on the horizon!
We are no strangers to Dean Brody and have covered several of his shows over the years. This one was magical! Even if there hadn’t been a number of special guests to join Dean and his band on stage, it still would have had an essence about it that surpassed any other show before it.
Brody and his band, affectionately known as The Brodeo, make the show a party and we’re all invited to have as much fun as they do on stage! Only fitting that his first song of the night was “Bush Party”. That got everyone on their feet! The first special guest of the night was Dallas Smith, who came to help out with “Undone” and stayed to perform his own tune, “Somebody Somewhere”. Smith had announced earlier in the week, his own “Side Effects Tour beginning in October. A few songs later, label mate Madeline Merlo, who had just warmed up the crowd over at the CNE Bandshell for Aaron Pritchett, joined Brody to sing Lindy Ortega‘s part in “Bounty”. It was definitely a surreal moment to have Shevy Price, the east coast Rapper, perform her part of the title track to Brody’s current album, “Beautiful Freakshow”. If the audience wasn’t pumped enough after that, the pinnacle of the night was to have Alan Doyle sing his parts in both “Soggy Bottom Summer” and “It’s Friday”. Then, staying around to do the Great Big Sea classic, “Ordinary Day”. Phenomenal!
Some members of “The Brodeo”
Brody and his band wrapped up the set with none other than “Canadian Girls” and with any great show, he came back to do “Mountain Man” and “Bring Down The House” for the encore. Bring down the house, indeed! This is one that will be talked about by those that were there for a long time to come.
Brody is up for five Canadian Country Music Association Awards next month in Saskatoon – Apple Music Fans’ Choice Award, Album of the Year for Beautiful Freakshow, Single and Video and Songwriter of the Year for “Time”. There is no doubt he will be taking home some hardware.
Click here to see more photos from this show!