Date: April 18, 2016
Venue: Barrie Molson Centre
Where: Barrie, ON
Much has changed for Hedley in the over ten years since its conception. This pop-rock band from British Columbia started out much like any other indie band, touring small venues in small towns to establish and grow their fan base into the empire that it is today. Their devoted fans are as loyal as they come and show no signs of going anywhere, as was evident with the packed Barrie venue they performed in for this stop on their #HelloWorld Tour. Lead singer, Jacob Hoggard reminisced with the crowd, recalling the time they performed for a much smaller audience at The Foundation, a show that took place so long ago that the venue is not even in existence anymore. Fans, young and old alike, eagerly soaked up this nostalgia as the night went on.
But first, the funky and soulful up-and-comer, Francesco Yates, and playful and animated songstress, Carly Rae Jepsen took to the stage in support of their fellow tour mates, rounding out the #HelloWorld Tour to create an all star Canadian lineup. Although Yates is the youngest musician on the tour, at the tender age of twenty he has already amassed considerable experience on the stage having been a performer at We Day across Canada in 2015. His future success is almost assured as he possesses that all important ‘it factor’ that has elevated him to another level. He performed a set of songs including his hit, “Sugar” and won over the crowd with his high-flying hair and monumental smile.
Jepsen’s poise and voice control as she danced around the stage was impressive as she performed her set. Although she was not the headliner of the night, it was evident that fans were equally as excited to see her perform as they danced and sang along, especially during “Boy Problems” and “Call Me Maybe”. A touching moment at the end of her set was when she challenged the audience to a dance contest and she would invite the best dancer up on stage with her, eventually deciding on an eager fan far off to the side of the stage.
“But I can’t slow down now. The lights just went down, down”
“Can’t Slow Down” from Hello
After a brief stage changeover, the stadium went black. The hum from the energy in the crowd was palpable. They are then introduced to the night’s feature act with the playing of a witty spoof of the television show, “Family Matters”, starring none other than the members of the band. Humour is something that Hedley effortlessly fuses into their shows. They fittingly opened with the title track from their most recent album release, “Hello”. Although it has been a long time since the band first introduced itself to Canada, this tour celebrates the numerous successes Hedley has accumulated through their career.
“When I hear that rock and roll, Oh my God I lose control.”
“Lose Control”, from Hello
Fans were treated to the performance of all of Hedley’s hits, from all six of their albums. If there is one thing that the band has perfected over the years, it is how to perform live and connect with their fans as they encourage them to become part of the experience that is a Hedley concert. As a newbie to this experience I was not prepared for the feel-good vibes that I was about to encounter as these four talented musicians genuinely showed affection and appreciation to their fans. When I capture moments at a concert from the pit I often feel as if I am part of the barrier that impedes a band from connected with their audience. But this was not the case as Hedley took the stage. I was simply absorbed into the positive energy that the band and audience were reciprocating. I have a feeling that this love-fest of epic proportions is not a phenomenon isolated to Barrie as shows on this tour across the country have been selling out quickly.
A highlight of the night included a medley with their mega hit “Never Too Late” with a cover of Bruno Mars’ song, “Uptown Funk”. During this medley, Hoggard demonstrated why his performances are classified as high-energy and engaging as he danced and spun around the stage. At the pinnacle of excitement, the show transitioned beautifully into the night’s most peaceful and poignant moment when Hoggard appeared at a grand piano with a sole spotlight cast down onto him for the playing of “Can’t Slow Down”. Right after, all four band mates were present at stage centre for an acoustic performance of “Gunnin”. Even drummer Crippin abandoned his drum kit to strum along on an acoustic guitar.
Hedley enhanced their performance with several cheeky moments. During the performance of “For the Nights I Can’t Remember”, Hoggard introduced the song by saying that when he felt good he liked to take his pants off. He paused and then added that he also liked to sing. After encouraging the audience to sing along with him, he cut them off after the first few bars. He joked that the audience sounded like mumbling and texting and then restarted the song. His banter with the audience was peppered throughout the show but was at its finest near the end of the show when he called out a member of the audience for texting during the show. With the crowd on edge, he confiscated the cell phone from the woman and proceeded to look through her text messages and recent calls, identifying her book keeper and her current employer, a national coffee chain. Without missing a beat, he spontaneously called her workplace and proceeded to order snacks and double doubles for his 5000 friends at the “Barrie Rock ‘n’ Roll Centre”.
During the encore, fans were surprised to see Hoggard play guitar from the audience for the song “Trip”, again demonstrating his true connection with his fans. We were indeed lucky to be part of this experience and look forward to the next time Hedley stops by Barrie to say #Hello.
Be sure to check out our Facebook page for even more pictures from this show!
I’m Nicole, a biology teacher by day, but my life revolves around music. I’m that girl that you will always find with the concert t-shirt on and ear buds in. It is rare that you find me without some type of music playing in the background. I connect all of my life experiences to music. It truly has its own language in my heart. There is nothing more exciting than taking in all that a concert has to offer. I love to support local Canadian acts and attend as many shows that I can.