Rain, drizzle and fog. Typical St John’s weather welcomed City and Colour on the last stop of their Canadian tour, in support of the new album “Little Hell.” People took down their hoods as they grumbled about the weather and entered Mile One Stadium, slowly trickling into their seats and shaking off the dampness of the outside weather. It was mostly a younger crowd in attendance, which was no surprise, but there were also a few older folk sprinkled into the mix.
At 8pm sharp, the chattering crowd quieted as opening act Daniel Ramono (of Attack In Black fame) took to the stage. Donning a cowboy hat, he and his band mates instantly made the audience feel like they had taken up residence in Nashville during the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.
Their original tunes are reminiscent of those decades past, when musicians only needed a few instruments behind them while they told their stories. Daniel has produced clever lyrics that tell a tale, on top of just two guitars and a bass, combined with some great vocal harmonies. The simplicity of his songs brings his music back to basics, getting people to listen to what he has to say, and the use of a pedal steel guitar really helped develop their old school country feel.
About half way through his set, he announces with a laugh, “this is an old song. None of us wrote it, so you know it’s going to be a good one,” and to the delight of the older audience members, started into George Jones’ “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me, Her Memory Will.” As if his love of old country tunes wasn’t clearly evident already, he managed to stick in a Johnny Cash cover as well before finishing his set. It was really refreshing to see someone taking things back to the basic musical elements.
Shortly after Daniel’s set, the lights went down and Dallas Green ventured to the stage. The screaming and clapping were virtually deafening, making it quite obvious that St John’s was incredibly excited to see City and Colour.
Dallas’ voice quickly and effortlessly filled the stadium, grabbing everyone’s attention as they begun to quiet down. However, that quiet was only momentary as the audience could not contain their excitement. During every lull in a song their screams and claps would quickly intrude any chance of silence.
Though their instruments didn’t make it to town with the band, I don’t think anyone would have noticed if they never brought it up. Dallas thanked people for renting everything for them and jokingly stated, “hopefully my children make it back to me,” before playing “The Grand Optimist,” which amusingly, is a song about his parents. Everyone in the crowd instantly started clapping to the beat and kept it going throughout the song as Dallas played his rented guitar like he had owned it for years.
About half way through the set the band left Dallas on the stage by himself, and still joking about the rented guitar, he laughed and said “It’s like borrowing someone else’s shoes, it takes a while to get used to.” He then proceeded to play “Day Old Hate”, a track from his first album, and it was apparent why everyone enjoys his music so much. The song only needs the help of a guitar to back up the sincerity in his voice. Nothing else is needed, a tell tale sign of a true artist.
Following that track, he asked everyone who had been taking pictures or on their cell phone to hold them up. The light from cameras and cell phones lit up all across the stadium. “Now put them in your pockets,” he said, laughing. He talked about how sometimes people are too busy trying to take videos and pictures that they forget that they’re here with friends for a good time. He told the crowd that YouTube doesn’t need another live version of “Body In A Box” and to just sit back and experience it, enjoy the moment. The crowd listened well, clapping and singing along with the song instead of fiddling with electronics.
It would appear that Dallas liked everyone singing along as for the next tune, he asked if they would help him sing the song, stating that “there’s two parts I have to sing at the same time and I haven’t figured that out yet.” He split the audience down the middle, getting one side to sing “I think I know,” followed by the other, “I think I might know,” before both sides would join forces on the last line in the chorus, “I think I might know, oh, oh.” There’s something hauntingly beautiful about the harmony created by such a large group of people singing along in tune to a song.
When City and Colour finished their set, it was evident that the crowd wanted more. They created quite a racket by stamping their feet, clapping, and screaming “I love you Dallas,” and “encore!” until Dallas returned to the stage once again for another few songs.
He talked about how he was overwhelmed at the turn out for the show. He never thought there would be that many people here to support him and his music. “When I say thank you at the end of each song, I mean it, from the bottom, the top, all sides of my heart,” he said with a sincere smile before playing “Comin’ Home.”
The band then re-joined him onstage for the last song and delivered an entertaining performance of a normally acoustic track, “Sometimes (I Wish).” The band really filled the song out and gives it more depth.
Overall, I think they combined a good mix of songs from all three City and Colour albums. While trying to work my way back out of the stadium I didn’t hear one bad thing about the show, everyone was looking happy and seemed genuinely pleased with the show, so much so, that the bad weather didn’t even phase them anymore.
1. We Found Each Other In The Dark
2. Sleeping Sickness
3. The Death Of Me
4. The Grand Optimist
5. As Much As I Ever Could
7. Day Old Hate
8. Body In A Box
9. What Makes A Man?
10. The Girl
11. Little Hell
13. Fragile Bird
14. Sorrowing Man
1. Comin’ Home
2. Sometimes (I Wish)
By: Christa Cram
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