Monday, 3 June 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: Brad Paisley, Chris Young & Lee Brice

Country superstar Brad Paisley's Beat This Summer Tour made a stop in Toronto at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre this past week. Taking over the Amp on Friday, May 30th supported by The Henningsens, Lee Brice and Chris Young, the energetic crowd of 16,000 fans didn't let the torrential downpour stop them.

The Henningsens opened the show as the crowd rushed in to escape the rain and warmed everyone up with their single American Beautiful.


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Lee Brice took to the stage next, impressing the crowd with the strength of his passionate vocals while performing his hit singles Hard To Love, A Woman Like You, Love Like Crazy and Parking Lot Party. In his first Canadian show, he floored the audience with his heartfelt rendition of his hit song I Drive Your Truck, which he dedicated to the Canadian and American military.

Chris Young rounded off the show opening with an energetic set that demonstrated his vocal chops (which in my opinion, are far more impressive live than his slightly over-produced studio vocals). He got the crowd excited with hits like Gettin' You Home, Tomorrow and I Can Take It From There.

Brad Paisley hit the stage for his two-hour set, flanked by video screens and impressive stage setup. The crowd was beyond ecstatic to witness one of the best showmen and guitar talents contemporary country music has to offer. With walkways into the general admission floor, fans were able to get up close and personal to the sassy singer while he played the high amp set of old favourites and selections from his new album Wheelhouse

Kicking off the show with the first single off the new album, Southern Comfort Zone, Paisley took the crowd through some fan favourite selections from his growing discography. He played hits such as summer anthem and current single Beat This Summer, Mud on the Tires, Water and This Is Country Music, the latter while clips of some of country music's currents, lates and greats flashed on the screens. He revved up with the crowd with a guitar-driven cover of Hot For Teacher and had the masses singing along to his tongue-in-cheek, witty ditties Outstanding in our Field, I'm Gonna Miss Her, I'm Still A Guy and Online, that was performed acoustically from a secondary staged perched in the 400 level to bring Paisley closer to the fans in the lawn levels. 

His hit single Celebrity brought the audience to stitches, as Brad was joined by a bobbleheaded caricature mascot costumed version of himself. Video footage of a cartoon Paisley caught in tabloid worthy situations appeared on screen, spliced with footage of internet sensations the Honey Badger, PSY of Gagnam Style fame and perhaps, the greatest offering the internet has made in a long time, the goat that screams like a human.

One of the most impressive moments of the show, besides Paisley's energy and guitar shredding skills, was a special effect that brought an incredibly life-like apparition of Carrie Underwood onstage to join Brad in the duet Remind Me. The crowd did a double take and “Is she real or isn't she?!” buzz took over the venue. Though eventually most realized that Underwood's appearance was via 3D video or hologram projection, the experience was fascinatingly realistic, from her emotional facial expressions, to her movements and windblown hair. Iphone owners in the crowd were encouraged to download the Mobile Light Show app to illuminate the colourful crowd during certain songs.

Paisley capped off the night, bringing opening acts and his Bobbleheaded doppelganger back on stage to a makeshift bar for his hit, drinking anthem Alcohol. During the hommage to the powers of inebriation in “helping white people dance” and “making anyone pretty”, it was clear that the majority of concert-goers had had more than their fair share of $15 beers. From the plaid shirt explosion, frat boys singing along arm in arm, drunkenly hanging off each other in scenes bordering Brokeback, to the sea of jean short-shorts and cowboy boots spilling their drinks in the air, everyone was toasting Brad Paisley and hopefully a night they will remember.

Check back soon for exclusive video footage from the show & Brad Paisley and Chris Young giveaway contests!!!

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