Hedley took their HELLO tour to Barrie, Ontario Monday night playing to a capacity Molson Centre, and the fans adored every part of the show. The band had a great production, nice wide clean stage, with vivid lighting rig and video boards. The sound was so clean and clear – the band really set it up well. That’s what happens when a multi-platinum band tours across Canada. And this show is damn good.
As soon as the house lights dimmed, fans rushed to barriers at the photo pit to get a really good up close look at their favourite musicians. Jacob Hoggard bounced out and twirled, danced, pointed, sang and implored the full house to “give it all they have tonight”! This is one high energy front man, and you can’t help but be entertained. He never stops moving! And in turn, their fans never stopped moving. At one point, I was just watching the crowd dance and jump in unison to every beat that they boys layed down. Dave and Tommy also covered the stage well, heading off to the wings a number of times to ensure everyone got as close a look at possible. I just love when artists make a lot of eye contact and interact with their fans. It shows they are really connected and certainly makes for a better fan experience. Hedley as a unit have this down pat.
At one point, I was in stitches when Jacob asked Katie, a female fan in the front row, who she was texting. Not accepting her explanation, he asked her to toss him her cell phone – which she did. Oh boy! Did he have fun with that. He started going through her contacts and well, Katie may have some explaining to do to “Mike” (apparently her bookkeeper), “Hot Stuff” (apparently her husband). It seemed anyone in her contact list was fair game when Jacob began making a couple of calls which he allowed us all to hear when he put his microphone up to the phone speaker. When he asked Katie who “Tim” was, she said Tim Hortons. And he said, “Yeah right! We’re calling him”. Sure enough, it was a Tim Hortons restaurant and Jacob introduced himself and everyone in attendance the employee answering. And she really didn’t know what to think of it all. He then tried to order a few dozen tidbits and about 5,000 double-doubles. It was just pure fun. Katie then got to go up on stage to get a picture taken with the band on her phone. So she did ok, although she may have some explaining to do to a few people. Good luck with that Katie.
On with the show! Hedley took their fans through the years playing songs from the very beginning right through to their new release. And it all sounded fantastic. All the favourites! One guy next to me mentioned two of his favourite songs that they played and said they were constantly on play on his phone. It seems everyone had a great time and got a whole lot of what they came to see. There were lots of up tempo songs, ballads, t-shirts launched from a shirt bazooka and non stop cheers. They also got the crowd to help finish off a chant, with Jacob yelling “Barrie Ontari” and the crowd finishing with a resounding “OH”. And we heard this revisited several times throughout the show and each time the crowd did their part. Nice job Barrie, Ontari-oh! You were loud.
For their encore, Hoggard was singing down at the far end of the arena, another great move by the entertainer, making sure everyone was included. He then joined his band mates back up on the big stage to help close things out.
If you haven’t seen this tour yet, go get yourself a ticket and get ready to just simply have fun and get treated to a great show and a band that does “live” as well as I’ve seen.
This tour has the extremely talented Francesco Yates and huge crowd favourite Carly Rae Jepson opening the show. They certainly got everyone warmed up well. What a lineup!
Scott Burns, Sound Check Entertainment