In a city that’s known as the home to some of Canada’s greatest entertainers, namely Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip, you have to put on a special show to impress the fans that fill the walls at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. It was a brisk evening last night on the shores of Lake Ontario and it was Brad Paisley who would take to the stage along with, Calgary native, Lindsay Ell and Chase Bryant.
The Kingston stop was part of the second leg of Paisley’s Life Amplified Tour, the first leg stopped at RBC Bluesfest last summer, and boy did they ever amplify the atmosphere on Saturday night.
The show kicked off with a very high octane set by Canada’s Guitar Goddess (it’s an unofficial title that I’ve just now bestowed on her). Although far too short for my liking, Ell set the tone for the night. There was no doubt that it was going to be fast, loud and filled with a lot of amazing guitar.
Ell capped off her set with her latest single “All Alright” which was perfectly fitting because it would’ve been all, alright with me had Lindsay stayed on stage for the rest of the night (in a matter of speaking she did but I’ll touch on that a bit later). Lindsay Ell fans rejoice, she tells us that we can expect her EP with new music very very soon. As soon as we know more you’ll be the first to know.
Texas born, Chase Bryant took to the stage following Ell and pretty much picked up from where she left off. At just 24 Bryant has already learned some incredible guitar skills which made him a great fit for this tour.
Admittedly I was less familiar with Bryant’s work than that of Ell and Paisley but over the course of his set I recognized a few of his songs including his two singles “Little Bit Of You” and “Take It On Back”. Bryant is definitely on his way talent-wise and I’d expect to see plenty more from him in the coming years.
Brad Paisley took to the stage next and boy where can I start to describe the show that followed? I’ve been a huge fan of Paisley’s for a number of years and finally scratched him off my concert bucket list this past July at RBC Bluesfest. That show was, without a doubt, one of the highlights from the summer of 2016.
When the opportunity came up to catch the same show again in an arena setting how could I pass up? One thing that became very clear early in the show is that, compared to Dierks Bentley a week before, Brad isn’t much for small talk. From the opening notes of “Crushing It” all the way to the last notes of the encore it was all business for Brad, and not a single person minded one bit.
One thing I watch for at every show I attend is how artists manage the space they have on the stage. With the technology at their disposal in this day and age they can go with crazy special effects or simply keep it simple with a complementing backdrop. Brad opted for the gigantic video screen which often was more of a focal point than Brad himself (my personal favorites were the South Park themed cartoon during “Celebrity” and the hilarious water-skiing, or was it wake-boarding?, squirrel during “Riverbank”).
Midway through the show my wish came true and Brad brough Lindsay back out on stage. Together they jammed to the end of “She’s Everything” before moving to centre stage for, the highlight of the night for me hands down, “Whiskey Lullaby”. Ell took on the part made famous by Alison Kraus and absolutely, 100%, without a fraction of a doubt…NAILED IT!! “Whiskey Lullaby” is my absolute favourite country song, Brad Paisley song, sad song and I was disappointed that Brad didn’t perform it in July (lack of a female voice was likely good reason to leave it off the setlist).
Immediately following “Whiskey Lullaby” Chase Bryant returned to the stage to join Brad for “Ticks”, another favourite of mine. One of the things that I love about Brad is how versatile he is with his music and how he can go from a dark, serious toned song like “Whiskey Lullaby” to a flirty fun song like “Ticks” without a second thought.
As Brad was performing, another favorite of mine (ok maybe it’s safe to say they’re all favorites now lol), “Then” he noticed a young lady in the crowd holding a sign. The sign said “my mom was supposed to be here with me tonight but she’s in the hospital having a baby” Brad asked if her mom was ok (she was) and then proceeded to give away his guitar. He followed that with “Beat This Summer”.
And just like that Brad switched gears from sentimental and serious right into…”I’m Gonna Miss Her” a song about a man who was given an ultimatum by his wife/girlfriend to chose fishing or being with her…based on the title I think you can guess which one he chose.
Brad kept the mood light with “Riverbank” and “Mud on The Tires” before wrapping up the main part of the show with his most recent hit “Today”.
The trio reunited on stage for the encore of “Alcohol”, in case you wonder why I believe Brad is one of the greatest guitar players in country music today…he plays this song with a beer bottle on his guitar. The climactic end to this show didn’t need pyro or fireworks it had Brad Paisley, Chase Bryant and Lindsay Ell all on the same stage at the same time and it was perfect! Everyone in attendance last night walked out with one memory, a memory of “Today”.
The trio get a few days off before regrouping later this week on Canada’s east coast for a few dates, for our readers who may be in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia and can get their hands on tickets to this show I highly encourage you to do just that. This is definitely a tour not to be missed!
Special thanks to the gang at Jones Entertainment Group for taking such good care of us last night, be sure to checkout some of their other upcoming events!
For a full list of Brad’s upcoming tour dates visit www.bradpaisley.com, and good news for those of you wanting to know details of when we can expect new music…his next album Love And War will be released on March 3.