John Vesely, better known as the frontman for Secondhand Serenade brought his Awake: 10 year anniversary tour to Toronto’s Mod Club recently.

Jeremy Albino started the evening, geared with a base drum, harmonica and guitars. He performed all originals with a blues feeling. The crowd was just starting to trickle in at this point. He was received with lukewarm reception. When announcing that it was his last song the crowd cheered. I felt slightly bad for him. He put his heart into his performance though.


Second up was Ronnie Winter- Defoe. He is the frontman for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. They are a metal band based out of Florida. He was invited by Vesely to perform an acoustic set on this tour. He explained that he has had a successful career in music, writing for others, having music scores on TV shows and Movies. He performed a stripped down set, nothing metal, just easy listening. The crowd was familiar with some of his material, while I personally wasn’t aware of anything he performed. He paired well with the Secondhand Serenade as a special guest.

Next up was the headliner. Ok, let me just say that I have never experienced such audience participation. The crowd literally sang almost every single song that he performed. The only exception to this was a couple of newly written songs that haven’t been released as of yet. It was slightly mind blowing. In my few years of covering shows I have never witnessed such a phenomenon. It wasn’t just the chorus, it was from the first word spoken. It kind of blew my mind.

Vesely was extremely down to earth and personable with the crowd. The females absolutely loved him, screaming for him to take his shirt off, which he laughed at and replied no way.

He expressed about how an event in his life prompted him to write the song “Fall for you”. He spoke of waiting for a phone call that never came, so took off in his car to clear his head and was pulled over for speeding. The events of that experience gave him the inspiration to pen the lyrics. 

He had a couple of unexpected guest join him on stage, one was his dog! From where I was I couldn’t get a clear view of the canine, but saw he was small. Towards the end of the evening his wife, whom he met in Nashville joined him up on stage for a couple of songs as a duet. Their voiced paired very well together. They where certainly in harmony. 

At the end he thanked everyone for supporting him all these years and stated that he thought that the Toronto crowd was the best so far on his tour, beating out New York from the night prior. Generally I would take that comment as a must say thing from the artist, but in reality I thought that there was a good possibility it actually was.

Although the tour offers VIP meet and greets, there wasn’t any listed for Toronto according to his website. However he told the crowd that he would be more then happy to hang out with them at the merchandise table, sign some stuff and take a few photos.

This was a very interesting show for me to cover. Not only did her perform well, but the crowd LOVED him. If I had to rate the show, it would easily be 5/5.

All images are ©2017 Sue Hebert. Please do not copy or use without permission.

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