On the eve of Toronto’s first major winter storm, a storm that’s predicted to paralyze the GTA. Honestly, I don’t think anyone shared this news to Johnny Reid, Christmas was in full swing Friday, as Johnny delivered a sledful of seasonal songs at his Christmas concert “A Christmas Gift to You”
Reid’s music has a more soulful fare than country and his seasonal offerings are no different. For that reason, Johnny Reid attracts fans of all ages. Johnny open the show with Little Drummer Boy and then thanked everyone for coming down to the historical Massey Hall.
He asked the audience, who was a virgin to a Johnny Reid concert, then welcomed back repeat offenders. Mr. Reid addressed the audience and said in his thick Scottish accent “if you didn’t know it I not from the Toronto area” the laughter and cheer was as loud as when the curtain went up to start the show. You then knew how the evening was going to carry out.
Toronto was home coming for a lot of the Johnny Reid’s band members like Michael Shand, pianist, the three backup singers Selena Evangeline, Alana Bridgewater, and Miku Graham and Mississauga Native Nick Czarnogorski who played bass and the upright base. These are just a few to name. Johnny Reid’s brother was also in the audience and he shared a family tradition, every Christmas Johnny and his brother would run to the tree to see who haed the biggest gift. It was this tradition that Johnny passed along to his children that inspired him to write “Waiting For Christmas”
He didn’t bypass his traditional material, though, playing fan favourites Darlin’ and Dance With Me. And then there were moments that would melt even the most frozen of hearts, such as a heartfelt performance of Blue Christmas — done the Elvis Presley way, of course — which was his granny’s favourite.
The show represented the best of both worlds, with a massive gospel version of Angels We Have Heard on High segueing directly into a rollicking, blues-romp version of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, completed with scorching piano and sax solos.
If you ever been to a Johnny Reid show, you would know he is a story teller. Johnny Came to Canada in 1988 and lived in Brampton His first job was working in a car wash at an ESSO station in Brampton cleaning it from 12 midnight to 5am, a man came in and offered, him a job, he replied I have a job, the man said a singing job. Johnny went down and it was a small Karaoke machine store, where he got paid $10 a song. The catch was max 3 songs. On Christmas Eve he had to sing the three numbers he was allowed to belt out back in the day and the crowd helped him sing along to tunes such as The Lady in Red Endless love and I Just Called to Say I Love You.
The main set closed on a high with an explosive cover of Chuck Berry’s Run, Run Rudolph.
Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.