Concert Reviews

City and Colour at Air Canada Centre

Photographs by Sarah Rix.

“I shouldn’t even be up here”, Dallas Green said to a packed audience at the Air Canada Centre at one of Canadian Music Week’s biggest shows (if not it’s biggest). He looked down at his jacket and told everyone to look at it as proof that he really doesn’t fit on the stage. This humble singer, of whom is dear to Canadians everywhere as Canada is dear to him, may have played his biggest show yet as the headlining act at the massive venue. He asked how many of us have witnessed City and Colour at the Air Canada Centre for the first time, indicating that it is perhaps his first show there. For someone so unsure as to how he was doing, Dallas Green, known as City and Colour, needn’t worry about his performance as he was the very best thing about his own show.

The show began in darkness with a song about three friends that stick together as Green walked onto the stage with his fist in the air. He was there to conquer Toronto. Oddly enough, for a venue that was very full (not exactly sold out but close), the audience was still pretty tame at first. Green knew he had a job to do that day and it wasn’t just to play music. He told the audience that he was very fortunate to play stages every day, and while he is thankful, that wasn’t his task. His mission was to tell the world that he deserves his own stage. He played some of his well known hits first and the audience was still sitting. He was on stage with his band, extending each song with musical passages and vocal acrobatics (all of which were pulled off effortlessly) and while the atmosphere was good, it wasn’t as massive as it could have been. Maybe the audience had to adapt to such a personal set on such a large scale. When the band left and Green was left alone on stage with just him, his guitar, the stage lights and his audience, the show suddenly became magical. He had thrown in his wild card and the audience finally had not a single reason to be sitting. With Save Your Scissors, the audience pulled out their phones and lighters and the entire stadium became one collective unit. A few more acoustic songs were performed, with Green feeling comfortable and blown away at the same time talking to the audience. The band came back, and they came back more powerful than before.

The sound was very muddled, as it is often at the Air Canada Centre, with the highs being piercing and the lows sometimes being inaudible. I’d see Green tearing up a solo on his guitar but wouldn’t hear it. I’d see Green wail a falsetto note and it would get lost in the oblivion of feedback. It’s a shame because the band was very tight, and everyone pulled off an incredible set with their respective instruments. The light show was at least absolutely stunning. There were many blends of colours merging onto the stage as Green and company would be sucked into a large misty wall of hues. It was a gorgeous display. When it was just Green and his guitar on stage and the sound wasn’t battling with itself too much, the concert was beautiful.

The band left and there was an obvious wait for an encore as the lights didn’t even change from as they were. Green knew we’d want him back, and so he came back to talk about his best friend (of whom has gone on road trips with him in the United States). His best friend proposed to his girlfriend and the entire stadium went ballistic. She said yes, off they went, and Green kicked off the end of his set with a few more songs. “I’ve always written selfishly” he said to us about his songwriting as he jokingly stated that two songs of his were based on the Toronto Raptors. As that concert showed, however, Green is largely a giver when it comes to the actual performing of his music. With much doubt as to if he could pull off a large concert at the Air Canada Centre, aside from a bit of a puddle of audio, he absolutely slayed all of Toronto. He is better live musically, he showcases his talents as both a musician and an entertainer, and he is a very real performer. “No offense, but I actually started from the bottom.” he said as a bit of a joke that referenced Drake. Wherever he came from, he’s reached his highest point last night and luckily we can tell it is far from his zenith.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.