Photos by Moe Yang
As day 2 of the iHeartRadio Beach Ball began, you could immediately see the contrast to day 1: New vs old. While day 1 was some of the new powerhouses in mainstream music, day 2 was a testament to the vintage era of popular music with acts like Train, Blondie, and The Philosopher Kings.
The two acts were Christian Hudson followed by Ruth B. Both singer/songwriters who’s sets were based off simplicity. Christian Hudson played with just him and his guitar and Ruth B had only her pianist with her. Christian did his rendition of “No Diggity” with a medley of classic songs at the end including “Lose Yourself” and “Billie Jean”. Prior to his last song of his set, “Four Leaf Clover” he warned the audience that he might get emotional as he did when he performed the same song at his friend’s wedding. The Edmonton native, Ruth B covered Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, and her rendition very much did justice and gave an entirely new feel for the song. She also played original music off her new album that released earlier this year, entitled “Safe Haven”, like “Superficial Love”, “Young”, and closed her set with her song to Peter Pan, “Lost Boy”.
The older lineup naturally brought an older crowd along with a feeling of nostalgia for them, and the first act to bring that feeling out was The Philosopher Kings. “Let’s see if you guys remember this one,” lead singer Gerald Eaton repeated to the crowd as they brought out their vintage catalogue with songs like “Cry”, “Castles in the Sand”, and “Charms”. He touched on feminism and the importance of equality. The band that was mainly popular in the late 90s closed with their big hit “It Hurts to Love You”. This was the first act that allowed the mothers in the crowd to show off their coveted dance moves that young people will never be able to replicate.
Serena Ryder was next up and rocked the house opening with “Stompa”, her first major single, and continued to keep the energy up with songs from her album like “Electric Love”, and “Ice Age”. Her set was a fantastic warm up for the next legendary rockers to hit the stage.
It was time for Rock and Rock Hall of Famers, Blondie, to hit the stage and what else would they open with other than their classic “One Way or Another”. Lead singer Debbie Harry came out dolled up in a crown with bees on it, green sunglasses, and a cape which read “Stop Fucking Our Planet”, in support of their new album “Pollinator”. They played songs from that new album like “Long Time”, and “Fun”, which proved that they still had it. At age 72, Debbie’s dance moves were a little rusty but it didn’t stop them from delivering an energetic set full of heavy guitar riffs, drum solos, and classic songs like “Call Me”, “Heart of Glass”, and “The Tide is High”. Not much time for talking during this set as they had a limited amount of time to get through their massive catalogue of hits. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness this legendary band perform right before my eyes.
The act to close the night and the entire festival was Train, who’s lead singer, Patrick Monahan came out sporting a cast and sling on his right arm after having surgery. “We had to cancel a lot of shows because of this but there was no way I was missing Vancouver.” He was very humourous throughout the set like attempting to throw t-shirts into the crowd with his left arm and saying, “I’m right handed– Usually I’d be saying cheeky things while I was doing that but…” trailing off into another song. They played some of their classics like “Marry Me”, “Drive By”, and “Hey, Soul Sister”, which got the crowd belting out every word. Before exiting for the encore they played their hit “Play That Song,” off their new album, “a girl a bottle a boat.” They came out to the famous “Under Pressure” bassline to start the encore which Monahan jokingly explained, “We wrote this song yesterday.” They closed the entire show with “Drops of Jupiter.”
This was a nostalgic night for many people in the crowd but it also allowed younger people like myself to be able to appreciate the old school in person and see how we ended up where we are in music today.The best example of the day would be the similarities between Blondie and Serena Ryder, with their badass attitude and ability to rock out with the best. It was good that iHeartRadio was able to put on a festival like this that would appeal to the masses, not just the new school of mainstream music.