By Alex Rodobolski
Budweiser Stage closed out their incredibly successful season with a beautifully cerebral show put on by Ben Howard on October 5th, 2018. Fans of the artist packed into the venue in their jackets and toques to witness the Noonday Dream Tour, despite the weather being chillier than what the waterfront venue is used to.
Howard opened the show with the dreamy track A Boat to an Island on the Wall. His band took the stage in the form of silhouettes before Howard waltzed on stage with a glass of white wine, a single spotlight illuminated him as he sang the opening lines of the song. The performance was matched with looped visuals projected across the background of the stage, transporting the audience to whatever scene Howard wanted to set.
The main downfall of the show was that the setlist relied heavily on the newest album released by Howard, Noonday Dream. While the LP is incredibly beautiful and the performances of each song were seamless, the audience lost interest without the presence of some of Howard’s classic tracks from his earliest album. Their attention was roped back with Small Things, the opening track from his 2014 release, I Forget Where We Were.
From that point onward the crowd was encapsulated by Howard and his beautiful serenades. He closed his performance with Towing the Line and Murmurations off his latest album. The encore was easily the highlight of the show, driven by songs from his most recent EP. Howard treated the audience to the title track of his last album, I Forget Where We Were, and also accepted an audience request for Conrad, which made everybody in the crowd erupt in cheers.
Though the show seemed to lull with the heavy rotation of his latest album, Ben Howard captured the hearts of every audience member by the end of the show, and it’s no doubt that he was born to perform.