Only one word can describe Francesco Yates, wow. He was the opening act for Carly Rae Jepsen and Hedley on Friday at the Air Canada Centre, a Live Nation presentation, and I was impressed not only with his vocal abilities but his stamina on stage. Francesco was jumping around on stage while singing notes that seasoned professionals would have a hard time hitting. I was disappointed that not more people in the audience got to hear him because they missed out for sure, but, the ones that were in attendance screamed and enjoyed every second of his set. The last song of his performance was “Purple Rain”by Prince, which, just about everyone has done in the past couple weeks. This became quite a somber moment and Francesco performed this song with the utmost respect it deserves. When Justin Timberlake tweets about Francesco “summer jam of 2014” it is time to take notice of this 18 year old. This is one person I will be happy to see again on a headlining tour.
Carly Rae Miss “Call Me Maybe” graced the stage after Francesco Yates at the Air Canada Centre, she came out wearing a pair of black leather shorts and a white jacket, sporting a brand new pixie hair cut which suits her perfectly. She started her set with “Run Away With Me” and after the 3rd song she had had enough of everyone sitting down and asked everyone to get up and sing along. This petit little lady managed to fill this huge stage with her voice easily. During her song “Good Time” the crowd finally got into the spirit and danced or should I say bounced to the beat of the music. She exclaimed she is on the all boys tour. Carly Rae Jepsen of course sang “Call Me Maybe” unto which the crowd went bonkers as to be expected.
Hedley now bounded into the stage and I now know what thousands of screaming girls sound like and wow are they loud. They started off the show with “Hello” which is quite the appropriate song to begin a concert. Jacob was on stage running back and forth making sure he sang to everyone, including the people in the farthest corners and in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre. I wish I could bottle his energy and sell it, I would make millions.
I did get a kick out of Jacob’s stage presence, hamming it up for everyone. This being said Dave Rosin definitely made himself known as well, he came to the edges of the stage and made sure people knew he was there. He has quite the dance moves and facial expressions down pat while playing the guitar with ease.
I had the privilege of being part of an interview with Hedley for Live In Limbo earlier this year with Jacob and Dave and I was surprised at how down to earth they really are. I am sure the interview process has to be daunting at times but if they don’t like doing them they didn’t make it known, they were cracking jokes and just looked like they were having a great time.
Hedley slowed their set down a bit and played “Can’t Slow Down” and “Gunnin” and I am pretty sure the whole band at this point in the night took the welcome break, and rightfully so, they have been running around like maniacs on stage since the second they started. The Air Canada Centre lit up like a Christmas tree during “Gunnin” after Jacob asked everyone to raise their cell phones and the thousands of fans obliged the request, this will never get old to me, I personally love seeing this.
Jacob sitting at a grand piano made quite the crack at the audience asking them to sing along during “For The Nights” then stopped after the first line and said “that didn’t sound like singing that sounded like mumbling and texting… That sounded like Ottawa”… That got quite the boo from the Toronto fans. He restarted “For the Nights” and everyone in unison sang at the top of their lungs, Jacob seemed pleased and continued the song and stated “God, I love you Toronto” there was no lack of audience participation at this concert, they completely took over the chorus to “Perfect” which also happened to be the ending of the laid back portion of the evening. Hedley has come a long way from Idol performing to millions of people all over the world and he made mention of this and his appreciation of his fans more than once during their concert stating as long as you are there for us we will always be there for you. Thank you.
With no problem at all Hedley got everyone back on their feet and I could actually feel the floor vibrating under my chair. The running gag for the evening was every time Jacob said Toronto On-tar-i… the whole audience screamed at the top of their lungs “O” this went on for 90% of the show every chance they got.
As they have in previous performances Jacob decided it was time to take a young lady’s cell phone (Alex) and scroll through her contact list making sure the audience knew the names of these contacts. Jacob decided to ask Alex who Andrew was. The entire audience laughed when Jacob said it was her ex boyfriend and said maybe we should call him. Of course the fans egged him on and the phone call was placed much to the chagrin of Alex. The cell phone was held up to the microphone so we all could hear what Andrew was saying. After Andrew decided this phone call was real and not a prank Jacob told Andrew “heard you broke up with her, that was a f**k up dude you gave away a great catch” Alex was mortified but was invited up on stage for a selfie with the band to prove to Andrew this was real.
There is no lack of showmanship or musicianship in Hedley, they all play off each other and put on a show that not many of the thousands of screaming ladies in the audience will forget.
Once again I must thank the crew because without them there is no show!