Concert Reviews

Alessia Cara at the Sony Centre for Performing Arts

Straight off of her opening slate on Shawn Mendes’ European tour the 22-year-old Brampton native returned to home to dazzle with The Pains of Growing Tour.

For those fans on Friday night that have been on this journey with Alessia since her days on YouTube, you felt right at home as the curtain began to rise and a replica of her home emerged. She took the audience back to the beginning rather quickly with “Here” and “Wild Things” from her debut album. She was beyond excited to be playing her sixth show back in the six, with so many family and friends in attendance, you could feel their excitement and energy throughout the whole show.

Any artist who breaks down their set by doing songs acoustically will forever have my heart. The show shifts and becomes more intimate, sing-alongs begin to break out and the chills are instant. She apologized before diving into the acoustic version of “All We Know” stating that she always gets the guitar chords wrong, so if it happened we should all just sing together and pretend nothing was wrong. It was one of the many light hearted and interacting moments Alessia had with the crowd. She shared a lot of stories on Friday night, stories of what inspired specific songs and the album as a whole, what she thinks God sees when he looks back down below, and just how thankful she is for every single fan, new or old.

Every single person when they see their favourite artist tour a new album is always super excited to hear a new song on the set list for the first time. As this was the first tour for “The Pains of Growing” every song off the album was so refreshing and comforting to hear. Ahead of this show I had been preparing myself to hear “Out of Love” for the first time. In the past Cara had stated that she had wrote a song for a friend who had just been through a breakup, this was their pain. This pain is something that is universal and it is rather cathartic to sing about in a room full of people. As the entire Sony Centre turned their lights on their phones and swayed in unison, it felt like a moment of healing for those who had been heartbroken.

The amount of joy that radiated from this young girl sitting in front of me as soon as the word Disney was mentioned, we all knew what was coming. Even the parents joined in to sing “How Far I’ll Go” which was written by the incomparable Lin Manuel Miranda, and covered by Alessia for the “Moana” soundtrack. If there is one thing that is certain, it’s that Disney brings everyone young and old together.

It had been 3 years since Alessia Cara sold out the Danforth Music Hall of her first tour in front of her hometown crowd. Since then she has been featured on songs with Logic and Zedd, won multiple Juno awards and a Grammy award. She still remains as down to earth and as big of an inspiration to her fans worldwide as the first day she stepped into the spotlight. Anytime Alessia Cara turns up in Toronto, you can find me there singing my heart out to her songs right beside thousands of other young women (and men) who have been inspired by her over the years.