The Budweiser Stage in downtown Toronto was filled with a Generation X crowd, excited to relive a part of their youth, with the 80s bands, Flock of Seagulls, Glass Tiger and headliner Corey Hart.
As much as I would like to give a review of Flock of Seagulls, I missed the call time by minutes due to Toronto traffic.
Glass Tiger hit the stage and fans were excited. In all accounts, it was actually unbelievable that they were performing that night. Alan Frew explained that he was badly injured and had actually broken his neck 3 weeks prior to the show. He recounts waking from the sedative after his surgery and the Doctor told him he was singing. Glass Tiger didn’t want to disappoint their fans, and decided to persevere and do the cross Canada tour.
Their set consisted of nine songs, which two were from their latest album titled Thirty Three. They did the fan favorites, Don’t Forget Me, Someday and Thin Red Line. The two new releases were This Is London and This is Your Life.
When performing Someday, the crowd rose to their feet and sang the classic hit at the top of their lungs.
Alan told the crowd to close their eyes and remember the year 1986. He said to remember the hair and eye shadow, then quipped “on me”. The crowd erupted in laughter. He joked about shopping at Le Chateau and wearing pants that his mother claimed belong to his sister. The crowd could relate, knowing we were all a product of that time and questionable fashion choices.
These seasoned life long musicians sounded album quality, which isn’t a surprise. It’s always a great time watching them live.
The Never Surrender Tour, which is Corey Harts first tour in 22 years, is making it’s way across Canada’s majestic land from coast to coast.
Although in my youth, I made it a point to see as many concerts as I could, I never had the opportunity to see Corey Hart perform live, so this was a first for me. I went to the show with the mentality of reliving my youth for a couple of hours. What I certainly didn’t expect was the emotion and experience that embodied the venue that night. I don’t think during my career of shooting shows, that I have ever seen a performance quite like this. The show exemplified the morality of Corey Hart in massive doses.
Hart took a 22 year hiatus from the music industry to focus on his family. A video montage showed him speaking in Spanish with his son, explaining how his father wasn’t present during his youth and how it had hurt him emotionally. He vowed that he would be ever present for his family. It was a touching montage, but that was simply the beginning of the heartstrings being pulled that evening. He utilized that moment to make his way to a small stage that sat in the middle of the 100 level.
Corey Hart got on top of the piano that was situated on the stage, and said he wanted to get closer to his fans. He said that as a child he would attend shows and felt like the artist that he was so excited to see, didn’t know he was even there or connected with their fans. He made a promise to make everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. He later did a tour of the venue, shaking peoples hands and even received kisses from some ladies. By the end of the venue romp, he showed up on stage dawning lipstick on his cheek.
Going back to the small stage scenario. Corey said he had never done this, which peaked peoples curiosity of what he was about to do. With a quivering lip and a heavy heart, he told the crowd that his mom had passed away several years prior. He further explained that he had a bit of an estranged relationship with his sister. His mother asked Corey to please sing By Your Side to his sister. He then proceeded to invite her up to the stage and sang that particular song to her. It was his mothers dying wish and he was finally delivering on his promise. Looking around, I could see some people crying. The emotion was suffocating the venue.
His set list consisted of 19 songs, which included 3 songs for the encore. All the classics that the crowd knew and loved were performed that night. Songs like Boy In The Box, Everything In My Heart, Never Surrender and of course Sunglasses At Night. He peppered a few covers from Elvis, and ColdPlay into the mix. At one point, between songs, the crowd showed their appreciation by cheering excessively loudly. It turned out to be another tear jerker moment. Corey emotions came to the surface again. He was obviously overwhelmed by the love that the crowd exuded. It was really touching to witness that moment.
At one point a lucky fan was brought up on stage. She had told him she was his number one fan, but that he was slipping into the second spot for Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) because he hadn’t released any new material in over 20 years. So he decided to make it up to her and invited Jim Cuddy up to the stage and they sang First Rodeo to her while she sat up on the stage. I had seen Jim backstage while I was making my way to the photo pit, but figured he was just there to see the show. It was a cool guest appearance. I’m sure that lucky fan will recant that story for years to come.
Not only was this show an emotional one, but I do have to touch base on the actual performance. I am very happy to report that although he took over 20 years off from touring, his vocals where surprisingly strong.
I have a new found respect for Corey, both as an artist and as a person. He is making his way out to the west coast. If you have a chance to see this tour, do not miss it!