Acoustic performances can be hit or miss in large venues. The warm and soft sounds from a simple singer/guitar combination are more likely to be heard in a coffee shop, or in an intimate theatre setting. But that was not the case last night at the Molson Amphitheatre, as singer-songwriter Dallas Green (who performs under the alias City and Colour) played to a sold out crowd in Toronto's outdoor venue.
The stage was a simple set up with no backdrops or curtains. All instruments were visible on stage prior to the band's arrival. Several circular lights were lined up behind the drum kit, and would flash at various parts of the show. This simple set up was a great pairing given the folk/rock tunes that were about to be heard. A simple set with simple music.
The show started with the band playing Woman, an eerie nine minute track that also opens the new record. The dwindling guitar hook that sounded like a twist and turn back and forth made for an interesting opening, but once the whole band kicked in, things were underway. The following song, Thirst, had the audience moving and singing along.
Green and his band played a large amount of new material from their latest studio album, If I Should Go Before You, including Northern Blues, Wasted Love, and the newest single Lover Come Back. Audiences were surprised when the band decided to play older material that were not singles including Hello, I'm in Delaware, and The Grand Optimist.
Prior to the 2011 song We Found Each Other in the Dark, Green talked about how we, as humanity, are not very kind to one another, and requested that for the next three minutes or so, to just be good to each other.
Although Green is also known for his work with post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, you'd be hard pressed to think that was once an audience he performed with in comparison to those who were in attendance of his show last night. An eclectic group of twenty somethings who loved his work in Alexisonfire to older groups of thirty and forty year olds who may have had no idea he was in a successful metal band for over ten years.
Later in the set Green played a cover of The Tragically Hip's Bobcaygeon in respect to lead singer Gord Downie who was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Green and Downie are good friends, and have worked together on the City and Colour song Sleeping Sickness.
Towards the end of the set, Green played a medley of his 2006 hit Comin' Home and the Alexisonfire song This Could be Anywhere in the World. The surprise of the cover threw people off and anyone in the audience still wearing their Alexis shirt, had Dallas' full attention.
The group finished the set with a second medley, this time of Fragile Bird, As Much As I Ever Could, and Sorrowing Man.
Over the last ten years, Green has successfully made a name for his solo career. When bands decide to go on hiatus or split, and members pursue solo projects, it's easy to still associate said members with their old band. It's a skin that's hard to shake off. For a band like Alexisonfire, who have been known and respected in the Canadian music scene for years now, Green had every right to be scared to jump into something completely different, especially that of an entirely different genre. However, with the massive support he received over the past two nights, along with the past ten years, it'd be hard to see him as anything but successful.
During the middle of his set, Green paused to thank the audience for coming to the show, still at a loss for words on how to properly express his gratitude.
"This many people should not be at something like this," he said.
But the crowd cheering him on, would have to disagree.