City and Colour

Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, performs at Budweiser Gardens on February 18, 2024.

Dallas Green, the artist known as City and Colour, took the stage at Budweiser Gardens on February 18, delivering a performance that was both an intimate affair and an arena-sized spectacle. This stop was a highlight of his first cross-Canada tour in five years, in support of his latest album, “The Love Still Held Me Near.”

The setlist struck a fine balance, mixing fresh tracks with the classics. Opening with “Meant to Be,” Green set the tone for an evening that promised a deep dive into his expansive catalog. The show continued with “Runaway” and “Thirst,” before touching on the soulful title track from his new album.

 

Fan favorites like “Two Coins” and “We Found Each Other in the Dark” resonated with the crowd, their familiar melodies weaving through the venue. Meanwhile, newer songs such as “Weightless” and “Astronaut” showcased Green’s knack for crafting tunes that feel both ethereal and grounded.

The emotional depth of the night didn’t wane as Green delivered “Waiting…” and “Hard, Hard Time,” with his voice cutting through the arena with stirring honesty. The throwback vibes of “Hello, I’m in Delaware” contrasted with the fresh “Bow Down to Love,” highlighting Green’s journey through the years.

The encore was a standout moment, with “Northern Wind” setting the stage for a medley of “Comin’ Home / This Could Be Anywhere in the World,” which had the audience on its feet, singing along with fervor. “Lover Come Back” and “Sleeping Sickness” closed the night on a high note, leaving the crowd both satisfied and yearning for more.

Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night SweatsDan Savoie

Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats

Before City and Colour, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats took the stage, setting it ablaze with a performance that was nothing short of a live music revelation. This U.S. band, with their rich fusion of folk, Americana, and vintage rhythm and blues, captured the audience’s full attention, a feat becoming rarer in the smartphone era. Their show was a potent reminder of the raw power inherent in live music, a power that once filled the halls of Detroit’s Cobo Hall back in ’76 during the legendary Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band concert that birthed the ‘Live Bullet’ album.

The set opened with “Suffer Me,” immediately establishing a raw, emotional tone that would thread through the night’s performance. The “Intro” built upon this foundation, ramping up the anticipation in the crowd, who were perched on the edge of their seats, ready for the ride. By the time “I Need Never Get Old” was in full swing, the audience was completely enveloped in the band’s infectious energy and Rateliff’s undeniable stage presence.

Songs like “I’ll Be Damned” and “Survivor” kept the energy high, with the latter resonating as a powerful anthem among the gathered crowd. “Look It Here” and “You Worry Me” were showcases of the band’s skill at melding soul-stirring melodies with lyrics that cut to the core of the human experience, a signature of Rateliff’s songcraft.

“A Little Honey” provided a moment of sweetness, a soothing interlude before “Wasting Time” reinvigorated the audience. The unreleased track “Heartless” offered a tantalizing peek at what’s to come from the band, further solidifying the night as a standout experience.

Reflective tracks like “And It’s Still Alright” and “Hey Mama” highlighted Rateliff’s talent for conveying deep emotional truths, while “Coolin’ Out” brought a laid-back, groovy feel that had the entire Gardens swaying in harmony.

The opening chords of “S.O.B.” sent the energy through the roof, with the crowd fully engaged, singing along with a fervor that harkened back to a different era of concert-going. The closing number, “Love Don’t,” was the perfect capstone to a set that took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, leaving them both exhilarated and deeply moved.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ performance was a vivid reminder of the enchantment that occurs when a band and their audience forge a deep, almost spiritual connection. On this night, the present moment reigned supreme, with smartphones forgotten and the music taking center stage. The nod to Bob Seger’s iconic ’76 show was no casual comparison. Like that historic night, there was an undeniable magic at Budweiser Gardens, a shared understanding that everyone in attendance was part of something extraordinary.

Ruby Waters

Ruby Waters

Opening the show with a blend of genres that defies easy categorization, Ontario’s Ruby Waters hit the stage. With a musical lineage that traces back to country roots, Waters brings to the table a sound that’s unmistakably rock, yet infused with a jazzy R&B essence, particularly evident in her vocal delivery. Her influences, ranging from the classic rock giants like Led Zeppelin to modern icons such as Rihanna, create a rich tapestry of sound that’s both familiar and refreshingly unique.

Waters’ performance was a showcase of her raw, husky voice, a feature that captivates from the first note. It’s a voice that carries with it a sense of honest reality, a direct reflection of her lyrics which are as genuine as they are poignant. Her set was a journey through emotions, each song a chapter that spoke to the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of life.

All photos by Dan Savoie

City and Colour:

Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats

Ruby Waters

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