Blink-182 – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – Toronto – August 21, 2016
By Nicole Ireland
Photos by Andrew Hartl
It’s going to be cringe-worthy but I just have to say it, Sunday, August 21 was a day to remember. Blink-182 completely rocked the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre and I’m still coming down from my concert high.
DJ Spider was the first opener, and he pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t know what I’d expect, but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to play mid-2000s pop-punk classics that everyone knew all of the words to. It was a super fun way to start off the evening and it got me pumped up for the bands.
The night’s line-up of bands could not have been better for me. All Time Low makes my inner 15-year-old girl go completely bananas, A Day to Remember is one of my favourite bands, and I firmly believe that the men of Blink-182 are absolute legends. Long story short: this article is full of bias, but at least I acknowledge the bias.
All Time Low is always very consistent. They were high energy and they made a lot of penis jokes, as per usual. While you’d think the jokes would get old, somehow they manage to find the appropriate ratio of onstage banter to actual music playing. Since their set was fairly short, they mostly stuck to playing the big hits that everyone knows. I had absolutely no problem with that because nothing gets better than belting out the lyrics to “Dear Maria, Count Me In” no matter how popular it is.
I don’t have much to say about A Day to Remember other than the fact that they killed it. They always hit the stage with so much intensity and without fail I always leave their set with a very sore neck from head-banging too hard. I thought they were a slightly odd pairing with All Time Low and Blink-182 since they’re definitely on the heavier side of pop punk, but I totally think it worked. All three bands are so energetic that while ADTR’s music was pretty different, their energy levels were on par with the other bands so the momentum just kept building all night.
When Blink finally came on stage the crowd was so loud that if you closed your eyes you would have thought you were at a Justin Bieber concert (I have experienced both, I can confirm this statement). It was unbelievable. I was also very interested to see the range of people that came out to see this band. There were a bunch of teenagers who were likely there for ATL and ADTR, or who are just getting into Blink-182; there were endless amounts of twenty-somethings who discovered Blink just before their teen years when they needed angsty pop-punk the most; and there were people in their 30s and 40s who were longtime fans of the band.
I think they did a fantastic job of playing the classic songs that everyone loves, but also playing a bunch of the new tracks from California. This may be an unpopular opinion because I know that people typically care to see the classics, but I loved hearing the new stuff live. They seemed really exciting to be playing those songs and I was really excited to get to hear them.
The biggest highlight of Blink’s set for me was definitely experiencing “I Miss You” live. That song was an absolute anthem of the mid-2000s and it was the coolest thing to hear it live with a few thousand other people who also have a lot of love for this song. As I said before, I think of Blink as legendary. This was one of the songs that solidified that for me and as this was my first time seeing the band live, it was out of this world.
A very big thank you to Blink-182 for making all of my teenage dreams come true. From the openers to the set list, I had one hell of a nostalgia trip. Fun was had, lyrics were shouted, and everybody still likes me because I’m not 23.
This story really begins almost twenty-five years ago. Back then I was the quintessential globetrotter. I spent over a decade travelling the world with five of those years working aboard several ocean liners.
When my wife suggested that we do a Caribbean cruise as our winter vacation, I had one of those lightbulb moments – what if we did a cruise that went to all of my old favourite ports of call?
We decided on a Western Caribbean itinerary aboard the Ruby Princess, which is part of Princess Cruise Lines. The destinations would include Fort Lauderdale, Florida as our starter, especially as this is from where the ship would depart in Port Everglades. From there, the trip would include a private beach on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, and then St Maarten and St. Thomas. This would be followed by the Turks and Caicos, (my new favourite Caribbean destination).
Arriving in Fort Lauderdale, I recognized that most everything had changed from the way I remembered it, but time has a way of doing just that – all of the small docks, surrounding bars, restaurants, and tourist shops had given way to huge, modern cruise ship terminals. One stop shopping for everything from jewelry, duty-free shops, typical tropical gift shops and, for when you’re ready for a cool beverage by the pool there was the new hotel complex Margaritaville, which seems to be a very popular place.
Boarding The Ruby Princess left our eyes widened and our mouths agape. It was absolutely beautiful – stunningly decorated for the holidays and contained everything that one could imagine in order to keep guests entertained and pampered… and then some. A vast selection of restaurants, bars, and lounges provided enough sinfully delicious food and drink to last a lifetime. Meanwhile, a spa, a range of pools, and several sporting facilities assisted guests in working off the growing number of calories. Our cabin was small, as expected aboard a ship, but was entirely comfortable, cozy and tastefully decorated with a small living area adjacent to the bedroom and a small desk in between.
We thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the trip, from our island excursions to The Captain’s gala dinners. I mean, how often do you get the opportunity to wear a tuxedo in the Caribbean, unless you’re getting married.
Out on deck, watching movies under the stars while lounging in recliners, I hear: “Excuse me, sir, would you care for some popcorn? I’m thinking, does it get any better?
But before I have the chance to finish that thought the next crewmember comes along and asks if I’d like some milk and cookies. Right there – questioned asked and answered!
Yep, life is good on the high seas.
By Robyn Crosby
Photos by Andrew Hartl
This past Sunday, at Drake’s 7th Annual OVOFest, the crowd was more than amped for Drake and Future as part of the Summer Sixteen Tour. Drake opened the show and proceeded to attack a huge set list of approximately 50 songs, including his smash hits and songs from this year’s release, Views.
Drake promised special guest appearances and he delivered. He brought out, or rather up from the trap door in the stage floor… Rihanna.
She performed “Needed Me” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” before Drake came back and joined her to perform, for the first time ever together, “Too Good”. They also delivered “Work”. Like in other performances the pair wined together; they even shared a cute little moment when Rihanna appeared to mess up a part of a song. “That’s how you know it’s real,” Drake joked. The Barbadian also shared that she was usually in her native home this particular weekend for Carnival, alluding to how special it was that she was in Toronto and not adorning her usual beaded and barely there, Carnival costume.
Firecracker bombs, fireworks and smoke kept the crowd exhilarated during both Drizzy and Future’s sets. Drake had many visual treats as well. During the song “9”, the backdrop featured Toronto’s CN Tower. And at one point, lights from the ceiling came down to create a 6. He also took a tour around the Air Canada Centre on a floating-stage-plexi-glass-gondola.
The decked-out-in-Drake-apparel-crowd (there were regular merch booths as well as Drake’s OVO Store to shop at) was asked if they wanted the short or the long show, and were warned no one should be sitting down or looking tired. Loud shouts and screams ensured the long show was the only show the audience wanted. At about 11:35 Drake joked, “They want me off the stage, but I own the building,” as he teased about his many Raptors and ACC connections.
During Future’s set, Future and his DJ undeniably hyped the crowd. Songs included “Stick Talk” and “Fuck Up Some Commas” and he didn’t hold back when it came to more of the thunderous fireworks. Four dancers also brought heat to the ATL rappers trap music. Later, Drake returned to perform “Big Rings” and “Jumpman” alongside Future. However, absent from the collab was “Where Ya At”. But the autotune rapper did perform “Low Life”, a song recorded with Toronto’s own, The Weeknd.
After, Drake took back the baton to round out the night. Before launching into “Energy”, the Toronto native, took a second to genuinely take it all in. Throughout the night Drizzy had gone on about how much his city meant to him and the pride he felt. “I love you for real,” he said. The show ended with the song “Legend”.
With the exchange of love and appreciation from both the adoring crowd and Drake, he bestowed a message, “Use the hours of the day to protect the ones you love, we don’t want to lose any.” “Get home safe,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, Roy Woods opened the show.
Watch for video documentation to show up somewhere, as there were many cameras throughout the venue, including many shots of the crowd!
Review and Photos by Andrew Hartl
The abundance of affordable on-line airfare deals with the likes of Germanwings, Ryanair, Air Berlin and a host of other airlines offering flights within Europe for under $100, brings any of Europe’s incredible cities within reach.
This weekend’s getaway brought me to Venice, Italy. If you’ve never been before, it’s definitely one of those bucket list cities. Since Venice is made up of 117 smaller islands in the Venetian Lagoon, there is no road traffic. For that matter, there are no roads, only narrow cobblestone lanes. The islands are separated by canals and linked by many, many bridges.
Upon arrival at Marco Polo International Airport, visitors are met with their first decision – to pay a few Euros and take the Vaporetto (boat bus) with all the other tourists and their luggage, or to pay $100 to travel in style in an Italian high-speed racing boat limo.
The boat bus option slowly makes its way from the airport up The Grand Canal, with designated stops along the way. And next comes the fun part – navigating the way through endless cobblestone alleys, up and over numerous bridges with luggage in tow, while attempting to find your hotel in this ancient labyrinth of a city.
The alternative – the high-speed boat/limo – offers classic and very powerful wooden boats that are small enough to manoeuvre through the narrow canals and then drop visitors at your hotel doorstep. Personally, I considered a hundred bucks well spent for the experience. After all, how often does one spend a weekend in Venice?
There are plenty of accommodation choices in Venice. I opted for the NH Venezia Palazzo Barocci, a former palace turned hotel. Considered to be rather pricey at $400US/night for a Junior Suite, the room offered 2 balconies with positively spectacular views and fittingly furnished fittingly with Venetian opulence. The hotel location is spectacular, set on the Grand Canal and overlooking The Rialto Bridge. It’s conveniently located within walking distance to almost everything, but far enough away from the main square madness that guests can get a restful night’s sleep. There is also a Vaporetto (boat bus) stop directly outside the front door.
Once guests have checked in, if you’re anything like me, you’re ready to run off and explore everything there is to see. But the best way to start and at the same time orientate yourself with the city’s layout is to take the boat-bus from one end of the canal to the other and then back again. The ride takes roughly an hour and a half and you’ll get some great views of Venice so bring a camera.
One of the nicest things about Venice is that visitors simply can’t get lost while exploring countless shops and restaurant gems hidden along the many cobblestone alleys. Given the many tours through the alley, it’s highly possible to encounter a sudden swarm of people. But it’s easy to duck down the next laneway, escape the crowds, and keep right on exploring. Simply put, it’s awesome.
St Mark’s Square with its cathedral, palace, and Bell Tower is one of the main attractions and gathers the most visitors. The square is lined with shops, boutiques, and cafes. And there are outdoor patios that feature live classical music every evening. Seating on the patio automatically elicits a $50 cover charge added to your bill, but a basket of potato chips is complimentary.
The Cathedral is spectacular and the tourist line-ups to get in seem endless, but guests with a little knowledge can the skip the line by visiting www.basilicasanmarco.it in order to reserve an entry time for the cost of 2 Euros. It’s a little-known fact that can be an excellent time saver. The Doge’s Palace is also worth a visit. It contains many works of art and is a great way to see how Venetian royalty lived.
The best view in town is a quick elevator ride to the top of the Bell Tower, directly opposite the Cathedral. The line-up can also be long but it moves quickly and rewards tourists with an unobstructed 360-degree view of Venice.
The Bridge of Sighs is just around the corner on the canal. The bridge linked the prison with the palace where legend has it that you could hear the sighs of the condemned as they were being led to prison and were getting their last views of daylight.
The Rialto Bridge is another very popular attraction. Sundown is the best time to visit, just as the lights are coming on. This offers beautiful photos of the hustle and bustle on the canal below. The bridge is lined with souvenir shops and it’s great to hang out at one of the cafes for an espresso or gelato and some people-watching. Following the alley past the bridge will take visitors to the train station and fish market, which is interesting to see if you don’t mind the intense smell.
If you have time, a tour of the Veneto Region is recommended, as an hour or two drive from Venice towards the Dolomite Mountains. This tour included stops in Bassano Del Grappa, the town best know for The Grappa (spirits made from grapes) it produces. Lunch is provided in a small-town rustic restaurant, followed by a tour and tasting at Prosecco Vineyard.
Try your best to get lost, enjoy a great meal, drink some world class wine, sit back, close your eyes and surrender yourself to the magic that is Venice.
By Natalie Paterson
Photos by Andrew Hartl
The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre was unsurprisingly packed for an iconic Canadian artist on Tuesday night. It’s hard to believe one man can keep an audience on their feet and singing for nearly 3 hours, but Bryan Adams manages to do this consistently, and tonight was no exception. He was the first musical act to perform at the Amphitheatre on May 18, 1995, and just over 21 years later he’s back. Seeing him so comfortable on that stage adds another layer of awesomeness to his entire performance.
Promoting his 13th album, Get Up, the show featured tracks from his new album including “Do What Ya Gotta Do” and “Go Down Rockin’”. But it wouldn’t be a Bryan Adams concert without the classics, including “Run to You”, “Heaven”, and the ever appropriate “Summer of ’69”.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen him in concert, so I knew what to expect. But seeing the range of fans that come out to his shows, young and old, for me always cements what a wonderful performer he is. Bryan Adams is a truly iconic Canadian artist, and just going to one of his shows is explanation enough for his popularity.
The Get Up Tour continues on July 27th in Quebec City at the Videotron Centre and continues across North America, Europe, and the UK through 2017.
Bryan Adams Setlist
Do What Ya Gotta Do
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Don’t Even Try
Run to You
Go Down Rockin’
Kids Wanna Rock
It’s Only Love
You Belong to Me
Summer of ’69
When You’re Gone
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
On a Day Like Today
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Back to You
We Did It All
I’ll Always Be Right There
Please Forgive Me
Cuts Like a Knife
18 til I Die
The Only Thing that Looks Good on Me Is You
Brand New Day
C’mon Everybody (Eddie Cochrane cover)
All Shook Up (Elvis Presley cover)
She Knows Me
Straight From The Heart
All For Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting cover)
By Natalie Paterson
Photos by Andrew Hartl
The ACC was lit up with neon lights as Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas brought their Future Now tour to the city where they first met. Fans were lined up well before the show started and honestly, I can’t blame them. These two performers are electric individually on stage, but combining them serves as a true treat for the audience.
Nick and Demi met in Toronto filming “Camp Rock” back in 2007, and they both noted this during their individual sets. Starting things off was Nick Jonas, rocking the stage and bringing a crazy amount of energy to his set with “Levels”, “Champagne Problems” and “Bacon”, complete with a graphic of a sizzling pan of delicious bacon behind him while he sang.
Next up was Demi Lovato, and she was absolute fire. Seriously, this woman knows how to command the stage and bring the audience to their knees, all within a few songs. She started out with “Confident”, “Heart Attack” and “Neon Lights”, calling out to the audience: “You’re beautiful!” Jonas came back out for a few more songs, including joining Lovato for “Stone Cold” and bringing back an old Jonas Brothers song, noting his amazement in having people still sing that song back to him years later. Demi closed the show out with a chills-inducing “Skyscraper”, and turned the ACC into a summer bash with “Cool for the Summer”.
All in all, one hell of a concert and a seriously good time. The tour runs until September 17th, and the next stop is the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Check this tour out if you can guys, you’ll have an amazing time!
Nick Jonas Setlist
Good Thing (Sage the Gemini cover)
Stone Cold (Demi Lovato cover)(with Demi Lovato)
A Little Bit Longer (You Don’t Even Know) (Jonas Brothers cover)
Close (with Demi Lovato)
Demi Lovato Setlist
Fix a Heart
Stone Cold (with Nick Jonas on piano)
Close (Nick Jonas cover)(with Nick Jonas)
Give Your Heart A Break
Cool for the Summer
Review by Samantha Wu
Photos by Andrew Hartl
Never in all my years of attending concerts at the Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto have I seen it as busy and as crowded as it was when Dave Matthews Band played there earlier this week. Though I showed up at the venue at precisely the right time, the crowd outside the gates was massive as was the line for the box office and will call. As I moved to join the line, I soon realized that it stretched past the Molson Ampitheatre entrance, across the pedestrian bridge and well into the parking lot for the BMO Field across the highway. Needless to say, I knew I would be stuck in this monstrosity of a line for the next foreseeable future and I’d certainly be missing the beginning of the show.
On one hand, it shows the impact Dave Matthews Band has on the rock music industry and on fans proving that the 90s will never truly go away. The people in the crowd ranged all age groups — children, teens, and millennials to baby boomers. From those who remember fondly albums like Crash and Before These Crowded Streets when they were released and had them playing on repeat way back when, to those who are now schooling a younger generation on just how great this music was and still is, everyone was in the audience for this show. If only everyone could just get to their seats on time.
It’s hard to say what caused this amount of chaos and confusion in the first place but from what I heard through the grapevine, it was that this show wasn’t using electronic tickets and all tickets had to be in printed form. The security team was thankfully sympathetic towards the discomfort and concerns of the crowd.
By the time I reached the end of the line and had my ticket in hand, it was already 9:30 pm, an hour had past since Dave Matthews Band had taken the stage and I had officially missed the first half of the show. For that reason, I can’t actually say if the show had started well though a few people in line at the concession stand said Dave Matthews and company played an outstanding set.
Taking a look at their set list, I’m sad that some of my favourite songs including “When the World Ends” and “Break Free” were played at the beginning of the show and therefore I had completely missed them. What I did catch, including “What Would You Say” and “You & Me”, was a lot of fun to watch. The crowd danced and sang along; it was a delight to behold. The joy of a Dave Matthews Band show is how communal the experience is, Dave Matthews himself is a warm and welcoming individual who invites the crowd to relax into the music and put their feet up. Each song performed starts the way everyone remembers on the album and then evolved into an organic jam session where everyone on stage simply let loose and had fun allowing their instruments to speak for themselves.
The crowd loved it and they grooved with it and I wish I could have been able to let go and enjoy myself more. Unfortunately waiting over an hour on my feet standing in the chilly evening air had taken up my reserves and I found myself too cold and enduring much pain and exhaustion to enjoy the rest of the show as much as I could have.
It’s alarming that this kind of situation had to happen that forced hundreds of people to miss a good chunk of the show, despite arriving at the appropriate time.
One Sweet World
When the World Ends
The Idea of You
Death on the High Seas
You Might Die Trying
Lie in Our Graves
So Much to Say
What Would You Say
You & Me
Why I Am
Sexy M.F. (Prince cover)
Pantala Naga Pampa