Posted in Arts, Top Arts

Hedley wows hometown crowd

Two different writers, one amazing performance

Local boys Hedley wowed Rogers Area for their final tour stop.
Local boys Hedley wowed Rogers Area for their final tour stop.
Image Credits: hedleyonline.com

Hedley took Rogers Arena by storm at the final show of the Canadian leg of their Hello World Tour. Francesco Yates started the show off strong with a solid, high-energy performance, complete with superb falsetto. He and his bassist even had some synchronized dance moves for the funky “Better to Be Loved.” Yates ended on “Sugar,” arguably his most well-known tune.

Carly Rae Jepsen took the reins next, opening with “Run Away with Me” off E·MO·TION. Most of her set came from her latest album, and sadly nothing from before Kiss was played. Her performance was intimate — she seems more natural and at home on a smaller stage — but spot-on. Surprisingly, she did not end on “Call Me Maybe,” though she did have the entire audience singing and dancing along. Instead, “I Really Like You” took the coveted finale slot to keep the singalong kicking.

Hedley introduced themselves with an inspirational video about #ChangeAgents. This initiative helps people recognize world problems and connects individuals to make a #Someday where those problems are fixed. Following directly was a small sitcom-style skit introduction, which got the audience laughing and ready for a fun, crazy night.

From the get-go, frontman Jacob Hoggard was bouncing from one side of the stage to the other, never letting up as the band exploded onto the stage to “Hello.” The band’s stage presence was phenomenal, with guitarist Dave Rosin and bassist Tommy Mac also moving freely about the stage.

The sound was great, the vocals coming in at a decent volume over of the drums, bass, and guitar. They played a sweet medley of their song “Never Too Late” sandwiching “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake, featuring MØ, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars.

“Can’t Slow Down” was next, and I’m still not sure why they auto-tuned Hoggard’s great voice. Then they switched gears to older stuff like “Gunnin’,” “For the Nights I Can’t Remember,” and “Perfect.” The audience went nuts during “Lose Control,” thanks to the great showmanship from the entire band.

They also did a rendition of “Unchained Melody” dedicated to Hoggard’s Nona who was in the crowd. Next Hoggard appeared in the audience and serenaded the crowd with his acoustic guitar, before joining the rest of the band on the main stage.

The night was made even more memorable by an extra song, “I Won’t Let You Go (Darling),” that Hoggard added to the set-list because it was his little sister Amanda’s birthday. It was a sweet, touching moment — the soft beauty of the song mixing with the palpable emotion in his voice. There were some teary audience members by the end.

Hedley ended on “Anything,” and though I wasn’t a fan of the song when it came out, there’s something deeply moving and inspiring about so many people banding together, screaming “Fuck that, I can do anything.” The only downside to the evening was that drummer Chris Crippin was injured. He did, however, emerge at the end of the show to take a deserved bow with his bandmates and fill-in drummer. – CM

I rarely go to concerts because they’re overpriced in Vancouver. That said, I got a Groupon deal on Hedley tickets and decided, why the hell not.

When I got to Rogers Arena, I noticed I was surrounded by mostly pre-teens and likely many families from Abbotsford and Mission, that were there to support local talent.

As I took my seat, Francesco Yates and his afro took the stage with some wannabe Mick Jagger moves. Yates’ voice had excellent range and reminded me of the late-legend Prince himself. It came as no surprise to me when I later learned he won Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2016 Juno Awards.

After Yates finished, Carly Rae Jepsen got the crowd singing along to her international hit “Call Me Maybe” and ended with her more current hit “I Really Like You.”

I overheard one father say he only came for Carly Rae, and that he was going to leave after her opening act. To both that man’s and my surprise, Hedley blew us away.

Hedley opened with “Hello” — a great choice for an introductory song, and coincidentally the name of their newest album and tour. The setlist included new and old hits, as well as a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

Lead singer Jacob Hoggard led a singalong on piano to the hit “For the Nights I Can’t Remember” and stopped to complain the Vancouver crowd wasn’t singing well enough, comparing us to Toronto. This sparked a huge reaction from his Vancouver fans.

Perhaps the highlight of Jacob Hoggard’s in-between-songs comedy act was confiscating a girl’s cellphone for texting during his concert. He went through her texts, making boyfriend jokes, which led to Hoggard calling the girl’s “daddy” on stage.

All in all, it was a memorable performance, and Vancouver fans definitely got their money’s worth. All of my expectations for this concert were surpassed, and I think it was because there was a “proud to be a Vancouverite” vibe that echoed throughout Rogers Arena. I left the concert a little prouder to be a Vancouverite, knowing we have incredible local talent. – ES

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