#BGReviewer: Dean Brody and Dallas Smith
Last night, Canadian country music talent was on full display at Budweiser Gardens! Dean Brody, Dallas Smith, MacKenzie Porter, and Chad Brownlee, along with The Reklaws, proved that “Friends Don’t Let Friends Tour Alone”, and the audience was treated to an incredible show. Walking up to the venue, in a mass of plaid shirts and cowboy boots, there was a buzz in the air that only amplified once inside Budweiser Gardens.
The Reklaws started things off with an amazing opening set. They began with their new single Old Country Soul, followed with their hits I Do Too, Feels Like That, and Long Live the Night. The Start.ca stage felt even more intimate when they sat on the steps of the stage and performed a mash-up of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads and their song Roots. The brother-sister duo had the crowd back up on their feet shortly after, singing along to party songs like Wish You Were Beer. They were the perfect introduction to the show.
When the curtain lifted for the next performers, the atmosphere became electric, which it remained for the entirety of the concert. Dean Brody and Dallas Smith ooze charisma and star power, and here they were together on one stage. The special effects lighting only enhanced the spectacle, as Dean and Dallas took turns singing duets of each other’s well-known songs. Hearing Dean sing parts of Dallas’ Somebody Somewhere, and Dallas sing along with Dean’s Undone was a truly unique experience.
Dallas Smith disappeared backstage and Dean Brody, wearing his signature cowboy hat, took the spotlight. He performed crowd favourites like Bush Party, Dirt Roads Scholar, Whiskey in a Teacup, and Mountain Man to name a few. The entire show had that Friday feeling, which was evident when Dean sang It’s Friday, and everyone had their drinks raised high. His velvet-smooth vocals gave the audience an escape from the drizzly, cool day that was outside when he sang Good Goodbye and Roll That Barrel Out. His warm voice, accompanied by the band, along with strategic lighting colour choices, made us feel like we were going to have one more margarita in Mexico, or twist the tap and pass it around in Jamaica. When the stage lit up red and white, everyone knew what song was next, and I don’t think there was a single person in the arena not belting out Canadian Girls along with him.
In the final verses of Dean’s song Bounty, MacKenzie Porter graced the stage with the most beautiful, dazzling, silver pair of thigh-high boots I’ve ever seen. The beauty of the boots was only outdone by the beauty of her voice. She went on to sing her current radio single, These Days. Chad Brownlee was next to perform, joking he just can’t avoid arenas, a reference to his past career as a professional hockey player. The Canadian country music scene would’ve lost a gem if he didn’t pursue his passion for music. He sang his single Forever’s Gotta Start Somewhere, as well as his classic When the Lights Go Down. The crowd overwhelmed him with applause.
Dallas Smith returned after Brownlee, to treat the audience to more of his hits. Everyone was singing (some of us screaming) along, to favourites like Lifted, Tippin Point, and Wastin’ Gas, as well as newer songs like Drop and Timeless. Dallas used the entire stage to deliver his performance, and was often seen acknowledging his fans with waves, as well as taking a selfie with one lucky fan’s phone. His energy was contagious, and everyone was dancing along. His authentic country-rocker voice enthralled the crowd from start to finish, including softer moments like when he serenaded us with Autograph. Dallas delivered, and it didn’t go unnoticed.
To finish off the show, Dean and Dallas came back out onstage to the “Friends Bar” where Dean sang his emotional song Time. Dallas treated the crowd to Wasting My Time, a throwback song from his days in the rock band Default. Chad Brownlee and MacKenzie Porter joined the guys on stage for the title song for the tour, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Alone. Of course, no concert would be complete without an encore, and Dean and Dallas did not disappoint. It didn’t matter if you were front row or in the Cheap Seats, it was an amazing show from beginning to end.
I’d like to thank Budweiser Gardens for the opportunity to be the reviewer for this concert, and for the $25 Downtown Dollars that were an extra bonus to an already fantastic night!
Photos by: @BillWoodcock