Despite the tragedy hours earlier at Toronto's Downsview Park, the show went on for country darlings Lady Antebellum Saturday night at a sold-out Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
And on their Own The Night world tour they didn't seem to own the world. Instead they had to be satisfied with owning a part of the 16,000 fans belting out each and every country crossover hit for 80 minutes.
The trio of singer Charles Kelley, singer Hillary Scott and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood have steadily built a larger fan base over the years, something that wasn't lost on Kelley. Mentioning they had previously played the venue opening for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, Kelley said they finally “sold the damn place out by ourselves.”
A far too long 15-minute intro dubbed the LADP (Lady Antebellum Dance Party) that showed fans dancing in the aisles, kissing and dancing some more. When they finally did emerge Lady Antebellum and their five-piece band finally got down to business with We Owned The Night. With three video screens behind them on a two-level stage, the group then went into the country-rock tinged Stars Tonight.
While Scott rarely played up to the fans, Kelley and Haywood were glad-handing throughout, even signing autographs during songs and in Haywood's case between guitar riffs. Clearly they have gone to the Shania Twain Academy of Fan Placation. Fortunately, fans were happy with most of the material, especially the poppy piano single Our Kind Of Love and the toe-tapper Perfect Day with Haywood on mandolin.
Clearly, Lady Antebellum have the crossover formula down to a science, moving from a Taylor Swift-like Just A Kiss with Haywood playing a pink piano to a slow-building pop country melding during I Run To You. The slower, ballad moments also came off fairly well despite Kelley and Scott both attempting to create some dramatic magic on stage.
Following Scott talking about how the crowds are louder and the beer is better in Canada, the group took time for an acoustic “unplugged” segment featuring a reworked American Honey that the cowboy hat-wearing hordes lapped up. But this soon went awry with a medley featuring openers Thompson Square and Darius Rucker. Rucker, best known as the lead singer of Hootie and The Blowfish, salvaged it somewhat with Let Her Cry.
Oddly enough, 2010's Need You Now album was highlighted more than the new album with Perfect Day and Love This Pain working well off the set-closer Lookin' For A Good Time. A cover of Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion didn't quite hit the mark, something best left to Mr. Tyler and Mr. Perry.
Returning to the stage for Need You Now with images of the song's video behind them (a video that was shot in Toronto), Lady Antebellum could've easily performed another three or four songs. But on this evening it appeared a little less went a far longer way.
We Owned The Night
Our Kind Of Love
Love This Pain
Dancin' Away With My Heart
Wanted You More
Love's Lookin' Good On You
Love Don't Live Here
Just A Kiss
Medley: Midnight Rider/Black Water/Let Her Be
I Run To You
Lookin' For A Good Time
Need You Now