So, I’ve decided to make this post an annual one, having started last year. What a great year 2015 has been for shows, be it new experiences or annual festivals that I enjoy attending every year. As with last year’s post, this will focus solely on shows, rather than songs/albums released.
Let’s just get right to it, here is…
Cole’s List 2015 (in no order)
The Tragically Hip – Halifax
Let’s be clear here, Atlantic Canada loves their Hip fix, and I’m no exception to this, having seen the band a dozen times or more, at several Maritime venues. I’ve often referred to them as my favourite band both to friends and in this community. You may be wondering why I’ve decided to include this show in my list, well, it was different. For the first time ever, we got to witness The Hip on a mission to play a set that involved greatest hits, including a full performance of the band’s 1992 classic album Fully Completely, and it was awesome. Halifax watched as Canada’s “home and native band” went through an energetic 2 hour set featuring everything from Grace Too, to Blow at High Dough, and let’s not forget all the great Fully Completely songs, and the ability to hear We’ll Go Too and Pigeon Camera live in Halifax for the first time in a long time. All of these songs aside, a huge favourite in Halifax is Titanic Terrarium from Day For Night, which the boys dusted off for this show, having last played it two years prior….at their last Halifax show. Now that’s pretty cool, and I can’t wait to see The Hip again.
Journey – Dartmouth
I’m a huge classic rock fan, and I like the Alderney Landing venue, though I’ve never seen Journey, and had only been to the venue a few times, during Canada Day celebrations. After a relatively quiet couple of years for outdoor rock concerts in the city, Journey was the perfect way to amp things back up, since they had never been to Halifax. Going through hits such as “Wheel in the Sky”, “Faithfully”, “Any way You Want It” and the worldwide smash hit “Don’t Stop Believin'”, Journey had the crowd in their hands, singing every word and constantly dancing, it was a great night and a beautiful way to bring things in Halifax back outside.
AC/DC – Moncton
Keeping with the theme of “going back outside”, we move three hours away to the beautiful City of Moncton, where there had been no outdoor concerts on Magnetic Hill since 2012 after Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band rocked the stage in what may have been the greatest show ever on the Hill for those that came out. It was a cold February morning when this hiatus abruptly and thankfully ended with the news that AC/DC would return to the venue following their 2009 appearance. Fans were the most excited I have seen them in a long time, booking up the hotels and campsites, and securing tickets for the big return. It’s worth noting that the AC/DC news shattered visitor records for any single announcement at Atlantic Canada Rocks. Once again, fans returned to the hill with “hells bells” on to witness AC/DC on another perfect sunny evening. Tearing through new songs such as Rock or Bust and Baptism By Fire, the band proved to the Moncton crowd that they were still going at top pace. The guys didn’t leave without showcasing their classics such as Hells Bells, Highway to Hell, T.N.T, and fan favourite Have a Drink on Me. In typical AC/DC fashion, they closed the show with a cannon heavy For Those About To Rock, causing over 50,000 fans to throw their hands in the air in excitement. The bottom line is: The hill is BACK and I can’t wait to hear what the next show will be.
Halestorm/Three Days Grace – Halifax
It’s been awhile since Three Days Grace rocked Halifax, so it was fitting that they finally return, especially with new vocalist Matt Walst at the mic. Performing at the Halifax Forum, the group gave a taste of new songs including “Painkiller” and “Human Race”, but also showing off the classics such as “Home”, “Pain”, “I Hate Everything About You” and “Just Like You.”. An extremely rare and unique thing about the show was the inclusion of Halestorm on the bill, causing many fans to be just as excited for the opening act as they were for the headliner, especially since they have never performed in Atlantic Canada. Going through songs such as “Apocalyptic”, “Love Bites (So Do I)”, and “Freak Like Me”, Lzzy Hale and the rest of the band got our crowd warmed up for Three Days Grace, but didn’t leave without a cover of Judas Priest song “Dissident Aggressor” in honour of the band performing in the city the following night. All around, an incredible show from Three Days Grace and Halestorm. (Our own Sarah MacDonald had a chat with Lzzy Hale, click here to view it.)
Pemberton Music Festival –Pemberton BC(pictured)
I am ecstatic that Atlantic Canada Rocks once again had the ability to represent Atlantic Canada in Pemberton again in 2015. The festival has once again made my 2015 list for all of the reasons from 2014, from crowd control, to food, to shuttle services, the entire event was butter smooth from start to finish from a fan standpoint, and if you are looking for a festival to attend in 2015, this is the one to go to. Despite being all the way across the country, it’s well worth it for the good times, friends, music and beautiful scenery. Musically, the festival included everything from Weezer to Kendrick Lamar to Alice Cooper, there was something for everyone, even comedy options such as Neil Hamburger and Air Sex Championships. I have to say, it was neat to see a “festival crowd” demographic welcome Alice Cooper the way they did, knowing every word to songs such as ” No More Mr. Nice Guy” or “Schools Out”. It was also welcoming to see Canadian talent such as Sam Roberts and Billy Talent rock out in the mountains with all of the world class talent. The festival also featured incredible sets from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, J.. Cole, Tiesto, Chvrches, & Hozier (Take Me To Church in the mountains sounded incredible. it felt like it was echoing off of Mount Currie and sounded incredible.) Many other incredible acts graced the stages over the weekend and it’s an event not to miss! More details on 2016 will be coming soon.
As usual these are just a few of the incredible moments I experienced in 2015, although being trapped in the Halifax airport and missing Rod Stewart in St. John’s wasn’t too incredible, there’s always next time.
Myself and Team Atlantic Canada Rocks look forward to an excellent year of concerts in 2016 and can’t wait to share all of the details with you.
Happy New Year. see you in the crowd!
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