Saturday night I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Roberts in Vancouver. His tour manager Dave set up a photo opportunity for me with Sam and the Band – they were participating in Comfort Doll Project, a local charity I do most of the photos for.
After the meet and greet/photo shoot, my partner and I headed back upstairs to the venue proper, for the concert, arriving about halfway through the opening band The Stills set. It was bedlam! Concert goers had rushed the stage, filling up the gulf between the stage and first row of seats, as well as nearly half way up each aisle as well. We had to get an attendant with a flashlight to show us where our row was, and found two young fans in our seats. They happily moved over, sharing a single seat between them, as they stood to watch the remainder of the set.
Once The Stills were done, the lights came back on and the venue security chased everyone back to their proper seating, which cleared out the ‘Pit’ and restored some order. A security person I spoke to, informed me that they’d be letting only the first three rows go up and fill ‘The Pit’ back in once the Sam Roberts Band started.
Half an hour later, with sets moved and gear tested, the lights went down amid cheers, screams, and fans trying to yet again to rush the stage. This time order was kept and standing in ‘the pit’ afforded a fantastic view/experience without the fear of being crushed by the sheer weight of too many bodies.
Sam Roberts off stage is gregarious, smiling. A very open face and a quiet spirit, which went a long way to keep his meet and greet guests from being overly nervous. On stage though, he goes through a sort of metamorphosis; his eyes narrow and his gaze becomes pointed and searching. His smile changes from friendly to knowing, and he’s no longer soft spoken. Sam Roberts is a man with something to say when he sings, and he puts his heart and passion into delivering the message to his listeners.
The band isn’t just some back up players either; they put as much of themselves into the songs and performance as the front man. They’re a tight group playing well off each other, no egos present which is refreshing.
The concert was performed at The Orpheum – an old opera house in the heart of downtown Vancouver. The atmosphere in this ornately decorated building is somewhat ethereal – gold guild, angels painted on the vaulted ceiling, intricately carved wood everywhere the eye can see – and the set design enhanced the experience in this beautiful building rather than competing with or taking away from it. For someone with a powerhouse voice like Sam Roberts, it was the perfect setting to perform in and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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