It’s a cryin’ shame that most concert photographers are allowed to shoot the first three songs only, and are then often asked to leave the show – most bands are barely getting started by then, and Three Days Grace is no exception. After launching into opener Break, followed by Good Life, and perennial favorite Pain (where singer Adam Gontier switched back and forth between microphones to produce different vocal effects), the audience was ready to follow the band’s example and kick it up a notch when told to “get up out of your seats, get on your feet Kamloops.”
Bitter Taste, the title track from the band’s new album, ‘Life Starts Now’, elicits good response from the crowd, most of which is squished into the General Admission floor area of the venue like proverbial sardines – well behaved ones at that, much to the relief of the more than adequate venue security staff.
Wake Up and Hate flew by quickly amid much fist pumping and pogo-ing by the audience of mostly male ’20 somethings’, much to the delight of the band, especially bassist Brad Walst whose perpetual smile all night is a wonder to behold. World So Cold introduces another new song, which is received equally as well as Break and Bitter Taste – many of the fans singing with the band. Never a dull moment with Three Days Grace – Home has us all stepping back a few feet when the pyrotechnics hit the stage – towers of flames shooting 15-20 feet high in a long row at the rear of the stage warmed up anyone not already sweating from dancing and jumping.
The band leaves the stage, all except drummer Neil Sanderson, who gets up and turns his talent to a keyboard mounted on his drum kit. After looping a lick on the keyboard and cowbell, he plays it back, sits down on the drums and accompanies his own playing… incredible timing, incredible sound and as the crowd cheers, the drum set begins to rotate and more flames shoot up on either side. Truly rock and roll but most certainly not ‘over the top’.
Neil’s drum solo morphs into I Don’t Care – a song I’m familiar with due to Adam Gontier’s collaboration with Apocalyptica, and suddenly we realize Adam is standing on a platform by the sound booth – amid the audience! He makes his way (un-harassed) back to the main stage as bassist Brad Walst and guitarist Barry Stock join him and the song is perfect.
Last to Know, Going Down, and Never Too Late are a mix of rock and almost acoustic, and it blends nicely. We are encouraged to sing along with the ones we know, and despite the lateness of the hour, many are singing their hearts out- likely due to the band always knowing what city they are in (and giving it/us a shout out here and there), and a personal apology by Adam for missing this stop earlier in their tour due to a family emergency, which necessitated a postponement.
Adam addresses us again, asking, “any requests?” but before anyone can shout out a song title, he adds, “we aren’t going to sing Riot.” As the audience gets ready to boo their displeasure, he laughs at us, and launches into this very song (the band is already playing it of course).
Lost in You, Just Like You and Animal round out the evening’s set list and it’s a perfect rock star ending – more flames to warm us before heading out into the chill night air.
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