Returning Home (Daylight Savings Time)

The mighty little World War I implementation has caused us all to wake up in normal routine to realize that it's actually 8AM, not 9. (Or in my case, my clocks did an automatic adjustment and I woke up at 10AM). I'm usually an early riser, but something obviously went wrong this morning. Nonetheless, I proceeded to focus my intentions on uploading all 200-something of the photos taken last night in Toronto.

Bleeker Ridge
Dan Steike of Bleeker Ridge.
To my serious dismay, traffic and road closures destined our arrival to Exhibition Place just as the doors were opening to be met with this long ass lineup. We didn't get in until 8:30PM, as the beer line backed up forever until we got close enough to be told that we could skip the ID check. Art of Dying had long finished their performance and Dan had just walked up and down the centre aisle to distribute picks and high-fives.

My Darkest Days
Reid Henry and Sal Coz Costa of My Darkest Days.
Pushing a little further forward in the motionless crowd, Doug Oliver had arrived onstage, bringing looks of confusion to neighbouring onlookers' faces. I now recall two groups of people passing by the line, the first group hollering and yelling "who's here for MDD?" and the second group who'd more politely asked what the line was for. When told it was a Three Days Grace concert, one of them said "hey, I think I've heard of them". That brought on a couple facepalms.

My Darkest Days
Matt Walst and Brendan McMillan.
It took me a little while to adjust my camera settings, being that far back in the room. The lighting is never terrific during opening performances, so that didn't help either. The only thing I found lacking was stage presence. Save for Reid Henry, their touring keyboardist, he was jumping up and down all over the place. Maybe his bleach blond hair had something to do with it, but I found myself watching that bobbing mass of fluff throughout their performance.

Three Days Grace
Art by Adrian Knopik and Christopher Conte.
At first, I was not particularly moved by the album art. The more I looked at it, the more I grew to appreciate it. The two liner illustrations are my favourite, though- the snake and the bird. There are about 20 photos in my files coinciding with the time Adam Gontier's mic was rolled out and the kit was unveiled. (Knopik's official gallery is currently under construction; the above link is to his page on Behance.net.)

Three Days Grace
Adam Gontier and Barry Stock at stage right.
They started with "Bitter Taste" to my surprise, but their presence was immediately noticed. The weird thing was that it was Sanderson who outshone the others, the stationary drummer (keyword here is 'stationary'). A guy behind me commented on how he'd come a long way since playing in local Peterborough bars, how they'd all come a long way. Amusingly, Stock was whipping picks into the crowd at an alarming rate; his stand had to be replaced every few songs.

Three Days Grace
Smoke from the pyrotechnics covered the scent of weed.
I always thought that Three Days Grace played too many singles and not enough album tracks, but I was ecstatic through the performances of "I Hate Everything About You", prior to which Adam delivered a rant about 'hating the fucking Sabres', "Home" and "Just Like You". The band delivered these debut singles flawlessly, as if they'd been released just yesterday. In terms of quality, their set was the best I've seen- Gontier's voice held no sign of that alleged smoke damage and the blend of his, Sanderson, and Walst was euphoric- but you won't believe me until you've see them live.

Three Days Grace
Neil Sanderson playing the "Life Starts Now" intro on the keyboard.
I've been inspired by many keyboard talents lately, especially those who play another instrument and double on keys during live shows. His drum solo was slightly harsh and obnoxious, but crowd-amping otherwise. I couldn't tell what it was exactly; there was some sort of steel drum to his left that made the interlude for me.

Three Days Grace
The crowd was a little dull, however, even through cheers for "Riot" when asked for requests. I desperately wanted to scream something like "Born Like This" or "Eddie", but couldn't decide on which self-titled song and felt that the latter would be disrespectful. Groundswell was an entirely different band and the crowd won out for "Riot", anyways. The encore consisted of the Phil Collins cover, "In The Air", and the missing single, "Animal I Have Become" (besides "Wake Up").

All photos are my own and can be found, along with others here.

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