On Christmas Eve, my mom and I received tickets to see Dean Brody at the General Motors (GM) Centre in Oshawa. Dean Brody is one of my favourite Country artists. Oh, and he's a good ole Canadian boy.
February 7th came quickly, and saw my mom and I at my aunt and uncle's for dinner with my uncle's sister-in-law, who had won tickets to the show from the Toronto area's only Country music radio station, KX96. Upon dinner's end, we made our way to the GM centre, home of the Oshawa Generals, Oshawa's hockey team. My uncle sat with his sister-in-law, while my aunt sat with my mom and me. The seat that would have been my uncle's became a spot to put my coat and purse, and allowed me extra room to groove and enjoy the show. And wave frantically, trying unsuccessfully, to get my friend, Shannon to see me.
Shortly before 8:00, Jerry Archer and Carolyn Ellis from KX96's morning show, greeted the crowd and introduced the opening act, The Voice Season 3 winner, Cassadee Pope.
She came on stage around 8:00, and performed a half-hour set that included her single, Wasting All These Tears, and a cover of Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much". She was a crowd pleaser, and enjoyable to watch.
|Cassadee Pope entertaining us.|
At 9:00, the arena went dark, and the crowd went wild. The show started with a short video that featured a CGI alien who was trying to get Dean to where he needed to be. After being sent to Italy, London, Moscow, the arctic and the middle of nowhere, Dean Brody "arrived" on stage and opened up with his latest hit single, Crop Circles. He followed it up with one his first singles, People Know You by Your First Name, and one of his latest tunes, “Dirt”. One of the only four songs I did not know, Four Wheel Drive was next, followed by one of my favourite moments of the entire show. Wildflower was the next song in the set. During this song, I took a moment to listen to the audience. Every person in the audience was singing along. It was a beautiful moment to watch the audience and hear every voice singing along.
|Give it up for Dean Brody!|
The second song I did not know came next. It was a beautiful tune off of his latest album, Crop Circles, called Marianne. Marianne was then followed by one of my favourites of his, Roll That Barrel Out. It's a song that just makes you wish you were somewhere in the Caribbean singing along to an old Harry Belafonte tune. The third song I hadn't yet heard followed Roll That Barrel Out. Back In Style is a lovely song about wishing a bygone era was back in style. I have a similar sentiment quite frequently. I have many days when I think I was born in the wrong era.
Bob Marley is one of my ultimate favourite songs by Dean Brody, and I was elated to hear him perform it. It brings back a time when my own grandmother introduced me to the music she listened to, and the artists she loved growing up. Artists like, Theresa Brewer, Danny Kaye, Andy Williams and Nat King Cole; artists I still adore listening to to this day.
Dean followed that song with the appropriately placed Bob Marley song, One Love. I'm pretty sure we all know what happens when that song is played. I doubt any further description is needed here. Dean's latest single, Bounty followed, along with an introduction to his band. The band introductions led into a couple of tunes that brought a bygone era to light. People used to have kitchen parties, where guests would bring instruments and have what we would call a jam session. One person would have a banjo, another would have a fiddle, and grandma would grab a pair of spoons and the house would be filled with music. People would sing along, others would dance, and this would all take place in the kitchen. Dean performed the fourth and final song I did not know, Mountain Man. We were then taken back to his second album, Trail In Life with a tune called Little Yellow Blanket.
|The "Kitchen Band"|
Then, Dean told us a bit about his family. His sister works in the veterinary services, and his brother works for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). He told us that his brother had invited him on a ride along, and about the respect he had for those who were in the forces, whether it be in the Police Services, the RCMP or the Armed Forces. On the ride along, he realized his brother was doing this so he didn't have to, and he couldn't imagine what he would do if his brother was ever called away. I have a cousin in the armed forces, and one of my ex-boyfriends has been trying to join for a long time. Both of these men have children, and they are in the forces so their children don't have to be. As Dean's story continued, I very quickly realized what it was leading up to. This was an introduction to my favourite of Dean's songs, Brothers. If anyone has (or had) family in the Armed Forces, this song tugs hard at the heartstrings. The number of lighters and cellphone lights I watched sway back and forth was countless.
Dean closed his main set with a tune that quickly became an anthem of sorts for him, Dirt Road Scholar and a tune he recorded with Great Big Sea, It's Friday. He picked a good night to play that last one; February 7th was a Friday. Upon the end of It's Friday, he left the stage, but I've been to enough concerts to know that this was not the end of the show. He returned about thirty seconds later to play the title track from his Trail in Life album. It was another of those songs where I had to sit back and listen to the audience sing along.
|Dean in his Team Canada jersey.|
The last song of the night began with Dean putting on a Team Canada jersey. I couldn't contain my happiness for the final song of the night. Canadian Girls is, along with Brothers, my favourite Dean Brody tune. It is a song that makes me proud to be a Canadian girl. The first lines of the song describe me to a T: “She grew up watching hockey with her daddy on Saturday nights. He taught her how to tie her skates.” When I was a kid, Saturday night was Hockey night in our house, and my dad and I always watched the game. Make that, he watched, and I listened to him yell at the players through the TV. But, over the years, I have found that I do the exact same thing he does. It may be that my dad was a hockey player himself. He played at Malvern Arena for various inner-city teams as a goalie. Hockey is in my blood. There is another line in the song that always seems to make me teary: “She'd give her life for the red and white.” Damn right I would. I am Canadian and proud of it. It's where I was born, it's where I was raised, and it's very likely where I will die.
|The flag I am proud of.|
I am very thankful for those tickets at Christmas. They were my way into a very entertaining concert. After the show, I met up with Shannon for a quick hello before meting back with my mom, aunt and uncle, and my uncle's sister-in-law. After a brief post-concert gathering at my aunt and uncle's, my mom and I headed to Markham Station to join the karaoke DJ and his wife for a late-night meal.
The next time Dean Brody comes to town, you can expect me to be in the audience.