Dallas Green is not a Rock Star. Sure, his show sold out in a matter of seconds. Yes, people sing along to both the old and the new songs. Fans do buy and proudly wear his merch. The fact is, Dallas doesn’t act like a Rock Star. Here is a reserved artist that still can’t believe the scale of his shows. He feels like this may all be a prank or that he will wake up and discover this was all a dream. No, Dallas Green is not a Rock Star, he is authentic. It’s that authenticity that endears him to so many fans. Tonight’s show felt like we were all crowded into the biggest living room in Ste-Thérèse, apart from the uncomfortable pews that were our own “Little Hell”.
This performance was the kick-off of Santa Teresa, a music celebration that is taking over Sainte-Thérèse, just outside Montreal. The festival continues with performances at various venues April 28 & 29, 2017. If one of your favorite bands is playing the smaller venues, this is a great chance to get up close and personal.
The first song tonight was also the first song off Bring Me Your Love: “Forgive Me”. To sing with Church acoustics, especially solo with only a guitar is the true test of one’s voice. There was a slight echo that enhanced the performance and gave it this magical effect. The sound engineers did an amazing job to control the sound and give us an amazing clarity for for the voice of Dallas, perfectly balanced with his guitar or any instrument Matt Kelly would join him with.
Dallas commented: “It’s a pretty nice building. Surprised they let me in here!” before he started “What Makes a Man”. I had goose bumps at the end of the song as he repeated “I think I might know (What makes a man?)”.
Throughout the night, Dallas would comment on the next song, making us all laugh. “Did anyone come to the show with a friend?”, he said. “This is a song about friends. It’s called Friends…(pause)…can’t always be super creative…sometimes it’s just staring you in the face.” We all laughed.
To introduce “Like Knives” from his 2005 album Sometimes, he starts with: “This is a very old song.” After the applause, he says that when people cheer for that, he thinks to himself that we are really saying: I’m not necessarily into your new direction! I don’t think so, Dallas. As with much of the show, the audience would listen with quiet respect bursting in applause only at the end of each song. Some would yell: “We love you Dallas” during the tuning of his guitars.
Matt Kelly is invited to the stage and sits at his slide guitar. “This is a song about the end of world”, Dallas relates, “It’s fitting. They talk about that here…these guys…or so I was taught in school.” Matts slide guitar gave “Silver And Gold” a great depth. I could just imagine a choir singing the chorus: “And everything I loved and feared had all at once disappeared.”
For “We Found Each Other In The Dark”, Dallas explained that this was a song about being nicer to one another. He requested that we keep our mean tweets to a minimum for a couple of minutes, then we can continue and mean tweet how Dallas asked us not to tweet. “I’m joking” he said with a grin. I think back to before the show started. Two older men, who had obviously dipped into the unholy water pre-show wanted to sit near the front. Somewhat loud and boisterous, they found one seat behind me in the third row. The fourth row also had a free seat, but it was taken by a girl that was using the washroom. After five minutes of waiting, one of them took the seat anyway, much to the surprise of the row. Shocked by the arrogance, the rows around us started defending those that stood in line for 2 or 3 hours to secure these spots. Within a minute or two, she arrived and he had no choice but to vacate. One of them sat behind me while the other sat nearby. I could just imagine the interrupting banter that would have destroyed the mood if they sat together.
Dallas shared that this was the first show of an extensive Canadian tour where they are visiting intimate venues they never played before in 25 cities coast-to-coast. What an experience for the few fortunate fans that can see him in such amazing settings such as this one tonight. This was my first time seeing City and Colour and I must confess (pun intended) that this was one of the most memorable concerts I can think of.
One of his favorite songs, which he performed, was “Twilight” from the late great Elliott Smith. He commented on how he could have written that song. He knows all the notes…he learnt how to play guitar before it was created, but alas, Elliott was the one to bring this song into this world, as he left it so suddenly.
As the first notes of the next song started, I heard an audible “OMG” from behind me. Someone recognized the opening notes of “As Much As I Ever Could” that would end the set.
When Dallas came back for an encore, he explained that he grew up coming to places like this (Church) but he never was a choirboy. He shared that he was quiet till he was 18 years old. He never imagined at that time performing here for us. He of course hoped that day would come, but it was a stretch of the imagination for Dallas. He modestly said how it was an honor to perform for us, in this venue tonight. The crowd showed by their applause that the honor was ours as well. “Comin’ Home” was sung with deep emotion which eventually fused into “This Could Be Anywhere In The World” from Alexisonfire.
As he straps on his harmonica, Dallas is still awestruck at what is happening tonight. “This is the first time I ever sang this song in a church”, he said. “I don’t know what to think about that…”. After a pause as he let the occasion sink in, he started the very fitting “Body in a Box”
The lyrics of City and Color are not happy go lucky, feel-good songs. Yet, we were all happy throughout the night. When you have deep dark thoughts, and share them, friends will allow you to release them and chase them away. Giving a voice to those thoughts takes away their power. We all felt like friends tonight, letting Dallas release these songs contemplatively, sometimes as he stared up at the ceiling that was so far away, deep in thought, yet not missing a beat.
Matt returned with what seemed to be the score to an almost win by the Toronto Raptors. Dallas is a big sports fan, yet even a playoff game could not keep him off the stage for this encore. I’m sure the St. Catharines, Ontario born Dallas was happy that his team the Raptors (I’m assuming) made it to the second round of the Eastern Conference. “This is a love song”, Dallas said as he sang about another love, “The Girl”.
With barely a hint of the next song intro, the crowd began to cheer. He stops and says: “What if it’s not that one? They all start that way. There…I said it.” Yes, it was “Sleeping Sickness” that would end this glorious (yes, pun intended) evening.
We all exited the church to the cool night air, thankful that it wasn’t struck with lightening because of his use of the F word (once or twice only). Some went home while others, like me, went to other venues to see what this festival is all about. I caught We Are Wolves at Le Montecristo and Xavier Caféine at Le Cha Cha. More about that adventure in a future article.
The Death of Me
What Makes a Man?
Silver and Gold
Hello, I’m in Delaware
If I Should Go Before You
We Found Each Other in the Dark
Twilight (Elliott Smith Cover)
Days Old Hate
Lover Come Back
Save Your Scissors
As Much As I Ever Could
Comin’ Home/This Could Be Anywhere In The World (Alexisonfire cover)
Body In a Box