In the true tradition of classic British performers, Johnny Reid knows how to put on a concert. Reid’s Hamilton pit stop on his 47-date national sojourn in celebration of his multi-platinum selling `What Love Is All About’ release followed the same scenario that played out on the Western leg of his tour, packed crowds playing to venues that in most cases required multiple dates. Call him a country music singer or whatever, Johnny Reid is a true all around performer who knows how to work an audience.
By the second song (“When The Sun Goes Down”), Reid was in the audience, sitting on the lap of some adoring female fan and his connection with the (more than) sold out audience of 2,193 ‘Tartan Army’ fans continued throughout the performance. Whether he was cracking jokes about immigrating from Scotland, spinning anecdotes about his fans or tossing out autographed photos of himself, a Johnny Reid concert is a love-in with his audience.
And oh yes, he did get around to singing a couple of songs, leading off with “My Heart Beats Like A Drum” from his ‘Love is All Around’ release before joining the audience for “‘When The Sun Goes Down” from his current release ‘. “Old Flame” and “Fire It Up” kept the energy level going and “A Woman Like You” featured Miku Graham and Saidah Babu Talibah, his two back-up singers.
“Today I’m Going To Try To Change The World” set the stage for a concert highlight, Reid’s tribute to his father,
“A Picture Of You” which features an instrumental contribute from the pride of Cape Breton, Natalie McMaster.
“Dance With Me” and “Thank You” were combined into a medley and another set highlight was Reid’ duet with Elage Diouf on “Just One Day” closed off his set with crowd favourite, Frankie Miller classic, ‘Darlin’ before returning for one encore and to his adoring fans, Reid could do no wrong. Yet if there is a fault with his performance, Reid could do a little more singing and a bit less chatting. For some odd reason, “Honey, Honey”, a great audience participation sing-along at previous concerts, was strangely absent from his Hamilton set list which in all added up to just 14 songs.
And you could argue that he could make a better use of McMaster although she did re-appear for the encore as well as engaging in an instrumental piece with his full band who are a highlight in themselves.
With Aaron Goodvin and J.J Shiplett serving as palatable warm-up acts, Reid left his Hamilton audience wanting much more, which ultimately is the mark of a great performer. By selecting more compact halls rather than larger venues, Reid is able to sustain an intimate atmosphere although this will surely change as Reid’s popularity continues to soar.
And the fact that one dollar from each ticket sold went to the Music Counts charity will I am sure boost that charity’s coffers. The Johnny Reid legacy continues to grow.