Corey Hart made his entrance onto the Montreal Bell Centre stage Tuesday night with more than a simple concert, it was a wrap-up of every phase of Hart’s 30 years in the music business and representations of moments from his life and life experiences.
Hart took the stage with, I Can’t Help Falling In Love while lasers streaked the backdrop. ‘Hart’s biggest hits and most explosive entrances may have been back in the ‘80s; yet he still has the energy and self-confidence to find his audience and the fact 12,000 were on hand for the concert shows he has still retained a faithful audience even though he has been absent from the stage for over 10 years. As well Julie Masse, wife of 20 years, had her own fans on hand so that the couple performing together gave rise to much applause especially during Edith Piaf’s Hyme a l’amour. The most sentimental moment came when Hart played an acoustic version of That’s Alright Mama to his emotionally overcome mother.
He and his band were note-perfect with additional back-up singers including Masse; a well-rehearsed unit and ready for what came close to 40 songs. It was a near perfect time capsule for all to refer back too as This Was Corey Hart. At 52 he is as strong and powerful a performer as at 22. His concert was a mammoth farewell to live performing and had everything from his bag of abilities, hits and wondrous exploits that have made him one of Canada’s most prized artists and whether he decides to return to the stage or not, we can say this concert was well worth waiting for and it’s a tribute he didn’t pass out in the process.
Although he didn’t seem to weaken he was definitely emotional and was in tears without respite and was almost halted halfway through Everything In My Heart to an explosive standing ovation. The evening was filled with such moments and ever the showman this was a carefully calculated and wistful time for those of us who remember the years of hits like Boy in The Box, Never Surrender and It Aint Enough.
He has moved comfortably into middle age and after 30 years of making music that has run the gamut from first hit Sunglasses At Night to his new book and EP release, I find it hard to believe that his career is over. However the internet makes it possible to do things for his fans that didn’t exist back in the ‘80s.
With a concert that ran so long and the ability to finally perform for all 4 of his children, he probably was as happy to be doing the event as much for their enjoyment as for his own and his many fans from across the 30 years of making chart-hitting music.
His abilities were honed at a time when MTV and videos would also project him into the stratosphere of Canadian music. The 30 year stretch from when Hart first showed up with Sunglasses At Night and today is very different as radio was a large factor in the way we were introduced to music then. The most powerful canon is from the first three albums however Hart performs today though he could go on for many more years.
His new Siena Records protégé, Jonathan Roy (son of Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy) joined Hart on stage for a duet of The Eagles’`Desperado’ and Hart acknowledged his early Billy Joel connections by performing a spirited version of ‘Piano Man’
The finale consisted of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, with Hart almost in a fit of tears by now and the encore featured Chasing The Sun and the inevitable ‘ Sunglasses At Night’. One final bow and that was it – the conclusion of a legacy!
photo credit: Allan Zilkowsky