Brett Kissel rolled into Toronto for two sold-out shows on Saturday, turning the Danforth Music Hall into a honky tonk.
The We Were That Song Tour brought Kissel (the reigning Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year) and Dan Davidson to the stage, thrilling GTA country fans. From Davidson’s energy in the opening slot, to Kissel’s cover of Callin’ Baton Rouge to end the show, there was no shortage of memorable moments for the crowd.
First on the stage, as the fans filed into the Danforth Music Hall, was Dan Davidson. Fresh off wins for Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, and Song of the Year at the Association of Country Music in Alberta Awards, the rocker turned country singer went full speed ahead from the jump.
With a full band on stage with him, ramping up the sound, and filling the room with music and energy, Davidson wasted no time getting into things. And while his set was short and tight, country fans still had plenty of chances to sing along with favourites like Found and Barn Burner. It was also great to hear a couple of our favourites in Say We Did and No Last Call from DD’s 2017 EP, Songs For Georgia.
The Toronto fans in attendance also got to be part of a music video shoot for Davidson’s latest single, Let’s Go There, which is always a thrill.
It’s safe to say that Dan Davidson is an artist that Canadian country music fans should get used to hearing on radio and seeing on cross-country tours. This dude has got it, and we’ll continue to be happy to experience it every chance we get.
After the brief changeover of equipment, the lights came back up on stage, and Brett Kissel and his band came out to main event Saturday night’s festivities. The immediate pop from the crowd was loud, the loudest we’d heard to that point, and served as an excellent welcome to the Canadian Kid.
Kissel and the six dudes playing with him in the band, went all in from the very start, opening with the tour’s title track, We Were That Song. And from there things only picked up as Brett and the boys rolled through a 21 song set, including a medley of country favourites, covers of huge hits, and his own songs.
The release of the We Were That Song album in December 2017 gave Brett Kissel 13 new songs to work with and share with fans. But what we saw in his live show in Toronto was a well-executed mix of songs from all three of his albums (Started With A Song, Pick Me Up, We Were That Song) that gave the audience a chance to sing along to their favourites from his entire career to date.
With cameras rolling for an upcoming project (we’ll let you know when we know more) the Toronto crowd kept the energy level high all night. There was a reciprocating feeling flowing from Brett and the band on stage, to the packed general admission audience, and back again.
We asked Kissel about country music in Toronto in our pre-tour interview, and he told us, “Deep down inside, I believe people from Toronto have always loved their country music… 2 shows at the Danforth Music Hall proves that. Having record crowds for the “country night” at the CNE proves that. Toronto loves its’ country music – and we love Toronto!”
And during the show, as the Danforth Music Hall attendees sang and cheered and danced along to the music, Brett Kissel looked out to the crowd and exclaimed…
“Anybody that says country music isn’t big in Toronto… that’s bullshit!”
There was no shortage of moments with huge cheers throughout the night And while we can’t list them all, here are three that made a lot of impact…
1) When Brett sang “with my 5% beer and Canadian girls”. It’s loud every time we hear it, and Saturday night was no different!
2) During the medley, Kissel’s guitar player Matty played the opening riff to Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like A Woman, and the place damn near exploded!
3) At the end of the set, after Started With A Song and before the encore, Brett threw a bunch of merch into the crowd, and predictably, everyone went nuts!
There was another moment we loved, even though it may not have drawn the biggest cheer of the night. After Brett finished his medley, he played Cecilia, from his new record, and named for his wife. We could see the real-life Cecilia in the crowd, smiling as he sang. It was sweet and special to catch a little glimpse of that.
From beginning to end, Brett Kissel showed that he has earned his spot in the upper echelon of Canadian country music stars. He is a bona fide headliner as he crosses Canada on what is now booked as the largest Canadian country music tour in history, and he is still growing.
As a performer, we’ve seen growth in the sound, style, and polish of his live shows and records. We’ve watched as he’s learned how to both take control of and connect with a crowd. And we’ve seen his rise from the first time we interviewed him and saw him live at Boots & Hearts 2014 to the We Were That Song Tour in 2018.
If you’ve seen any of the shows on the tour so far, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t seen the show, and it’s coming to your town soon, get a ticket if you can. And, we’d be willing to promise that Brett’s got a whole lot more left in the tank, and we’ll all have more chances to see him again!
Brett Kissel, We Were That Song Tour Setlist, Toronto
🎙 We Were That Song
🎙 Something You Just Don’t Forget
🎙 Guitars and Gasoline
🎙 Canadian Kid
🎙 She’s Desire
🎙 Raise Your Glass
🎙 Cool With That
🎙 Pick Me Up
🎙 Drink, Cuss, Or Fish
🎙 Tough People Do
🎙 I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair
COUNTRY HITS MEDLEY:
🎙 Boot Scootin’ Boogie / Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) / I Swear / Goodbye Earl / Man, I Feel Like A Woman
🎙 Ordinary Day w/ Dan Davidson
🎙 Started With A Song
🎙 3, 2, 1
🎙 Thank God I’m A Country Boy / Honey I’m Good
🎙 Callin’ Baton Rouge