Once again, each night at 8:30pm the Pacific National Exhibition will come alive with the sounds of music, and this morning is your chance to get tickets to the summer’s best entertainment value, the 2018 PNE Summer Night Concerts series.
Pop, rock, country, disco, soul and R&B all come to the PNE Amphitheatre stage throughout the 15 Summer Night Concerts. You can take it way back with the likes of Kool & the Gang, Wilson Phillips or Air Supply. Feel like a kid again with I Love The 90s or Lost 80s ensemble nights. Then rock out with Goo Goo Dolls and Marianas Trench. The 2018 Summer Night Concerts are included free with admission but be aware that seating is first come-first seated so you’ll want to make sure you arrive early. Beer Gardens around the PNE also show the concerts on big screens so you can still enjoy the shows even if the Amphitheatre is already at capacity. If you don’t want to wait, limited reserved seating is available from $25 + admission. Reserved seats go on sale today, May 25, 2018 at 10am. In addition you can gather your friends and family to reserve a private party suites that cater to groups of 12 or 14 including the private suite, gate passes, concert tickets, food & beverage service, plus parking passes.
The 2018 Summer Night Concerts are:
August 18 – Boyz II Men August 19 – Air Supply August 21 – Dean Brody August 22 – Goo Goo Dolls August 23 – I Love the 90’s ft: Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella, All-4-One, Color Me Bad, and Young MC August 24 – Wilson Phillips August 25 – Marianas Trench August 26 – Lost 80’s Live ft: A Flock Of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, Wang Chung, Farrington & Mann (from When in Rome UK), Animotion, and Nu Shooz August 28 – 112 ft; Slim August 29 – Kool & the Gang August 30 – Jan Arden August 31 – Burton Cummings and Band September 1 – Chicago September 2 – Village People September 3 – Cyndi Lauper
On the eve of their 50th year performing together and nearly three decades since they last toured on The Victory Tour, The Jacksons have reunited for The Unity Tour. This marks the first tour they’ve done without late brother Michael and with youngest brother Randy sitting this tour out, the four oldest Jacksons kept the audience happy with a greatest hits setlist from their back catalogue. In typical Jackson style, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon arrived onstage in a flash of sequins and shimmer to kick off the show with “Can You Feel It”, followed by “Blame It On The Boogie”, two big retro hits that ignited the audience. A free show (included with PNE admission) for most of the audience, the fan zone reserved seating was ticketed and sold out, the PNE Amphitheatre was packed with a very diverse audience. The group kept the setlist to mainly their most well known hits to keep the audience on their feet the whole show. The presence of the King Of Pop was felt throughout the show as the brothers paid homage to late brother Michael in video and photo montages and when Jermaine covered Michael’s fitting “Gone Too Soon”. However, when they covered his other solo hits like “Rock Wit You”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somthing” it felt a bit like they were using his music to further their resurgence. While this tour was likely a success as a result of his death, I felt it a bit too soon to perform Micheal’s hits. In spite of my misgivings the audience ate up those solo hits but the biggest cheers of the night was for the “old stuff”, a classic Jackson 5 medley of “I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save/Never Can Say Goodbye” performed as they did on the Ed Sullivan Show decades ago. “I’ll Be There” and “Shake You Body (Down To The Ground)” were also fan favourites.
Even through their performances have been few and far between, decades of dedication and practice showed them to still be the ultimate showmen. While Michael’s falsetto and lead vocals were missed the quartet still harmonized well and Jermaine and Marlon took on the majority of the vocal and banter with the audience. The few sound issues were more likely an issue with the outdoor venue and background noise from the midway than the singers themselves. The tears from an audience member near me during the nostalgic montages shows the passion the people have for these singers, and Michael. That goodwill carries the group on a wave of applause long after the last note has been sung.
The “Bubbly” Colbie Caillat took the stage first, looking like the California girl she is, her casual style; loosely tied blond lock, tank top and boots, makes the audience comfortable right away. Like she was born sitting on the beach with her guitar, her effervescent pop sound made the concert bowl a peaceful oasis in the midst of a bustling fairground. Playing songs from all three of her albums during her 40minute set the capacity audience sang and swayed along to hits like Realize and Lucky, during which she welcomed tour-mate Gavin Degraw on stage to sing the part normally sung by Jason Mraz. Finally closing out the set with Bubbly, her signature track perfectly describing her personality.
After a quick stage turnover, Gavin Degraw burst forth, centre-stage, in a blaze of light singing his hit In Love With A Girl. From there on it was hit after hit as the energetic and humourous Degraw bounded about the stage singing and regaling the audience with anecdotes about the upcoming song, or sometimes just about life. In his trademake cap, and looking fully recovered from his 2011 attack in New York City, the singer switched from behind his piano to covering the entire stage as he endeared himself further to the fans. Over the 45 minutes on stage he played tracks from throughout his decade long career including, Soldier, Chariot, Radiation and the hit that brought him to fame I Don’t Wanna Be. The whole set was a big sing-along but that hit boosted it up even further. After a brief moment off stage he returned to close out the night with If You Asked Me Too. I’m sure many of the audience wanted to ask him to keep playing longer as everyone seemed to be enjoying the warm summer evening outdoors with some great music.
Colbie Caillat and Gavin Degraw wrap up their co-headlining tour at the end of August, the culmination of a summer festivals and fairs. image courtesy mywebbsite.ca credit:Brian Webb