We asked each of our team members here at The Bus to tell us all about their favourite concert of 2017. This was not an easy task — and we covered A LOT of shows. But, when it comes to the individual photographer/reviewer, sometimes certain shows just stand out. Here is our list of the Tour Bus Team’s Top Concert Picks of 2017. 

Corey Kelly’s Favourite Concert

Zac Brown Band w/ Darrell Scott – Sept. 1, 2017 – Budweiser Stage, Toronto 

It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to an end. I got the chance to take in so many great shows this year, but the one that brought me the most enjoyment was also a pretty special one. Hitting so many venues solo can get pretty tiresome, and for one night in September, I got the chance to bring along one of my favourite people in the world, my 7-year-old daughter, to the Budweiser Stage for a night of Zamily. The show was incredible from start to finish with Darrell Scott opening the night up with a solid performance, which included the fellas from the Zac Brown Band joining in towards the end for a couple of beauties. But, it was when ZBB hit the stage for their own epic performance that the feeling in the venue became electric, with everyone singing along and just having a hell of a time. My daughter’s favourite song is The Wind, which the band has played very little in 2017. But, luck was on our side the night was made, the moment they ripped into the first couple bars. Her smile, along with the dancing and the singing (maybe a little screaming too) at the tops of our lungs had made this night something special for the both of us. What’s more, to have someone purchase a T-shirt for your little girl without even knowing who they were, only to say “You two were the highlight of our night and I thought your little girl may like this,” easily made it the best night of music in 2017.

Zac Brown performs @ Budweiser Stage in Toronto – Photo: Corey Kelly

Scott Burns’ Favourite Concert

Jason Aldean w/ Chris Young & Kane Brown – June 2, 2017 – Budweiser Stage, Toronto

There are a few things I’m coming to count on: #1 Jason Aldean brings the party. #2 Jason Aldean brings great music. #3 Jason Aldean brings an amazing stage set and lighting rig. #4 I always enjoy a Jason Aldean show. These four statements are fact. While I always try to remain impartial with my reviews, if a show doesn’t entertain or is lacking in some way then I will say it — but damn, Mr. Aldean has got this concert thing down. Arriving from an opening in the massive video board at the back of the stage, Aldean strolled out as They Don’t Know rocked the house along with the near-capacity crowd. From this point, it was on! It was party time. The band he brings with him is always so damn tight, and this night they just kept delivering hit after hit. Chris Young and Kane Brown also nailed great sets. The crowd was amped — It was a great Friday night of music.

Jason Aldean thrills the sold out Budweiser Stage in Toronto. Photo: Scott Burns Images

Mike Highfield’s Favourite Concert

Chris Stapleton w/ Brent Cobb & Margo Price – Aug. 17, 2017 – Budweiser Stage, Toronto

This was easily one of my favourite shows of the year, and definitely my top country concert of 2017. Chris Stapleton was a bucket list artist for me to see live, let alone photograph. The weather did it’s best to ruin it all, with torrential downpours postponing the beginning of Chris’s set. While most of the audience was absolutely drenched, nobody’s spirit dampened. Chris and his wife Morgane were (as expected) absolute perfection. The vibe coming from the two of them is something really special to witness in a live setting, and as good as his albums always sound, he (and she) are even better in person. The entire place had such a beautiful energy for the entire show, it was hard to even remember the weather that plagued it to begin with. Photographing the set was a pleasure, and gave me images I will always treasure. Hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity in 2018, but with twins on the way, the couple’s schedule may be pretty full!

Chris Stapleton Toronto

Chris Stapleton in Toronto. Photo: Mike Highfield

James Bennett’s Favourite Concert

Dallas Smith w/ Cold Creek County – Oct. 12, Cunard Centre, Halifax

For me, 2017 was a year of great shows and a tonne of new experiences – from receiving a nomination in Nashville for Photographer of Year Award and photographing the CMA Music Awards in Bridgestone Arena, to capturing the magic of Zac Brown Band at Cavendish Beach Music Festival. And while that show was definitely a top contender, there was little doubt a band of that calibre was going to put on a great show. That said, the best show for me in 2017 was from Dallas Smith, who kicked off his cross-country Side Effects Tour in Halifax with his own amazing production. I’ve been lucky enough to cover Dallas Smith many times over the years, and his shows always bring something new and exciting. I love it when he performs many of his songs without any instruments, allowing him to interact with the crowd, and tear up the stage. Dallas is always a hard artist to photograph, but it’s the kind of excitement and challenge I enjoy, and relish when I get that killer shot of him performing. I was able to get to speak to Dallas personally before this show and I quickly realized how genuine he is, and how much enjoys performing for his fans. There are very few artists out there for me where I can say I enjoy every song, but that’s always the case with Dallas, and I often find myself singing along while snapping away. And lets not forget Dallas Smith is the first Canadian with three No. 1 singles in 2017, while taking home some major hardware at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association Awards. He also kicked off it all off back in January by ringing in the New Year of at Casino Nova Scotia, where he performed two shows.

Dallas Smith performs on the Side Effects Tour Stop in Halifax – Photo: James Bennett

Bill Woodcock’s Favourite Concert

Brett Kissel w/ Ben Hudson & Alessia Cohle, Jan. 18, 2017 – River Run Center, Guelph

After photographing so many amazing shows this past year, it was tough to think back and choose what I felt was the top show of 2017. From shooting bands and artists including Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, The Lumineers, Green Day and Arkells – to say it was a challenge was an understatement. Over the past few days (yes, I was the last one to submit) I kept thinking, and kept coming back to this one show on a cold, snowy evening in Guelph. Brett named the tour right! Ice, Snow and 30 Below comes in as my top pick for favourite concert of 2017 for a number of reasons. Brett is a true entertainer and he put on a heck of a show, during which I was honoured to get the chance to shoot the entire set, and even  grab a few pictures from Brett’s point of view. After putting on a solid 90 minute set, he stood in the lobby and invited every single fan take a picture with him and his CCMA Fan’s Choice Award. If you didn’t catch him on that tour, be ready for early 2018 as he packs the buses once again and treks across Canada for the We Were That Song Tour.

Brett Kissel performs at the River Run Center in Guelph ON. Photo: Bill Woodcock

Tom Paillé’s Favourite Concert

Billy Currington, Aug. 20, 2017 – PNE Amphitheatre, Vancouver

This was my first year photographing concerts for a growing media outlet, and it was a year of ups and downs, and highs and lows. But it was mostly on the ups as I covered over 150 different acts this year! One of my favourites just happened to also be a favourite artist of mine, Billy Currington. Besides the atmosphere of a warm summer evening under the stars with my sweetie, Billy has the perfect stage persona for a good time. The songs are also about good times, strong love (or soon to be), and living your dreams, and that’s the way life should be lived. It’s always great to be reminded of that once in a while. A killer smile and the odd wink keep the girls swooning and the good-time songs kept everyone singing along.

Billy Currington havin’ a good time…



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