Dallas Smith Returns Home
When the Side Effects Tour rolled into Abbotsford for the sold-out final stop on an epic cross-country tour, Dallas Smith and his amazing band were geared up for a big show. They had two outstanding artists to open for them. They even had two up-and-coming artists to join their performance. There may even be some end-of-tour trickery to deal with, but I don’t think they were ready for what happened that night.
If you don’t know Lauren Alaina, you probably don’t watch American Idol. Alaina was the runner-up on Season 10 which launched her career into the Nashville stars. She possesses a powerful voice and a self-confessed crazy family for an endless source of song-writing magic. From Next Boyfriend to Same Day Different Bottle, Alaina draws from her past to build her song-writing skills. Her first number-one hit The Road Less Travelled has certainly caught the attention of country fans and proves she has the skills to match the voice. She is charming and captivating on-stage and is certainly growing as a performer. She was so caught up in one song that she almost didn’t notice that the bands had switched guitar players on her as a joke.
Michael Ray joined the Side Effect tour for the western dates in Alberta and BC and has certainly got the ladies’ attention. Movie-star looks are not his only attribute though. Although he has a guest role on the TV show ‘Nashville’, this platinum-selling country artist from Florida has a vocal range from twang to falsetto and everything in between. His first hit Kiss You in the Morning and follow-up single Think A Little Less have brought him huge success. Ray is using that success to show how big a heart he has. Ray has set up ‘Wrigley Cares’ to donate over 100,000 meals to shelter animals. Named after his shelter-adopted pet, Ray contributes to animal shelters at each stop along the tour. As this was the last stop for Ray with the Side Effects tour, Michael was surprised with an impromptu dance party on-stage with a few animal-costumed friends and others during his last song.
The Final Side Effect
After twenty-six shows and a rotating roster of openers (the Cadillac Three, Cold Creek County, Lauren Alaina, and Michael Ray), Dallas Smith finally came home to Abbotsford. Although technically a Langley native, the neighbouring Abbotsford Entertainment Center is larger than any Langley venue and even this sold out. The tour has had tremendous reviews from fans and critics alike so promised to be memorable. Smith and band launched into what seemed like an endless string of number one hits. With four albums to play from now, the library is stocked with Canadian radio-play gems like Wasting Gas, Lifted, Nothing But Summer and Jumped Right In. These songs and more were accompanied by every single voice in the house, at full throttle! The gaps between songs seemed to get a little longer because the crowd just kept getting louder, and louder. Smith has brought some friends along on tour. Andrew Hyatt from Sudbury and Shawn Austin from North Vancouver join Smith on-stage separately, to sing duets with him. Dallas even gives the stage to Austin to perform his recent hit Paradise Found. The crowd loves it!
Smith has many friends and family in attendance. The boys from Default get a shout-out to the crowd as Smith launches into another crowd favourite, Wasting My Time, a song that got him ‘free beer all through his 20’s’. He started it out acoustically and had the band join in after the chorus which brought the house down. Smith knows how to keep an audience spell-bound as he brings out his best friend and his wife to dance to the now ‘epic wedding’ anthem Autograph. Partway through, the crowd up in the cheap seats goes nuts at an actual, successful proposal. Many crowd and fan selfies later, Smith starts thanking many of the people who have helped him along the way. At one point, Smith seems to struggle with emotions at the edge of the stage, where he is, constantly, reaching out to fans. The volume just builds. He starts saying something but gets drowned out. The volume builds even more. He tries again. Louder again. It’s crazy! He finally gets through and is a bit choked up by the crowd’s response. Just then, an invasion of beer pong-playing, party people (the two opening bands plus friends and family) crash the stage for hilarious antics that keep Dallas in stitches as he finishes his song.
By the time the encore is reached, most barely have the voice left to join in. Tipping Point and Cheap Seats bring the house down with cell phone lights blazing! It’s great to see and surely places him at the front of Canada’s country scene.
And if you are in the US market don’t miss Dallas as he jumps on the Holiday Train in December. For a full schedule of stops click HERE..
Photo’s & Words – Tom Paillé
Check out our latest feature… ROAD STORIES with Dallas as well…
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