Concert Review of the Dallas Smith Tour. With what might be one of the best stage production sets we’ve seen from a Canadian country artist, Dallas Smith took his Side Effects Tour 2017 on the road and he nailed it.
Riding an ever increasingly higher wave of popularity, which has been bolstered by what might be Dallas Smith’s best studio release yet, Smith is showing just how to handle the headlining role smoothly, with unending energy, and a good dose of real heartfelt honesty. This is a man who gets it. He gets how to relate to his audience. He gets how to deliver a show that is not all tricks and gimmicks, but is tight and all about the music with a stage set and creative lighting rig that will raise the bar for Canadian country artists. Dallas also understands how to connect. He never stopped reaching into the crowd for high fives, or grabbing cells phones from the eagerly awaiting outstretched hands to take selfies – and never missed a beat. He just roamed and twirled and glided from side to side on his stage making sure to get in front of every section of the crowd so everyone felt a part of the show. Even calling out a few times to the “cheap seats” at the back of the venue and enticing people to get up and make some noise. Ya, these ticket buying country fans are certainly feeling the Side Effects of a damn good tour.
The Dallas Smith tour teamed up with some amazing talent for this cross country ride, check out this lineup: Nashville’s The Cadillac Three, Lauren Alaina, Andrew Hyatt, Shawn Austin, Michael Ray, Cold Creek County, and the James Barker Band. The lineup changes depending on where you live, but I can tell you that this is one tour that you really want to catch.
The show Saturday night was at Casino Rama Resort in Rama, Ontario. And as the last few people were filing in to get to their seats, the house lights dropped, intro music belted out the introduction of The Cadillac Three. The trio of self proclaimed “long haired hillbillies from Nashville” swaggered onto the stage with red solo cups in hand and deftly started into their set. Yes they come with a bit of swagger, but back it up with music that punches. Kind of like a grunge style of country rock that is so undeniably southern, and unapologetically so. There is an edge to their style and man, they just have so much fun playing live, you can see it on their faces and how they interact with each other on stage. This is band with grit and for those who have not seen TC3 before, they have now been baptized. Long hair, tattoos, and a wealth of writing and performing talent. Guitarist Jaren Johnston handled the lead vocals and chats with the crowd, while Neil Mason kept time on the drum kit, amid throwing up fists and mouthing all the lyrics throughout the night. And man, Kelby Ray laid down one of the tastiest solos on the lap steel that i’ve heard. Many of the Casino Rama crowd rushed the stage right from the get-go and got a great vantage point for a set that left me and them definitely wanting more. I’ve seen TC3 before, and it’s always the same – any set is too short. They gave us songs like The South, American Slang, and White Lighting just to give you an idea of their flavour. Big Machine Label Group has such a gem in this band. Love it. Glad they made the trip up here again. Come back any time boys.
When the time came for our headliner, the crowd at the stage was even larger. It was basically standing only on the floors for the show as Dallas and the band kicked right into the tour title Side Effects. This is from Dallas’ most recent album, and the effort garnered 3 CCMA Awards for Album of the Year, Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year, and Single of the Year. What you get with a Dallas Smith show is non-stop action. I mean, the guy never stops moving (quite a challenge when you are trying to photograph him) and his amazingly tight band also put on some mileage as they jockeyed around the deck. He played all the favourites, new and old and had the enthusiastic Casino Rama crowd singing along from start to finish. He also brought out artists Andrew Hyatt and Shawn Austin (Austin is signed to Dallas’ record label Steelhead Music) for a song each and that was a lot of fun. As stated, there was quite a crowd at the front of the stage as people clamoured to get a better view, reach out for a touch of hands or offer up their cell phones for Dallas to take some selfies with. And Smith readily obliged while continuing to sing. This was a great night of country music and the Side Effects tour is a blast. It started out in Halifax on October 12 and will continue right across Canada through Nov 18 when the tour ends in Abbotsford, BC. Check out all the dates of the Dallas Smith tour HERE.
Many many thanks to Dallas Smith and his team, The Cadillac Three and Casino Rama for having Tour Bus Entertainment out for this one. Loved it.
Scott Burns, Tour Bus Entertainment.
MORE PHOTOS of Dallas Smith and The Cadillac Three: