It’s all about interaction for bands The Glorious Sons and their opening act, The Blue Stones, who rocked Sasktel Centre on November 23, 2023. While many bands might show up and do their thing hoping you enjoy it, both recognize that the true power of performance is the conversation between them and the fans. They are actively seeking feedback from and responding to the audience in such a way that the energy becomes a tangible thing.
While The Glorious Sons were the headliners, there’s no denying that The Blue Stones had fans in the crowd. The crowd responded to the opening number, “Healing” within the first few chords and sang along to numbers such as “Be My Fire”, “Rolling With The Punches”, and “Shakin’ Off The Rust”. They were bringing an incredibly full sound to the stage despite being a two-piece band. If songs like “One By One” didn’t give you goosebumps, were you even there? It’s awesome when bands remember where they are. Mentioning how much they love Saskatoon, they lead into their tune “Magic” which is all about taking a drive past a lover’s house. And who doesn’t love to hear, “Ya’ll look really fucking good from up here!” If they aren’t on your playlist, they should be. Check out all the songs mentioned so far but also “Let It Ride” and especially, “Don’t Miss.”
After a killer opening show, The Glorious Sons take to the stage and amplify things further. Lead singer, Brett Emmons, is the visual embodiment of that energy as he dances around the stage barefoot from their opening song “Ruby” to the end of the show. Diehard fans in the house know every song from the first few notes and the band has faith they will know the lyrics, too. During “S.O.S (Sawed Off Shotgun)” the entire band goes silent allowing the crowd to carry the song on. It’s an utterly magical conversation between the fans and the artists.
Extending that conversation to those outside the arena, The Glorious Sons blend their song “The Union” with George Thoroughgood’s “Who Do You Love” and everyone eats it up. Not only is this a fun homage to an artist who has inspired the band, but it’s a fantastic treat for concert-goers to enjoy that is unexpected. And this is just the first of many surprises throughout the night.
A group of young kids have been dancing constantly throughout the show thus far and during “Shapeless Art” they wave their little hearts out at the band. Guitarist Steve Kirstein rewards them for their efforts with a wave back and the kids cheer like mad. Their excitement is only pushed further when singer, Emmons, points at them during “White Noise.” It’s clear throughout the remainder of the show that Kirstein enjoys those kids just as much as they enjoy him.
Unfortunately, not all the fans are so awesome and Emmons has to ask the audience not to throw cups during their rendition of “Josie”. One of the stagehands rushes around mopping up the spilled cups on stage so Emmons doesn’t have to step in someone’s drink with his bare feet. Gross. Before continuing on to the next song, Emmons tells the crowd to “apologize to Petey” for making him clean up their mess. The crowd apologizes wholeheartedly. Major props for setting such boundaries. It begs the question though: why does anyone think they can be so rude? What purpose does it serve to create a mess someone else has to deal with? Satisfied with the crowd's response, they decide to continue on.
For fan favourite, “Everything Is Alright”, Emmons asks for the "kid with the sign" and invites “Evan Fucking Ace” on stage to sing with him. Arms around each other’s shoulders, the two sing their hearts out. No fear in that kid. He milks it for all it is worth and he doesn’t do a terrible job of it. What an incredible honour. That is a rare offer and just another example of the greater conversation The Glorious Sons are having with their fans. Anything is possible.
If the exchange hasn’t been real and wonderful enough, they share a thus-far unreleased, but powerful song. From what this writer can determine, the song is called, “I Will Meet You There” and has been performed very little. The song is a deeply emotional ballad about meeting those you love on the other side. It was beautifully set to a room decorated with disco ball sparkles and fans waving phone lights softly back and forth. Pure magic.
For someone who was expecting an energetic and fun show, this writer was delighted to also be part of a much more meaningful evening of musical discourse. It’s a powerful thing to watch artists bare their souls in such a way. For what is art but a deeply philosophic heart-to-heart between the artist and the audience? It is a rare talent to carry an audience from heart-pumping highs through soul-baring lows and back again. And to deliver so many surprise moments to boot. They promised they’ll be back, so you won't want to miss out on a spectacular show next time.
P.S. Those kids who danced their hearts out? Ethan and Hudson were their names and they felt this was one of the best concerts they’ve been to. While Ethan loved the disco ball, it was all about the waves from Kirstein for Hudson. Memories were made.