Rolling into the Capitol Theater on a cool night at the end of March come Open Road Recording artists Emerson Drive with special guests High Valley. The lobby of the beautiful theatre was abuzz with anticipation of the upcoming show and it looked as though it would be a pretty much full house. The Capitol Theatre reopened its doors in 1993 after being restored to it’s glory of 1921, it’s acoustics and beauty modernized, shine through today. Off to my seat it was almost show time, and every time I walk in this regal old theatre I feel taken back a bit and am amazed something like this still exists. Planted firmly in the center of the orchestra section I awaited the start of the show, admiring the old feel of this beautiful auditorium.
Out come local radio morning hosts Scotty & Tony from country station XL96 to kick us into a great night of entertainment, after a brief bit of banter with the crowd they bring to the stage Open Road Records new comers “High Valley”. The Rempel brothers are three young fellows with great instrumentation, fantastic harmonies, and a great sense of fun onstage. Having opened for the likes of Brad Paisley and Keith Urban these brothers from Northern Canada are really beginning to make a name for themselves, and deservedly so!
Mentored by Canadian country superstar Paul Brandt, the brothers from La Crete, Alberta (yes, I had to Google it too) are destined to have a long career mixed with great humor, fun entertainment (loved when they pulled an unsuspecting lady onto the stage and sang as they called it a “low-german, mennonite, love song, dance mix” which turned out to be a foreign language version of Backstreet Boys, ‘I Want It That Way’…brilliant), good song writing, and awesome harmonies. I definitely was left wanting more High Valley and am definitely a fan.
Next up, after a brief intermission, was headliner Emerson Drive…their Decade of Drive tour finally landing in Moncton after a month of travelling across Canada after starting in British Columbia in February. With little fanfare and a simple introduction, the guys came onstage and began with their first song right out of the gun.
It was evident right from the start why these guys have survived the last 16 years together, they have fun together, they enjoy immensely what they do, and appreciate their fans. Since starting was way back in the mid-90’s in Alberta, this band has toured relentlessly, had many high’s, suffered hardship, and grown a fan base that is extremely faithful and exuberent. Rolling through great songs like “That Kind of Beautiful”, “I Love This Road” (they must with the amount of touring they do), and their first number one song “Moments”, they had us singing, tapping our feet, and clapping our way through the evening.
Interjecting great stories about their personal lives, trials and pranks on the road, the band took us through a little bit of what it was like to be on the road with Emerson Drive, it’s sure to the audience that these guys are going to continue what they are doing for a long time as they aren’t a tired road band, but one that enjoys their job. The stories of home are delivered affectionately with an obviously longing for wives and children at home…but there is still the pull of the music and camaraderie that these guys share with each other…oh and Danick, remember to shut your laptop off so Brad can’t hack your Facebook!
The band even jumped in the crowd and too a great picture with the crowd…which they did at each of their stops which the crowd loved being part of and the band posted on their Facebook page the next day…
A great show that included more great songs, like my personal favorite “Last Man Standing”, and “Believe”…ending the night the crowd brought them back for a three song encore that included a little “Stones” and some “Kashmir” by Zeppelin. A great show by two great groups, fantastic venue, and a crowd sent home happy…Bravo to both groups and I look forward to the next time I get to see them perform!