At one moment Saturday night, Sam Roberts paused to tell his audience he wasn’t quite sure how he ended up headlining at Massey Hall. For those who’ve followed his career, the answer’s easy. Oftentimes, hard work is what separates musicians who make it to prominence and those who miss out. Roberts earned his milestone two-show stint with lots of effort along the way and hard work is going to get him more big nights ahead.
To see how far the rocker from Montreal has come since the independently released “The Inhuman Condition” in 2001, you just have to attend one of his concerts. From “Brother Down” to “Them Kids,” Roberts in the past decade has churned out memorable song after memorable song, and the casual fan may not quite realize how prodigious he’s been until he pulls out his hits one by one, enough to fill a setlist (or playlist at 102.7 FM).
His delivery is likewise relentless. Roberts rarely took a breather on stage and looked fresh enough at the end of the show to go another hour or two. While his voice may sound a bit like Tom Cochrane and he and his band have a touch of The Police and The Kinks in them, Roberts is clearly cut from the Bruce Springsteen school of workyourbuttofftilyoudrop.
Highlights included “Brother Down,” of course, and a slow, bluesy version of “Hard Road.” Best of all for Roberts is how seamlessly the songs from the newly released “Collider” fit in with the rest of set. Opener “Streets Of Heaven (Promises, Promises),” the danceable “Graveyard Shift” and the first single “I Feel You” all pleased the fans, many of whom were shaking and singing from start to finish.
Supporting act Zeus played a very good, but short-of-great set. It took until the third-to-last song — “Waste My Time” — before they delivered a real rocker from begin to end. The audience could’ve used that energy earlier. Without the intimacy of a small club, a couple of their songs seemed to float rather than soar. The musicianship of this quartet from TO is tough to top, though, and that always makes them a treat.
[VIDEO FROM FRIDAY’S SHOW – POSTED BY lane5ive]