Who says you can never go home again.
Vernon’s Andrew Allen dispelled that myth when he played two packed houses at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre on Thursday and Friday.
The indication of how much this guy is loved was ear splitting. Screaming fans from pre-schoolers to teenagers held banners and shouted adorations seemingly every second –– enough to make the poor dude blush –– and a few seniors smartly turned off their hearing aids.
And it wasn’t because of the music.
Allen and his band, consisting of Corey Janz on keyboards, Dan Oldfield on drums, Josh Evans on bass, and Cole Hruska on guitar, had the audience in the palm of their hands through the night, playing top 40 radio hit Loving You Tonight, as well as recent singles I Want You and Satellite to brand, new offerings such as Hey Tokyo.
Special guest Jodi Pederson was also on hand to lend her vocals, singing the part of Carly Rae Jepsen in Where Did We Go.
A shout should also go to opening act Windmills (aka Vernon’s Cory Myraas) whose use of a loop pedal got the audience fired up especially with his rendition of Foster the People’s Pumped up Kicks. Brooke Ritchey and Keenan Wilcox also did their part to warm the audience with their acoustic sets.
Allen, who since embarking on his music career a decade ago, has entertained thousands at the Vancouver Paralympic Games and at star-lit movie premieres, and it shows. He was as easy-going with his stage banter as if he was sitting at the next table in some cozy café.
Speaking of that, the stage setting was made to look just as if the audience was at a coffee shop, complete with a coffee bar and barista serving up cups of joe to “stage hands” who casually walked on and proceeded to sit on couches and chairs. Some of them chatted with each other as if there weren’t 750 pairs of eyes peering down on them, and others just sat back and watched the show.
This included an artist who painted live as Allen and his band performed, later donating the painting to Allen’s parents who also happened to be on stage to watch their son perform. Some “patrons” also got up to dance –– their choreographed moves indicating that this was more than just a pop concert…
And through it all, Allen soaked it in, showing his appreciation.
It’s true you can go off and “make it big” but as Allen showed, you should never forget where you came from.