November 21, 2014 marked a huge bucket list event for many Edmontonian metal fans. Why? Because the man himself, Devin Townsend, was in our city, and accompanied with his band of musical geniuses, he was ready to demolish Union Hall! Fans lined the snowy streets outside of the venue on Friday night, eagerly awaiting the door times and talking amongst themselves about their past experiences seeing Devin perform live, and their favorite tracks on their favorite albums. Hearing these conversations gave me butterflies in my stomach, I knew tonight was going to be one for the memory books.
The Devin Townsend Project was the second band on the bill for the evening, but all in all, they completely stole the show. While fans quickly found their places on the floor, slowly inching their way closer and closer to the front rail, the electric banners on either side of the stage came to life; illuminating the room and the stage. As the fans began to roar, Each member of DTP filed one by one onto the stage, finding their places and smiling at their excited fans. Then, emerging from the shadows of the backstage area, with his enormous 7-string baritone flying V guitar in hand, and an even bigger smile on his face, Devin Townsend took his place at center stage, the crowd still going wild. Now, I have been to many concerts in my time… But I have never heard a crowd give such a positive ovation for an artist before.
Devin threw his hands up in the air, collectively greeting the people who came to see him perform with his band. In one swift movement, the band went right into “Z2” – the opening track on their newest 2-part album of the same name. The show also featured albums Sky Blue (Disc One), and the long awaited Dark Matters (Disc Two) – also known as the second part to one of DTP’S most popular albums Ziltoid: The Omniscient which was released in 2007 – continuing on with a handful of tracks off of both new albums, such as “Deathray” and “Rejoice”.
Townsend was flawless with his performance, nailing every note and guitar solo while interacting with fans nearby. Never before have I witnessed an artist of his ststure so bravely demolish the fine line that is set between musicians and fans. Midway through the show, Devin broke into genuine sincerity, speaking honestly with the crowd at Union Hall about the struggles he faces each day, and the things that help him pull through. And this, all beautifully illuminated by the pounding chorus of his heavy metal love song: “Grace”-from 2012 album Epicloud.
Closing their set with “Kingdom,” another hit song from that same record, the crowd joined in, singing relentlessly at the tops of their lungs. With a smile that looked five miles wide, and while flicking guitar picks into the audience with his bandmates, Townsend stepped down just behind the barricade that separates fans from the stage. Leaning into the crowd, Devin began shaking hands, giving hugs, and high-fives to anyone he could reach; truly making this a sentimental performance for both himself, and the people of Edmonton who adore him.
November 21, 2014 truly was an unforgettable night, not just for me, but for so many others who appreciate this man’s music. Delivering chaotic riffs that are accompanied by beautiful vocal melodies right in the heart of Alberta the Devin Townsend Project has once again left an unbeatable impression on Edmonton, making this one of the most memorable performances of 2014.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS: DANA ZUK PHOTOGRAPHY