It was a great weekend for country music in southwestern Ontario as the Neon Smoke Tour rolled into town. Gord Bamford’s first tour of 2018 has just kicked off with Windsor, ON being the third stop and twenty six more planned through March, stretching from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
When the lights went down and the theatre went dark, the crowd settled in for the headliner to appear. After just a few minutes, flashing multi-coloured lights met the crowd as Gord Bamford made his entrance. Beginning the show with popular hits, Heard You In A Song and Blame It On That Red Dress, the crowd’s excitement grew as they started to clap and sing along. He also announced the possibility of a new song called Dive Bar being his next radio single and after hearing it live, it would be a great choice.
Throughout the show it became very evident that Gord Bamford is a family man. Not only did he reach out into the crown on multiple occasions to give guitar picks to a few young children in attendance, but he showcased songs that were dedicated to his own family including Unreal, My Daughter’s Father, and Little Guy.
To end the night, Bamford got the crowd on their feet and some even moved down to stand in front of the stage for a bit of dancing as they sang along to Is It Friday Yet, Drinking Buddy, and the patriotic anthem Ain’t It Grand.
Overall, this concert drew a great crowd, a full set of songs with the right balance of serious moments and times to dance, and there is definitely hope for the future that country music is alive and well in Windsor-Essex county.
Opening the show was Aaron Goodvin, a small-town Alberta native, who found initial success in Nashville as a songwriter with a cut on Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party album (he co-wrote Out Like That with Adam Sanders and Cole Swindell). Since then Goodvin has seen rising success as an artist himself with Canadian radio singles such as Woman In Love and Lonely Drum. Keep an eye on his current single Miss Me Yet, as it is currently Top 20 on Canadian country music charts and still climbing.
Goodvin captivated the crowd by playing his most popular songs and even mixing in a few brand-new ones with a particularly powerful message in a song called Bars and Churches.
He also showed off a great sense of humour as he joked about how excited he was to finally have a tour bus although it meant he had to tune his own guitars because he couldn’t afford guitar techs on the road. Overall, an impressive performance from this opening act and he is definitely an act everyone needs to see.
All photos by Jose Ed Ramirez