Nearing the summery twilight of an exquisite summer night in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the Brightside World Tour -featuring the three Colorado-based folk acts The Lumineers, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Daniel Rodriguez- finally rolled into the Canada Life Centre after numerous postponements of the tour to a near-sellout audience in the arena. Opening the night swiftly at 7:00 p.m. was Daniel Rodriguez, with his slower folk stylings, initiated the warm-up of the Winnipeg crowd with a decently timed set. The audience was well receptive to Daniel Rodriguez and his backing band.
Daniel Rodriguez. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Following Daniel Rodriguez was the indie folk artist Gregory Alan Isakov. Continuing to warm up the Winnipeg audience, as soon as the clock struck 7:45 p.m., Gregory Alan Isakov and his band braced the Canada Life Centre stage and performed a long nine-song set of original tunes that included "Southern Star," "Amsterdam," "This Empty Northern Hemisphere," "Second Chances," and "All Shades of Blue." Once more, the audience was very open-minded to his music, and he achieved his job of getting the exuberant energy riled up in the people in their seats -and the fans standing in the two pits- within the Canada Life Centre. It was noticeable his set primed the Winnipeg fans for The Lumineers to hit the stage after waiting over two years of postponements because of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.
Gregory Alan Isakov. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
After Gregory Alan Isakov's fantastic nine-song set, it was time for the musical act everyone came to see, the multi-platinum recording artists The Lumineers. The Winnipeg stop on the Brightside World Tour marks the second time the band has been to the city. The last time the band hit Winnipeg on the road was five years ago at the same venue. While The Lumineers haven't trekked up to Canada very often during their ongoing career, Winnipeg is quite the city in love with all various folk music. So the band has quite the dedicated fan base within Winnipeg and its neighbouring cities and towns, and they showed up by nearly selling out the Canada Life Centre! As the band braced the stage, the audience erupted in cheer, and the crowd's excitement grew until the first note was struck to start the set.
The Lumineers know how to work an audience, and it was evident immediately out of the gate. Initiating the set strongly, they opened with the tour's namesake "Brightside," followed by "Cleopatra," and their massive 2012 smash hit, "Ho Hey." During these three songs, I was in absolute shock as I had my eye barreled down my camera lens, overwhelmed by the entirety of the band and the crowd's reactions. All while trying my best to not get distracted while getting my shots. The Lumineers brought a hell of a stage and lighting production with them. The stage had a catwalk on both sides that led to the middle of the floor, so the band could get as intimate with their fans as they could within an arena show. Both ends of the catwalk had platforms where a piano and drum set would rise from to make the intimate experience even bigger. A tremendous amount of lighting and a disco ball lit up the Canada Life Centre as I have never seen before. The band also didn't hold out on the length of their set. The Lumineers treated Winnipeg with a massive twenty-six-song set for their Winnipeg fans.
The Lumineers. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
As the set progressed, the indie folk/folk rock act hit the crowd with many fan favourites, hits, and some deep cuts. That included "A.M. Radio," "Flowers In Your Hair," "Gloria," "Ophelia," "Salt and the Sea," and "Birthday," which the band dedicated to anyone who missed out on celebrating any type of celebration, graduation, or birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the band performed a cover of Tom Petty's massive 1996 tune, "Walls (Circus)." Near the end of The Lumineer's set, during the performance of "Big Parade," they welcomed Gregory Alan Isakov and his band mates back to the stage to perform the track together. While they performed "Birthday," the band had another surprise up their sleeves. They shot off a few confetti canons and threw the venue into a sea of colourful paper. The confetti was so thick that I couldn't see the opposite side of the venue, and as it all settled on the ground, it landed in literal stacks that didn't get forced apart by the initial blast. The main set ended, and the Winnipeg audience wanted more. The chants for more from The Lumineers grew and grew. As time passed, The Lumineers returned to the stage and performed another five songs for their devoted fans. The surprises didn't stop at the end of the main set. Midway through the band's encore, vocalist Wesley Shultz said, "I'm hearing a lot of you asking to play 'Gale Song.' We'll play it for you." It appears they haven't performed "Gale Song" on many of the previous dates in North America, so as of this writing, it was a treat for the Winnipeg audience. Before the band commenced "Gale Song," Shultz proceeded to welcome Manitoba's own Goody Grace to the stage to perform the song together as one final surprise for the over joyous Winnipeg audience. Closing out the night, The Lumineers performed another one of their biggest hits, "Stubborn Love." An easy favourite to close out the whole show.