Every music fan dreams of being called up onto the stage at a concert to sing alongside their favourite vocalist, and, in a carefree moment, lift their elbows in rhythm. Be free with this GrouponLive deal to see Dan Hill at the Molson Canadian Studio at Hamilton Place. For $20, you get best-available general-admission balcony seating on Friday, March 1, at 8 p.m. (up to a $50.75 value, including fees). Doors open at 7 p.m.
“The honesty’s too much,” says the chorus of “Sometimes When We Touch,” the landmark 1978 ballad that put singer-songwriter Dan Hill on the map. Thankfully, the unabashed “honesty” of that heart-on-the-entire-suit classic wasn’t too much for the listeners who catapulted it up the Billboard charts, or for the hundreds of artists who later covered the tune: a distinguished list that includes Tina Turner, Barry Manilow, Phil Collins, and eight-division world-champion boxer Manny Pacquiao. Like Manny, the song packs a mean punch, and those who’ve dismissed it as overly sentimental soft rock missed the point. Underneath the soothing melody, infectious chorus, and naked vocals lies a lyrical darkness that pop music rarely explores. It starts where most love songs end, as the happily-ever-after takes a paranoid left turn into anxiety and fear.
It takes a certain type of songwriter to tap into these universal emotions and lace pop songs with unflinching realism, but that’s always been Dan Hill’s forte. The poignancy permeates all his work, including his 2009 biography, I Am My Father’s Son: A Memoir of Love and Forgiveness. And yet it’s not all heart-wrenching ballads and tear-puddle pratfalls with the Grammy- and Juno Award–winning Toronto legend, whose 30-year discography often forays into horn-filled jams and sultry R&B. Since he started writing songs at the age of 14, he’s developed a songbook that has been covered by some of the most diverse stars in the world, from the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, and Reba McEntire, to name a few. Still, the songs are most moving when Dan belts them himself in intimate concerts. Often stripped down to just a man and his piano or acoustic guitar, Dan offers up his heart and soul in a career-spanning set of classic hits and songs from his latest record, Intimate, all in a tender voice with just the right amount of rasp.
Dan Hill—“Sometimes When We Touch” (webisode performance in 2010)
Hamilton Place Theatre
Winner of the 2012 Hamilton Music Award for Theatre of the Year, Hamilton Place Theatre continues to dazzle audience members with its line-up of concerts and theatrical performances. Famed throats such as Leonard Cohen and Sarah McLachlan have wrapped their vocals around the entertainment centre’s lauded acoustics, and productions in the form of Evita and The Color Purple have graced the same stage as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.