Corey Hart takes audience on hit-filled trip back in time
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/06/2019 (1265 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was like he never took the sunglasses off.
Canadian hitmaker Corey Hart managed to close the gap on his 20-year musical hiatus within the first two songs of his performance at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday night.
The Montreal-born musician penned some of the biggest pop anthems of the ’80s and ’90s before stepping away from the limelight in 1998 to focus on his family. Hart and his wife Julie Masse, a French-Canadian singer, picked up and moved to the Bahamas, where they have lived for the last two decades raising their four children.
But 2019 has seen Hart return to the music scene in a big way.
In March, the 57-year-old was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards and in May he released a five-track EP, titled Dreaming Time Again. Now, he is on his first cross-Canada tour, the aptly named Never Surrender Tour, since his glory days.
On Tuesday, following a montage of music video clips from some of his biggest hits, Hart took the stage and launched into the title track of his new EP. Dreaming Time Again is an autobiographical ballad about the good old days and the beginning of a new adventure — a fitting start to a comeback show. Hart got a huge cheer when he swapped in Manitoba for Montreal during the third verse of the song.
Up next, and without skipping a beat, Hart travelled back in time with Bang! (Starting Over). And the ’80s and ’90s is where he remained for most of the show.
Opening act Glass Tiger, another quintessential ’80s outfit from Ontario, helped start the night off in energetic fashion with Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone) and My Song from their early albums before playing a few from their 2019 release, Thirty Three.
Despite suffering an accident at the beginning of June that left him with a broken neck, Glass Tiger vocalist Alan Frew sounded on point and got the crowd singing and dancing along during the band’s roughly 45-minute set. At one point Frew asked the audience to close their eyes and “pretend it was 1986,” which was met with a wave of cheers from the audience largely made up of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
Hart hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. dressed in all black and sporting a leather jacket. He spent most of the almost two-hour performance, swaying, jumping and dancing around the stage. In between songs, he reminisced about playing at the former Winnipeg Arena and thanked his fans for their support over the years.
The fourth-wall is a concept that doesn’t appear to sit well with Hart, who left the stage multiple times to shake hands, sprayed the crowd with his water bottle and, at one point, took someone’s phone to snap a selfie.
The music was broken up by a too-long interlude featuring a video of the pop star explaining to his son Rain why he decided to leave the music industry and a continuation of the story in real life.
Halfway through the show Hart and his band moved to a second stage in the middle of the floor, where he sang part of She Got The Radio before inviting three audience members from Winnipeg on stage to sing Never Surrender.
In addition to fan favourite originals like Everything in My Heart and In Your Soul, the setlist was sprinkled with covers by the Beatles, Moon Martin and Coldplay. Other than the large video monitor behind the stage, the set was decidedly subdued.
Hart left his mega-hit Sunglasses at Night for the encore, returning to the stage in a silver jacket and, you guessed it, a pair of sunglasses to thunderous applause. Almost everyone in the crowd was standing and fist-bumping along with Hart, who played the song that helped launch his career like he was 21 again.
The Never Surrender Tour heads to Calgary next before wrapping up in Vancouver on June 25.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.