Review and Photos by Marisa Filippo
Lead Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Venturing into their second year, the 2016 Hilton Concert Series made a stop in Toronto this past Saturday night. The concert series assists fans and members of Hilton HHonors by allowing them to be closer than ever to some of their favourite artists. Hilton HHonors is a free-to-join loyalty program that gives members unique benefits such including the concert series. So far this year it has brought its members closer to Jason Derulo in San Diego, California, Elle King in Hollywood, Florida and Halsey in Tokyo, Japan.
Headlining the private show in Toronto were Calgary natives Tegan and Sara who are identical twin sisters. The duo has many impressive accomplishments under their belt including the honors of having over one million albums sold, three Juno awards, and a Grammy nomination. The sisters have been flooding the music industry with hits like “Boyfriend,” “Closer” and “I Was a Fool,” all of which were performed at this special show.
I was caught off guard when the beat of their opening song started to play. It was “Boyfriend,” which is their latest hit single. Artists usually choose to perform their most recent and most popular songs at the very end of the show, sometimes featured in their encore. Clearly, Tegan and Sara did the opposite and while it was a bit of surprise, I surely wasn’t disappointed. The girls put on a fantastic show, energizing the crowd with each song. They performed material off of their latest album Love You to Death including, as mentioned, “Boyfriend,” as well as “Stop Desire” and “100x.” Older material included “Goodbye, Goodbye” and “Nineteen.”
It was truly an intimate performance. There were just over four hundred attendees who gathered in a small space for the show. Although it was a fairly small room, it came equipped with state of the art lighting, stage set-up, cameras, and screens. It was amazing to see a huge pop band in a space so small. The girls told jokes and stories and even took a fan’s cell phone and face timed someone. They then proceeded to discuss technology in today’s society compared to how different it was when they were growing up. They were so personable and relatable.
Opening up for Tegan and Sara was indie-pop duo JR JR. The native Detroit band consists of lead singers Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein. The two were formed in 2009 and released their first EP in 2010. Since then they have released three EPs and three full-length studio albums. JR JR gave an energetic performance, jumping around getting the crowd pumped. They each played a variety of instruments which was inspiring to see since many pop artists these days only sing. The boys performed their hit single “Gone” from their latest self-titled album.
Taking a step back, the memorable night was introduced with a pre-concert reception that featured a menu consisting of locally inspired food and an open bar. There was also a small red carpet that attendees could walk on and take pictures with the Hilton backdrop. The reception area was extremely well designed and felt like a luxurious lounge. It was dimly lit with incredible lighting fixtures, multiple seating areas with leather couches, strategically placed bar tables and stools and a talented DJ to set the mood.
The Hilton truly made their members feel like royalty.