Jacob Hoggard of the band Hedley performs at the Enmax Centrium on Sunday. The show was part of the Canadian pop-rock band's Wild Live Tour

Hedley rocks Red Deer

One moment he’s crooning poignant lyrics at the piano while bathed in white light, the next he’s battling a cranky old lady (really a bearded roadie in a wig and flowered dress).

One moment he’s crooning poignant lyrics at the piano while bathed in white light, the next he’s battling a cranky old lady (really a bearded roadie in a wig and flowered dress).

Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard took some 4,500 Central Alberta fans on a wild — and rather capricious — ride Sunday night at Red Deer’s Centrium.

It was one of last concerts of the pop band’s exhaustive, cross-country Wild Life tour, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the group’s full-tilt energy level. Hedley came on like a whirlwind with a blinding light show and performance of the mega-hit Anything — complete with raunchy snippets from the hedonistic music video.

Hoggard got most of the young audience up on its feet, waving arms in the air from the get-go. Sporting a camouflage jacket, he stood briefly, hands on hips, before going into hyper-kinetic overdrive. Hoggard encouraged cheers and pulled off athletic dance moves, such as kicking a foot up and spinning dervish-like on one leg.

The wiry singer didn’t appear to have an off switch. He launched into One Life while busily strutting the length of the stage in the manner of a frenetic Loony Tunes character.

“I need you to scream!” he commanded, and the audience enthusiastically obliged.

During drummer Chris Crippin’s machine-gun-like intro to I’ll Be With You, Hoggard was seen lying on his back, feet up in the air like an overturned beetle. “If I don’t lose my mind, I’ll be with you,” he sang when upright again. And dozens of fans waved their light wands in approval.

The irate bearded granny came on stage threatening Hoggard and bassist Tommy Mac with a cane during Don’t Talk to Strangers. It was definitely a non sequitur.

The mood took another sharp turn when vintage seaside images accompanied a reflective new song called Dreaming’s For Sleeping.

Guitarist Dave Rosin came downstage to help Hoggard greet fans before things slowed down even more: the singer took a spotlight turn at the piano to croon Invincible. This was followed by his over-the-top rendering of All The Way, with steam jets going off for a Big Finish.

After a brief comic video-filled intermission, the musicians appeared on a satellite stage in the middle of the audience, dressed as a 1960s boy group in matching black jackets. “Chaps, I have a grand idea: let’s play a road trip song, why don’t we?” said Hoggard before striking up Heaven in Our Headlights.

For the Nights I Can’t Remember also got the torchy treatment, with glittery disco ball casting a flurry of lights around the arena. More of the same was delivered for Wild Life — and that’s when things nearly ground to a crawl.

Aside from the falsetto whimsy of Crazy for You and a rousing, real-action cheerleading demo (go girls!) during Cha-Ching, the second half of the concert suffered from too many slow numbers — too much of Hoggard alone at the piano, not enough of the Vancouver-based band.

Another what-the-heck? moment also cropped up when the singer affected a cornpone accent to muse about living on a farm near Red Deer with a couple of wives.

Hoggard, who did a medley of Perfect and Rihanna’s Stay, was more amusing when he forgot some lyrics and quipped, “At least I’m not lip-synching!”

Hedley’s encore included Kiss You Inside Out, and the sweet, simple Sweater Song. The latter proved that Hoggard’s colourful voice can be most affecting when he isn’t overstretching the theatrics.

The concert ended positively, with Hoggard promising to come visit again and the audience responding with a deafening roar.

The crowd was also supportive of the evening’s opening acts. East Coast rapper Classified, assisted by a DJ, musicians and hip-hop artist Mike Boyd, performed a tongue-in-cheek tribute medley to 1990s rap (including some Wu-Tang Clan numbers and “old Jay-Z’s” Hard-Knock Life).

“It’s the kind of music I grew up with,” said Classified, who also pulled off versions of his own tunes, That Ain’t Classy, Inner Ninja and O Canada.

USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) are a lively Toronto duo with a chart-topping single, This is the Best. One of the musicians managed something I’ve never seen before. He jumped up and down on stage while also banging a tambourine against his head — an original move that was also surprisingly entertaining.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Firefighters to visit Oriole Park homes near industrial fire to answer questions

About 80 homes were evacuated on Wednesday because of nearby fire

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

EDMONTON — Jason Kenney, Alberta’s incoming premier, said he cordially talked pipelines… Continue reading

Shooting victims in Penticton, B.C., remembered before vigil at city park

PENTICTON, B.C. — Family and friends are remembering neighbours who were gunned… Continue reading

Updated: Industrial fabrication shop in Red Deer destroyed in morning fire

About 30 workers got out safely before building in north end gutted

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Netflix adds 9.6M subscribers in 1Q as competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber… Continue reading

Liberals find anti-Trudeau sentiment on campaign trail in Prince Edward Island

OTTAWA — When voters in Prince Edward Island go to the polls… Continue reading

Officer tells of finding body at trial for B.C. dad accused of killing daughters

VANCOUVER — A police officer choked up Tuesday as he recalled finding… Continue reading

Man faces murder charges in slayings of two men, two women in Penticton, B.C.

PENTICTON, B.C. — A former city employee described as a hard-working, civic-minded… Continue reading

A look at Alberta’s elections since the province was created in 1905

EDMONTON — A chronology of Alberta elections: Nov. 9, 1905: Lawyer Alexander… Continue reading

Most Read