“Is Carly Rae Jepsen going to change my life?” That was a text I got from fellow rocktographer Lindsey Blane moments before the concert.
“Wait!? Aren’t you guys called ROCKtographers?” we can hear you say. “Why are your reviewer and photographer covering a pop concert? Heck, why are they so excited to cover this pop concert?”
Yeah, we are called Rocktographers. I could give you some pretentious explanation about how music is fluid and how it ebbs and flows or how everyone has their own musical taste, but I won’t. Rocktographers wanted to go to a pop rock concert and have fun. That’s it. What’s wrong with wanting to have fun while doing your job?
Upon arrival to the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, we found out that opener Francesco Yates unfortunately had to cancel his performance that night due to illness. Luckily, our friend DJ Boitano got called up to the big leagues last minute to warm up the crowd before Carly Rae Jepsen and Hedley.
After the show, DJ Boitano confided in us via Instagram about his nerves for playing to a crowd that big, but overcoming them when he saw a bunch of familiar faces in the photo pit. Judging by the cheer he got at the end of his set, and the people we saw dancing in the aisles, I think he had nothing to worry about.
While the grumpy old men in the group of photographers shooting the concert moaned and made jokes about shooting Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, we Rocktographers fizzed over with excitement. It’s not often Victoria gets big pop acts, especially fun ones. Theatrics, singalongs, and high-energy performers are way more fun to take pictures of than motionless people hiding behind guitars and microphones.
Mission’s Carly Rae Jepsen started her set a bit early, but we made it out into the pit just in time to catch her huge smile and sparkly shirt. This was sort of a homecoming for Jepsen, despite it never being mention during her show. She attended post-secondary school here in Victoria for several years. I think if she’d mentioned it, the crowd would have been more excited than they already were.
Towards the end of Carly Rae’s set her saxophone player stepped out into the spotlight, soloing while slowly lowering to his knees in front of Jepsen. At one point he’d become horizontal with the stage while his sax reached to the sky above. It seemed like a genuine surprise to the pop star as she stood there, amazed.
In a heartwarming moment during her biggest pop hit Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen ventured off stage to a young girl dancing and singing her heart out amongst the crowd. Carly Rae gave her a big hug while the two of them sang the chorus together. It’s probably one of the main reasons I’ve had the song stuck in my head all week.
As the lights went down in the arena to signify the start of Hedley’s set the screens on either side of the stage exploded to life with footage of explosions, westerns, ’70s cop shows, and other over-the-top action before fading into a spoof of ’80s sitcom opening credits starring the band. It was a clear reference to Too Many Cooks, something that would certainly went over 99% of the audience’s head.
As the video wrapped up the band walked onto the stage to the deafening roar which can only be created by teenage girls. With a wave to the crowd, the band burst into Hello, the lead single off their sixth studio album of the same name.
Throughout the night, the band members fed off the energy the audience gave them, with high-flying jumps, smiles, and goofing around with each other on stage.
Between Hedley’s many costume changes and pop rock ballads, they caught a teenage girl in the audience texting. Lead singer Jacob Hoggard quickly confiscated the phone with threats of texting boys this girl liked, but instead settled on a phone call with someone labelled in her contacts as “Birth Giver.” I’m sure if we could have seen the teen in the audience, she’d have been beet red as Jacob set to embarrass her by calling her mom in front of a packed arena.
Thankfully, our hotshot photographer Lindsey Blane recorded the whole thing on her cell phone in hopes that I would transcribe the entire debacle. Sorry, I’m not about to do that. I will, however, share one of my favourite moments from the four minute phone call that had me rolling in the aisles as it happened.
Jacob – “What are you wearing?”
Birth Giver – “Pajamas. ”
Jacob – “JamJams? I got some peanut butter. Wanna make a sandwich?”
After the phone call, Jacob invited the girl and her friend onstage to get a selfie with the band, while the crowd roared and cheered in the background. If anything, this taught a lesson to those of us who like to text and look at our phones during concerts. Don’t, or Hedley might call your mom.
Canadian pop rockers Hedley continue to fill arenas across Canada with screaming teen girls and adoring fans, and show no signs of stopping anytime soon. It’s clear to us that we’ll be seeing Hedley for years to come.
Maybe we should become POPtographers.