Another day, another big helpin' of Rogers Bayfest.
So far, two for two. The second day of this year's Bayfest music festival held up to the hype and delivered another stellar evening of great live music and good times with friends. Just like the day's weather, the energy across the outdoor beautiful bayside venue was taken up another few notches.
Like the day before, people started packing into the park shortly after the gates opened at 6:15 p.m., notably 15 minutes earlier than expected to the delight of those waiting in line under the hot, balmy sunshine.
Not only has Bayfest become a local favourite time of year, but people literally come from all over the world to witness our national music festival each year. Many of the area motels and hotels are booked solid months in advance, making it almost impossible to find an empty room by the time the festival kicks off.
The show started promptly at about 6:50 p.m. as the iconic Canadian band Cowboy Junkies trickled out to the sparsely decorated stage and took positions behind their instruments. It was almost as if time has stood still for the past 26 years as the music started and a distinct smooth, aurally pleasing feeling spread across the whole venue.
The C-Junkies was nominated for Group of the Year at the Juno Awards in 1990 and 1991 and in the early 1990s vocalist Margo Timmins was named "one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world" by People Magazine.
While on stage, they demonstrated an eclectic mix, performing all of their hits including, most notably, Sweet Jane as well as other favorites like Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning and A Common Disaster. The talented ensemble also played songs from their album series called The Nomad.
At one point in the middle of their set, Margo Timmins declared, "We're a Canadian band and as such we play Neil Young," then moved right into a moving rendition of Young's classic Don't Let It Bring You Down.
The C-Junkies got their biggest pop of the evening from the masses when they busted into their arguably biggest hit Sweet Jane. Everyone in the venue knew the number and started singing along and audibly voicing their approval.
Despite having been together for so many years and having been a big part of Canadian pop culture for almost three decades, the Cowboy Junkies remain humble and true to their roots.
After a short delay, The Sheepdogs stormed the stage at 8:10 p.m., immediately ramping up the atmosphere across the park venue with their powerful, wildly popular "old school meets new hard rock"brand of music.
During their almost 80 minute performance, these guys proved exactly why they beat 15 other bands to win Rolling Stone's "Choose The Cover" competition, notably the first unsigned act to accomplish such a milestone.
Among the very entertaining, high voltage set were some of their most known hits such as I Don't Know, Who? and The Way It Is. The crowd loved every minute of it and there's no question that The Sheepdogs have found a new home away from home in this rock-loving town of ours.
Finally it was time for the main event of the evening, headliner John Mellencamp would soon be hitting the stage and delivering a performance burgeoning with songs that so many folks around here came to love in the 80s and 90s.
The reportedly 15,000-strong crowd was primed and ready.
The sold-out crowd smack in the middle of a picturesque bayside venue was feeling that simple, corn-fed musical magic as the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp took to the stage, notably dressed to kill in a stylish but likely not weather-appropriate suit, flanked by the familiar faces of his bandmates.
Mellencamp did a show mixed with many of his hits, albeit re-worked in a lot of instances heavily influenced by Mellencamp's newer projects, accompanied by a sensational backing ensemble .
His fans that clearly came out to hear the radio anthems of their youth might have been a little put off about some of the re-worked material, particularly on numbers like "Jack & Diane," which was remixed from a catchy rock number into a light and breezy country swing ditty.
During his nearly 85 minute set he went through almost all of his classics, including notables such as The Authority Song, Jack and Dianne, Small Town, Rockin' in the U.S.A. and Cherry Bomb.
The night finished up at around 11:15 p.m. with those that attended leaving with a feeling of nostalgia and mutual satisfaction after another night of live music, food and alcohol, and good times with friends and family.
Tonight's show is expected to be one of the biggest of this year's festival featuring the likes of classic rockers Alice Cooper and the metal super ensemble Iron Maiden.
Bleeker Ridge: 5:45 p.m.
Alice Cooper: 6:45 p.m.
Iron Maiden: 9:00 p.m.
July 15 (afternoon):
USS: 1:00 p.m.
Big Wreck: 1:45 p.m.
Hedley: 3:00 p.m.
July 15 (evening):
Papa Roach: 6:45 p.m.
Simple Plan: 8:15 p.m.
The Offspring: 10:00 p.m.