REVIEW: CMT Hitlist Tour

Last night (03/20), the CMT Hitlist Tour rolled through Ottawa, Canada. The Algonquin Commons Theatre was one of fourteen stops the tour will see by the end of its run. This one-of-a-kind concert experience showcases and celebrates the talented country artists within the nation. With such a great lineup, it would have been hard to disappoint. And that they did not.

Aaron Pritchett most definitely knows how to get rowdy! Donning his signature cowboy hat, Aaron started off the show with a bang with his hit “Let’s Get Rowdy.” A few energetic struts across the stage was all it took for the predominantly college-aged crowd to chant along to the anthem. Aaron followed up with a few of his memorable hits, including “New Frontier” and “Big Wheel.” Fans were lucky enough to hear the artist’s brand new song, “Suntan City,” a song that will surely be received well with the warmer months right around the corner. The set was closed out with a crowd favourite, “Hold My Beer,” a song that had everyone up on their feet singing and dancing alongside the upbeat Pritchett. Without a doubt, this man’s intensity and drive alone are enough to bring fans together for one heck of a good time.

Next to take the stage were the talented men of Doc Walker. The crowd was eager to sing along to a cover of Genesis’ “That’s All,” followed by the band’s latest single, a powerful song called “Put It Into Drive.” The guys slowed things down with their hit “Driving With The Brakes On,” but were quick to lift spirits with a notable singalong, “Beautiful Life.” Fans were happy to hear some of the band’s biggest songs, including “Rocket Girl” and “North Dakota Boy.” One of the highlights of their set was a mashup of songs that started with their single “Get Up” that blended into “Crazy In Love” by Beyonce and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. With the crowd singing and laughing along, the band finished off the set with “The Show Is Free.” Ironically enough, I would pay any amount of money to see these boys do what they do best again in the future. Perhaps it was due to the one thing that was overwhelmingly noticeable during the entire performance – Chris Thorsteinson’s unwavering smile. Coupled with the band’s talent and energy, it was refreshing to see an artist fully enjoy the experience just as much as their fans.

Last but not least, Emerson Drive came out to a screaming crowd that was eager to chime in to some of the band’s biggest hits. The five-piece band graced the stage with their huge grins exposing ample amounts of energy and passion. The band opened up their set with one of their past hits, “That Kind of Beautiful,” a song that set the mood for the rest of the show. Next, they hammered out several great performances of songs such as their first single “I Should Be Sleeping” and “The Extra Mile.” A memorable moment was lead singer Brad Mates pausing mid-song during “Fall Into Me” to have guitar player Danick Dupelle and drummer Mike Melancon battle it out to see who the crowd thought had the better vocals. With family from Montreal attending the show, Danick was probably quite happy to have garnered the crowd’s support. The band slowed things down with their number one hit “Moments,” a song that saw Mates keeping his eyes closed almost the entire time, clearly indicating the passion with which he was singing. It was in this “moment” that any concert-goer who perhaps did not know about this Canadian talent could not help but come to admire and respect the band. Moreover, it was this performance that showcased Brad’s incredible vocal talent. The remainder of the set undoubtedly highlighted the dance moves and charisma of the singer, especially during songs such as, “A Good Man” and “Countrified”. Fans were also lucky enough to hear a song off the band’s latest album, Roll, called “She Always Gets What She Wants,” a song that took on an edgier tone than the rest of the set. Finally, the band finished off with their first single off of the new album, “She’s My Kind of Crazy.” Without a doubt, Emerson Drive left their fans crazy for them and wanting to hear more.

Luckily, the band heard the “encore” chants and came back out to give fans what they wanted. Drummer Mike Melancon and Steve Broadhurst, touring drummer for Doc Walker, were first to come out to engage in a battle-of-the-drummers. This showcased their undeniable talent while also serving as a transition into the first song of the encore, “Let It Roll.” It was at this point when both bands came back out on stage to perform their popular duet that the crowd erupted. Perhaps the best part of the show was when the boys performed renditions of two popular songs, one of which was Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, the other being “The Weight.” Finally, it was time for the artists to take a bow and call it quits for the night. While the show could have easily gone on all night, it is safe to say that the memories of the concert will last for quite some time.

For more information about the remaining tour stops, visit

For pictures from the show, visit our Facebook page.

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