The new living room tour kicked off last night in Toronto and Joe D'Ambrosio was nice enough to send back this report:
"The Chad Stokes Living Room Tour hit Toronto on February 13th, 2014. The Toronto stop is the one Canadian date Chad added to his tour, which made me feel quite lucky when dates were initially announced. Walking up to the house where the show was set to be hosted, around 7:15pm on a predictably chilly February evening, there was already that palpable sense even then while approaching the front door that this was going to be something special. The house was on a nice quiet street, around mid-town Toronto. Not usually the type of location you'd expect to see one of your all time favorite rock and roll songwriters and performers. Peering in through the front window as we approached, we saw a few people kicking around inside but it was clear we arrived a little bit early. This worked to our advantage just a bit. We were greeted at the door kindly by the residents of the home who politely asked us to remove our shoes and promptly took our coats. Kind of strange to be welcomed so warmly by strangers in a house you've never been, but the place had an undeniable warmth to it from the get go. The numbers were sparse at that point so we were able to walk in and right away catch Chad hanging at the bar in the kitchen enjoying a roti. He was hanging out as anyone else would. We gave him a quick hello and shook his hand, which was a nice little moment before the show. Chad soon retreated into the basement to prep as others started to filter in.
Before we knew it, the small space was filled with what looked to be around 50-60 guests. Everyone was in good spirits and it was easy to say hi and chat with others while we waited for the show to begin. There was a definite excitement and positive energy flowing through the home, and it was awesome to see. Ive always believed music is one of the absolute strongest things that has the ability to bring people together in a kind of shared happiness and appreciation, and this was a prime example. Around 8:30, Chad finally emerged as everyone either took a chair, sat crossed legged on the floor, or stood around to view the performance. There was clapping and a warm welcom waiting for Chad as he took a seat up front with his acoustic. One of the first things you immediately notice about Chad is that he has this definite sense about him of being humble and appreciative of his supporters, while still being able to command a sense of interest and attention in the way he speaks about himself and his music. He kicked off the set with a new one which many were likely unfamiliar with, but still it instantly drew the room in. Very cool.
Chad proceeded to run through a diverse set filled with new and old tunes, and material from his solo projects, Dispatch and State Radio. When he broke in to Open Up, which he noted was a special request from one of the hosts, the crowd immediately began singing along. We didn't shout or sing loudly as this was a small and intimate space, but everyone seemed able and willing to harmonize along with Chad and support the song. This was a very respectful and warm crowd, which was awesome to see. Nobody was chatting during songs or shouting random comments, but more so it felt like this was something we were all taking part in along with Chad and everyone appreciated and respected that. It was an excellent vibe.
Chad was gracious enough to play Keepsake for the two of the hosts that are engaged, another request he was happy to honor. This worked out well for all of us as this is definitely considered a State Radio favorite for most. Chad is an exceptional lyricist and his lyrics always seem to strike up a connection with the listeners, and it was in full effect here. I could go on and on about the songs he played or all the things from the show, the little quirks and stories from Chad and so on, that there were to appreciate about the evening. The Indian moon/Circles around the sun/gunship medley was particularly inspired. There was all that and more, no question. For me though, the overall thing that struck home was what an incredible and diverse songwriter this guy really is. Its not something I haven't realized before, but there was one point before one of the last songs were Chad accepted some requests and the response was so diverse, that in and of itself was incredible. The span of music this guy commands is truly exceptional. For a true fan to pick one song out of so many to request at a show is near impossible, as there is too much good material to name. Frankly, the general feeling was that anything Chad chose to play that night would have been widely accepted by those in attendance.
Toward the end of the set as Chad thanked everyone for coming and started walking through the crowd towards the basement, he was stopped by Roger, the owner of the house who promptly ordered another song be played. It is his house after all. This little gesture was totally indicative of the night and the really personal feeling we all had being there. It was like getting together with a group of friends really, and it felt that way I think for many of us. Chad was quick to concede to the request and he promptly hopped up and took a seat on the kitchen bar. This was a great moment as everyone stood and shuffled to crowd around the new area. Chad launched into the General which, no surprise, got everyone singing along. He wrapped up and the crowd still did not want him to go at that point. Thankfully, Roger put his foot down one last time and Chad then played his last song of the night for us. Chad closed with Diner Song which was another one that we all were more than happy to sing along to. My wife especially was happy about this as this his one of her favs from State Radio. She quickly turned to me and said "i was really hoping he would play this one." I was happy to hear it as well, but again, its tough to go wrong with anything Chad could choose to strum out.
The show ended and people gradually moved to dig for their jacket in the mountain of coats that had built up downstairs. During this time as everyone was getting ready to leave and saying goodbye, Chad hung around and was shaking hands and taking pictures with the fans. He seemed as appreciative and happy to be there as ever. it was truly an excellent night for all involved, and personally for me, I know it will go down as one of the most unique and inspiring musical moments I have been lucky enough to experience. I shook his hand before leaving and asked him to come back to Toronto soon. Hopefully it isn't too long before we see him again."