The Budweiser Stage, located at 909 Lake Shore Boulevard West, is officially open for the 2019 summer concert season. They kicked off the year with a massive opener and Torontonicity was invited by Live Nation to see The Strokes at Budweiser Stage! The outdoor venue has quite a history of epic performances and is gearing up for another year of amazing shows that include both music and comedy performances throughout the summer.
If you haven’t ever been to a performance at The Budweiser Stage, formerly known as The Molson Amphitheatre, then it’s important to note that the venue is a sheltered outdoor space. There is a grassy general admission area and guests can bring a blanket to cozy up or dance out the night, with tiered seats directly below leading to a standing area right in front of the stage. This venue allows for guests to enjoy fresh air, but can sometimes be chilly in the later hours, so make sure to pack a light sweater, sunscreen and an umbrella just to be safe.
The Strokes was an outstanding way for the Budweiser Stage team to launch their annual show calendar, because the band hasn’t released any new material since Comedown Machine back in 2013. The band caused major excitement among fans when they announced their reunion tour late in 2018.
There was no ramping up in energy for The Strokes, who took the stage shortly after 9 p.m. The garage rock energy that made them famous was still very present right from the start of the performance, and the crowd mirrored that enthusiasm. Lead singer Julian Casablancas engaged in some casual commentary on their visit to Toronto between songs, and even spoke about the band attending a Raptors’ game during their visit!
The venue was packed from first row right through to the back with guests dancing away to their favourites, like “You Only Live Once”, “12:51”, “The Modern Age” and “Reptilia”.
As a fan of The Strokes since day one, I was super excited to see them play live, and they did not disappoint. The setlist stuck to fan favourites mainly from their 2001 debut, Is This It and the follow-up album Room on Fire. The band clearly knows their fan base and what makes them happy, and the crowd was feeling it that night: hands were in the air, everyone sang along and danced in their seats. What an amazing and fun performance!
I’d also like to share that guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s all yellow suit is what rock fashion dreams are made of. It was perfection.
A feature I personally love about Budweiser Stage is that between sets, you can roam through the merch tents to pick up some band items or take a break between the opening and main act to grab a bite in the food truck area. The outdoor setting lends itself to a much more experience-based concert than other larger venues in Toronto – think about how annoying it is to leave your seat at the ACC to grab a drink or visit the bathroom between bands. None of that pain at The Budweiser Stage!
The venue didn’t just kick off their 2019 calendar with a bang; they’ve made sure to stack it with some amazing talent throughout the season as well. Coming up on June 11, 2019, they’re featuring Billie Eilish, which is one of the music industry’s hottest talents right now. The young pop artist brings her When We All Fall Asleep tour to Toronto, and only to The Budweiser Stage!
The venue has a diverse list of musical genres for the year though. Here are just some of the highlights coming to The Budweiser Stage this year: Tame Impala, Iron Maiden, The Smashing Pumpkins, Wiz Khalifa, blink-182, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige and Nas (!), and Bastille.
When you’re at the venue, make sure to walk around the grounds and really take in the Toronto skyline. The placement of The Budweiser Stage, just southwest of the downtown core, gives you a lovely view of the CN Tower. You’re sure to catch many guests snapping skyline pics as they exit the venue singing their favourite tune from the evening into the night sky.
Make sure to check out the 2019 Budweiser Stage calendar, and don’t wait on grabbing tickets to a show that catches your eye. Concert tickets can sell out quickly, and you don’t want to miss out on a favourite band. If you already know which concert you’re attending, or are excited about a band coming to Budweiser Stage this summer, leave a comment and let us know!