Any doubts that lingered about the ability of Estevan and Spectra Place to host a big-time concert were erased on Saturday night.
Canadian pop group Hedley riveted spectators with a 90-minute performance that saw the band play many of their most popular songs, to the delight of a boisterous and energetic audience, who swayed to the music, sang along with the performers and waved glow sticks in the air.
And Spectra Place aced another test.
The sound was excellent. For many of the spectators, it was their first concert inside the events centre, as it was the first time a band of Hedley's genre has been in Estevan. Those younger fans found out what the fans of Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Kim Mitchell and Doc Walker learned during the previous concerts at Spectra: that the acoustics in that building are terrific.
Arenas aren't known for their great sound for concerts, but sound quality definitely isn't an issue inside Spectra Place. Its smaller size also gives it a level of intimacy that isn't found in the larger venues that seat more than 18,000 people.
Security and crowd control proved effective, and the crowd was mostly well-behaved. And while we don't want to trumpet the mass consumption of alcohol, the system used to sell alcohol to fans seemed to be effective, as there wasn't the long line-ups that were observed for the grand opening concert last April, or the mixed martial arts concert in October, even though the crowd for Hedley was the largest for an event inside of Spectra.
Hedley deserves credit for the success of the evening. They set the tone early in their performance with several up-tempo songs that energized the crowd. Several ballads were also part of the show. Comedy was also mixed in, as they used an outdoor-themed video that had many spectators laughing, and they performed a couple of songs while sitting in a boat, and wearing yellow fishermen's gear.
Promoters should be applauded for selecting a trio of high-energy opening acts - Kay, Karl Wolf and Classified - who provided dynamic performances, and had the spectators in a frenzied mood even before Hedley arrived on the stage.
It says a lot about Estevan and Spectra Place that Hedley came to this city. It's one of only two communities under 50,000 on their nation-wide tour. But they knew that Estevan had a great venue, and that the city would show great support for the concert.
Estevan can now look forward to more top touring acts coming to this city. Saturday night's performance will only enhance the reputations of the Energy City and Spectra Place among the top touring bands in the country.