Review: Foster The People @ Downsview Park
It seems every time I attend a show at Downsview Park I’m always distracted by the planes flying overhead. Perhaps that’s just me and my slight ADD tendencies though. However, it was evident that it wasn’t just me that was distracted by the collapsed Radiohead stage that looked eerily untouched, on the trek from the parking lot to The Meadow.
But all distractions aside, as they say–the show must go on. And go on it did.
I’m not even going to mention the ridiculous heat and humidity, because that would just be annoying. (See what I did there?)
Thankfully every aspect of the entire event ran ridiculously smooth. The show opened with New Zealand’s own Kimbra (best known as ‘that naked chick in the Gotye video’), who started the night off right with her high energy set. Local Newmarket band Tokyo Police Club followed with a quick set that left the crowd chanting for more (although more didn’t happen). Then, without a hitch, Foster the People hit the stage, the crowd cheered and drew in closer.
The stage, relatively dull up until this point now lit up with video screens, ‘the people’ and an impressive Mayan sun, which transformed from a face, to live video of the band and more. The excitement of the crowd picked up even more during FTP’s third song Helena Beat. From within the Mayan sun came a flame-head man, who stood shining a flashlight on the band and then quickly disappeared (but later returned throwing paper airplanes).
As this was the first show at Downsview since the Radiohead stage collapse on June 16, there was an ever-present sobriety that seemed to be felt by all in attendance. About half way through their set, Mark Foster took a moment to address his own feelings and extend his condolences to the family and friends of drum technician Scott Johnson.
“We make music to bring joy to people,” he said after struggling for the words to convey his own feelings towards the tragedy.
With applause of remembrance and respect from the crowd, FTP continued on, putting all their passion into the show.
Foster invited opener Kimbra back out to perform Warrior and wrapped up their set with Houdini.
The crowd demanded more and they came back for two more songs. First was Ruby, followed by the evenings most highly anticipated song Pumped Up Kicks. The song was completely remixed, which seemed to throw more than a few people off. But FTP cannot be blamed. They’ve been playing the song since 2010, when it helped launch them into the global spotlight, so why not switch it up? It’s refreshing to see a band that doesn’t always play their songs by the book.
As the end of the encore came to a close, I quickly ran for the hills (literally), to beat the traffic. Again, I made my way past the collapsed stage along with the massive flock of fans, I recalled the heartfelt performances of the night, and Fosters words rang more true than ever. That’s why all these people were here to experience the joy that music brings.