@ HOLLYWOOD THEATRE, VANCOUVER
NOVEMBER 16, 2023
Hayden, also known professionally as Hayden Desser, returned triumphantly to Vancouver’s Hollywood Theatre, on tour to support Are We Good, his ninth studio album and first release in eight years. Known for his infrequent touring, especially to Western Canada, Hayden ventured to Vancouver from Toronto for a surprisingly second time this year, following his intimate solo appearance at Christ Church Cathedral on February 15.
On the second stop of this 10-date tour, which began the night prior in Victoria and ends in Oshawa, Ontario, Hayden hit the West Coast with his newly assembled band of Chloë Doucet (bass), Aaron Comeau (guitar/keyboards) and Carlin Nicholson of Zeus (drums) in tow.
To begin the evening, Vancouver native Chloë Doucet performed double duty as the solo opener. Armed with her Fender Jaguar, Doucet brilliantly and elegantly performed a handful of songs including outstanding single “Satan Loves You” and a stunning cover of Björk’s 1995 hit song “Isobel”.
Next-up, Hayden and company proceeded to gently cruise through over 20 Hayden originals, spanning vastly throughout his nearly 30-year recording career. A spattering of solos were performed by Hayden, including a sterling rendition of “Stem”, from 1995 recording Everything I Long For. Another illustrious solo was “No Happy Birthday” from 2015 release Hey Love. The emotional song was written for his non-verbal daughter, who also inspired Hayden and his partner, Christie Greyerbiehl, to create the annual Dream Serenade benefit concert.
Leslie Feist’s recorded portion of “On A Beach”, from the new LP Are We Good, was sung beautifully by Doucet. Hayden’s harmonica game was strong throughout the night, especially on “Almost Everything”, from 2015 album Us Alone. It was evident that Hayden had chosen his band well, as the camaraderie and positive energy blanketed the Hollywood Theatre crowd in a dynamic, tight performance. Along with Hayden’s honest, intimate lyrics and his openness to the audience, Hayden and band had the faithful crowd feeling more than alive.
(Photography by John Graham)