April 20th, 2018

Year in Review: All roads led to the Hat for touring acts

By Chris Brown on December 28, 2017.

NEWS FILE PHOTO Comedian Jeff Foxworthy performs in performs at the Canalta Centre in March, His show with Larry the Cable Guy was one of the highlights of 2017 when it comes to entertainment in Medicine Hat.


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Long seen as a city that’s too often skipped by musicians, comedians and entertainers on the road, Medicine Hat venues are doing what they can to change that impression both in the city and out.

Top acts like Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Tom Cochrane played the Canalta Centre and the Esplanade continued its tradition of supplying a stage for musicians and comedians at all levels to ply their trade from the stage to the lobby. Less common venues like the Clarion Hotel and the MHC Eresman Theatre also open their doors to a wide array of entertainers.

All this in 2017 and Cirque du Soliel, Serena Ryder and Weird Al Yankovic already booked for 2018.

Original Recipe

Classic Albums Live made its Medicine Hat debut in January at the Esplanade, playing the “Led Zeppelin II” album note for note and cut for cut. The show was obviously a hit with the Medicine Hat crowd as later in the year Classic Albums Live booked three more shows at the Esplanade. The show returned with the Eagles’ “Hotel California” in November and will be back in January to perform the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and in March with Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours.”

Laugh It Up

Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy had the Canalta Centre crowd in stitches in March. The long-time friends and touring partners took the stage separately for their acts and then sat down to tell stories and take questions from the audience. If you want to know how the night went, Larry left the stage wearing fewer clothes than he started with.

Life is Still a highway

Just a few nights later Canadian musical icon Tom Cochrane tore the roof off the Canalta Centre. Performing hits from his near 40-year career as a solo artist and with Red Rider, Cochrane proved he can still rock with the best of them.

Dylan Cancels

This is one that didn’t happen. The legendary Bob Dylan was booked to play the Canalta Centre July 18 but fans were disappointed in mid-May when the show was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict, according to Canalta Centre officials.

Hot Summer Nights

The hot weather that hung over the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede in late July was matched only by the talent at the grandstand shows. 54/40, The Stampeders and Glass Tiger got things started July 26, Blue Rodeo performed July 27 and The Band Perry closed the week on July 29.

Nitty Gritty Times Two

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band brought their timeless music and performance to Medicine Hat in the fall. The band celebrated 50 years together with a retrospective album release and a tour. Demand was so high for the band’s stop in Medicine Hat that a second show was added.

Friends and Foes

Canadian comedians and best friends Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice brought their live Kenny vs. Spenny show to the city Nov. 18. Prior to the show Hotz said it might be the craziest show Medicine Hat had seen. By all accounts, Hotz was right.

Don’t Forget: Brent Butt, Monster Trucks, Big Wreck, Steve Patterson, Mini Pop Kids, Leahys, Steven Page, Oh What A Night, Frank Mills, Dean Brody/ Madeline Merlo, George Canyon, Twin Fiddle Express, JoJo Mason, Hunter Brothers, One Bad Son, Unforgettables, Beatlemania on Tour, Fred Eaglesmith, Michael Jackson HIStory, Melissa Etheridge, Kenny and Dolly Together Again, Garnet Rogers, The Comic Strippers, Caleb Hart, Almost Johnny Cash, Selfie, Burton Cummings, Glorious Sons, Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, Dallas Smith, Headstones, Donny Lee Honkytonk Experience, This Is That, Northern Pikes, Barenaked Ladies, Abbamania, Barra McNeils, MonkeyJunk, Ian Tyson, Ron James, William Prince, Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries, The Sundrops, Jann Arden, Oh What A Night, CP Holiday Train with Terri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott.

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