TORONTO — Jack Johnson shared the stage with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on Wednesday night at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Ampitheatre for the second of four shows this week.
After a nine-song, hour-long opening set, Johnson invited ESMZ back on stage for his encore, calling the Zeros “one my favorite bands.” The two bands together performed covers the Beatles’ Rocky Raccoon and Bob Dylan’s I Shall Be Released, leaving the 16,000 fans wanting more.
The Zeros kicked off the night with Man on Fire (with frontman Alex Ebert dancing with fans in the first several rows) and ended with a rare encore, This Life.
Crash revved up the crowd with Motion Animal off his recently-released debut album, “Hardly Criminal.” That was followed by a version of I Don’t Wanna Pray that featured a riveting trumpet solo by Stewart Cole and a verse from guitarist Christian Letts. A young fan named Cameron then introduced himself, before wowing the crowd with his own verse during the song. “I love you guys,” Cameron told the band. “Thank you for what you do. Thank you.”
The night was not over for Cameron, who — along with his friend Michael — were invited back on stage to play the harmonica with the band during Janglin and All Wash Out.
“That was wonderful,” Ebert said. “It’s nice to share the stage with you guys.”
Ebert needed a little more help from the audience during Home, asking fans to sing Jade Castrinos’ lines in her absence.
“Let’s try acapella and if we blow it, I’ll just give you the mic,” Ebert said. “I’ll call out the first words…”
During Home, audience members shared a few of their own stories.
I’ve had the worst year of my life,” one young lady told the band, trying to hold back tears of joy. “I’m so happy to see you guys again. You are really by biggest inspiration. I love you guys so much, and I can’t even tell much it means to see you guys again…”
“I got pregnant to All Wash Out,” a young woman in the front row announced.
The final story came from a mother whose words were both inspirational and uplifting. “It’s kind of a sad one, but it has a great ending. My 18-month old had brain cancer, and she loves this band. All we listened to the whole time we were in the hospital was you guys, and she’s all better now, cured and no longer has cancer. We love you guys!”
Johnson, who is on tour in support of his sixth studio album, “From Here To Now To You,” performed his own version of Home — the last track off the new album. The Zeros will be back on stage with Johnson tonight in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and on Saturday in Chicago.
Man On Fire
40 Day Dream
I Don’t Wanna Pray
All Wash Out
*Rocky Raccoon (Beatles cover)
*I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan cover)
*with Jack Johnson
Photos by Michelle Adler