On Tuesday night in Toronto Banks (legally known as Jillian Rose Banks), began her much anticipated III Tour. Coming off the release of her appropriately titled third album III, the songstress from California hosted her first headlining concert in two years at Toronto’s Rebel venue. Anyone whose been to Rebel before, knows there could not have been a more appropriate venue for an artist like Banks, who prioritizes the visual aspect of her show equally to the sonic experience.
In 2016, Rebel was renovated and rebranded as a nightclub instead of a grungy live music location. The venue’s new look is now similar to either the Millennium Falcon, or the spaceship that captured the Spice Girls in 1997’s Spice World. In other words, perfect for an alternative pop artist like Banks. Between lasers, strobe lights, artistic imagery and her fluent choreography, Banks and her two backup dancers created a beautiful visual experience, with seamless transitions from track to track.
She opened the show with “Till Now”, “Underdog” and “Stroke”. From there, fans got a little taste of nostalgia with “Drowning” and “Waiting Game”, the hit that moved her into the spotlight after it was featured in the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer. That is where the throwbacks ended, with the majority of the show focusing on her latest release, with the exception of a few tracks added from 2016’s The Alter.
During a momentary break she spoke to fans about the struggles of preparing for this tour. Just six weeks ago she fractured her spine, but miraculously recovered in time to begin life on the road. After her chat, seasoned concert goers would have picked up on some sound and microphone issues here, however it seems almost unfair to point out mechanical problems on the inaugural night of a tour.
After taking a break from touring and still recovering from her back injury, Banks couldn’t have expected to be perfect on night one. She might be classified as a singer, but as her fans know, Banks is an all-around performer who won’t settle for just standing in front of a microphone during her set.
The night ended abruptly with “The Fall” and “Gimme”, before she quickly ran off stage. Fans were stunned and confused as they waited for her to return with, what they were assuming to be an encore featuring, “Look What You’re Doing to Me” and mega-hit “Beggin For Thread”. It’s unknown if her sudden ending was due to the technical issues mentioned before, or her team’s unawareness of Rebel’s ultra-relaxed curfew policy, but regardless fans left on a high and wanting more (literally).
The show was a visual spectacle for the ages, turning even low quality iPhone photos into works of art. Fans were ultra pleased to see their Goddess back on stage, but for the average fan a few more heavy hitters would have been appreciated.