Whatever happened to …

… concert going?

Facebook is great at preserving memories. I got reminded of a concert this morning from November 20, 2010, that my wife and I attended at Caesars Windsor.

No photo description available.
No photo description available.

Live concerts have always been a thing for a night out for us. Many were attended in high school – I was actually dance co-ordinator one year, at university, at the Aud in Kitchener, at CNE Stadium, at Casino Rama, and most recently Caesars Windsor opened a terrific concert space, The Colosseum, and we’ve seen so many there.

Above are pictures taken during a Montgomery Gentry concert. In the beginning, we were able to get tickets very close to the stage. That became more and more difficult and these were well back! The audio was still great though, as you would expect from a modern concert hall.

Of course, we know that recently concert venues have been closed due to COVID concerns. One of the frustrating things about living close to the Canada/United States border is seeing how much quicker things are opening over there – the Rolling Stones played this past week at Ford Field.

Things are looking promising for concertgoers on this side of the border. Alice Cooper is playing at the Colosseum in the new year.

That’s our topic for this Sunday. Not Alice Cooper, but the concept of concert-going.

So, what are your thoughts?

  • Are you a concertgoer?
  • What was the first concert you attended?
  • What was the best concert you attended?
  • If your local entertainment place opened with a concert now, would you go? If not now, when?
  • Concert venues are big expensive places. Who has been paying the bills during the lockdown?
  • Have you watched a concert live on streaming media during the lockdown? Is it the same?

I’d be interested in your thoughts? Please share them in the comments below.

This is part of a regular Sunday morning series of posts. They’re all available to revisit here.

If you have an idea for a future post, reach out to me or leave your idea in this Padlet.


6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Hi Doug!

    What a great topic! My friends and I really miss going to concerts (apart from travelling). We always organise which concerst we will go to every year – our last one was a few years ago, when we went to a country music festival in Gstaad (it was my first time there). We saw Brett Eldredge (one of my favourite singers), Diamond Rio and LeeAnne Womack – we had a super time! We have also seen Bryan Adams, Sting, and Depeche Mode too. I think the best one is hard to choose among these ones : )

    I think that concerts will start here soon, but I am still worried to go – we were talking about this with my friends and we are not sure when we will feel safe again to go.

    I hope one day we can attend again safely!

    Have a great Sunday,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Doug, I’ve never really been one for going to concerts. The crowds coupled with the loud music are not really my thing. But right now, I’m even more reluctant to go. We heard about how troublesome singing was inside. Now with concerts, there’s singing, shouting, and crowds. Is this a concern though if you’re vaccinated? This has been my biggest question recently. I wonder how many of my concerns are founded, or just a result of being so careful for so long, and now, scared to change.


    Liked by 3 people

  3. Good morning Doug!

    I guess, over the years, I have been a concert goer. I think it depends upon your proximity to availabile venues, and the a selection of musicians/shows which might tour into the venue. Depending upon the location, and mobility to attend, I certainly have attended some interesting concerts.

    Way back during high school, I would have attended the local Summerfolk Folk Festival in Owen Sound. I had friends who played in bands who were either performing on one of the stages, or working behind the scenes as stage crew. I also had an opportunity to perform over several years on the stage in the Children’s Area when I was doing magic shows. The Summerfolk event grew to be one of the most successful annual folk concerts in Canada, operated by a volunteer board, and drawing in thousands of folks over the three days, together with amazing food, artisans, and touring musicians. I’m sure Covid has had an impact, but it looks as though there was an event this past summer, and plans are underway for the 47th Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in August, 2022.

    Probably the first large concert I went to on my own would have been The Police Picnic at the CNE grounds in 1982. Opening acts (reminded now Wikipedia) included Oingo Boingo, The Spoons, A Flock of Seagulls, the English Beat, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Talking Heads. I would have to Google Oingo Boingo to see what it is they might have played, but all of the other bands are memorable and I could name hit songs that each of them would have had on the charts at the time.

    Before I list a few bands that would have been performing in Toronto while I was in university there, I should mention that during the same time we would typically take a pilgrimage to Stratford each summer to taking a Shakespeare play along with one of the Gilbert and Sullivan musicals. The Stratford Festival had a considerable repertory cast for a number of years there that allowed them to put on a different Gilbert and Sullivan musical each year. I have fond memories of The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, The Gondoliers. My high school had performed H.M.S. Pinafore toward the end of my time there, and coupled with the annual school trips to Stratford to take in Shakespearean plays, those habits continued to influence some of the “concert” experiences while I was in Toronto. I know I also came close to treading the boards in Stratford one summer as the local recreation association hosted me to present for their summer day camps and the event was held either in/in an annex adjacent to the Third stage.

    However, returning to actual “concerts,“ I would have attended a number of events in Toronto in the early 80s – – Genesis, Chris de Burgh, Kim Mitchell/Max Webster, Andreas Vollenweider, Johnny Clegg with Juluka/Savuka, Saga, Peter Gabriel. Some of the events were in Maple Leaf Gardens, some were in (old) Massey Hall, some at the CNE. Later, when I was working at the Science Center, we had a reciprocal agreement with the ROM and Ontario Place that allowed us free entry, and so there were many evenings when we would head down to the waterfront to take in the concerts at the Forum at Ontario Place – – The Nylons were a mainstay performance there at the time. Although it’s not quite a “concert,“ a similar summer favourite at the time was The Dream in High Park, where Shakespeare was presented outdoors under the stars.

    Moving out of Toronto decreased access to concerts – – I also recall realizing when my music tastes started to become detached from peer culture. When you hang around with people your own age in high school and university, there is a synergy that puts you in sync with the emerging musical styles of your generation. When I started to work as a teacher, suddenly the dominance of that age-based culture became significantly diluted — and it didn’t help that the local radio station seemed to be stuck playing the greatest classic hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Certainly a lot of my favourite musical artists are groups that I was introduced to when I was at university in Toronto, and after that it became a bit more difficult to keep track of the emerging trends and find new artists. ( Did I respond to your cattle post last week? It turns out the company that handled K-Tel morphed into the company that did the Big Shiny Tunes and the Dance Music/Much Dance compilation CDs that started up in the late 90s and early 00’s. Without a favourite local radio station pushing new music out at me, those compilation CDs are what kept me somewhat in touch with emerging music before iTunes/Internet radio streaming came online.

    A number of years back a local real estate developer purchased the former downtown cinema — it was actually the home to a local sports/bicycle store for at least the first 10 years I lived in Belleville – – and he restored it back to a live performance theatre while simultaneously developing other properties in the downtown core. With the revitalization of the Empire Theater, it has been possible to take in a few big-name acts here in Belleville – Randy Bachman, Eric Idle (granted, that’s Monty Python, but there was some singing!) and wonderfully, Steve Hackett (former guitarist with Genesis) which I had a chance to enjoy with my two sons. In recent years, we have travelled to the Bell Centre in Montreal to hear Sting and Peter Gabriel, and my eldest and I also took in Sting’s musical, The Last Ship, when it played at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto in 2019.

    For the most part, to take in a favourite big name artist at a live concert these days, you need to fork over big bucks and travel to a venue that is big enough to host them. There’s no doubt that it incurs a significant expense in money and time – – but, for the artists that you really enjoy, no amount of live streaming/video/MP3s can come close to touching the experience you get when you are live in the audience for a couple of hours with someone who’s music you really enjoy. When you add in the company of those you go with, and the pre-/post show food ritual, it really still does make for an exciting time!

    Having said that, I don’t know when it might be before I will be able to attend another concert – – Covid still seems to be exerting its influence.

    However, one day …


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