So, my friend and I went to Toronto to see Genesis on their promotional tour of “Abacab” in the summer of 1981 – luckily, my best friend and her boyfriend lived in TO, and were able to meet us and guide us through the massive transit system to our destination at Exhibition Place. I remember the concert ticket price being $30…a fortune at that time (I was making $3.00/hour at the camera shop). The only things I really remember about that concert was the crowd (40,000 strong), the noise, and seeing how tiny Phil Collins looked from the nosebleed seats!
I was still keeping the record store busy – in addition to Genesis, I was heavily into Fleetwood Mac, Bryan Adams, Chicago, Hall and Oates, Dan Fogelberg, the Steve Miller Band, and Olivia Newton John. I dabbled in R & B – the Pointer Sisters, the Commodores, the Jacksons, and Stevie Wonder. I bought Rick Springfield’s album because he was cute, and I liked “Jesse’s Girl.” A boyfriend introduced me to Steve Winwood’s music – whenever I hear “While You See A Chance,” I always think of him.
When I went back in school in 1982, my musical tastes expanded further. My Broadcast Journalism class used to party with the Radio Broadcasting kids – they played all the best music at their shindigs! While continuing my love affair with the Police (“Roxanne” never fails to take me back to my college days), I discovered rockabilly with the Stray Cats! I love dancing to rockabilly music! Men at Work from Australia was a favourite, as well as the J. Geils Band, and Joan Jett. I remember one of the radio guys being enamoured with the Clash, and one of my classmates, who loved everything Devo. I saw Murray McLaughlan for the first time at a Loyalist College “Pub”, and Maritimer Matt Minglewood too (my boyfriend spent most of that pub in the washroom – he had eaten some bad hamburger for supper!). Local Belleville acts played as well: Lee Aaron, and Bentwood Rocker.
In late 1983, my boyfriend (later husband, later ex) got a job at a brand new country radio station in St. John’s, Newfoundland – I really didn’t enjoy country music at the time, but I soon got to like what was called “New Country.” We moved to Moncton, New Brunswick in 1984, where he was music director for another country station. One of the perks of being in radio is getting free tickets: the first concert we saw in Moncton was Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. What a show that was! In the 12 years we lived there, we also saw Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Alabama (twice), the Rankin Family (Anna, who was two at the time, slept through their concert!), Prairie Oyster, Michelle Wright, Terri Clark, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Jason McCoy, Paul Brandt, George Fox, Dwight Yoakam, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire. We got to go backstage and meet several of the performers: everyone was really nice!
My husband would also bring music home from work - since he worked in radio, we never had the radio on when he was home. I would listen to tapes or albums instead. One CD he brought home was John Hiatt – I absolutely love him! Another one I still play is a tribute to Neil Young – his songs being played by various Canadian bands. I discovered some amazing Canadian musicians who I probably wouldn’t have run into, like Cassandra Vasik and Jim Witter. By attending events such as the East Coast Music Awards, I started being exposed to many of the very talented regional acts in the Maritimes: Melanie Doane, Rob Thomas, Ron Hynes, Barachois, and Gordie Sampson.
After my marriage broke up, I moved to Saint John in 1997. A friend turned me on to CBC Radio One, which played a lot of Maritime artists: Modabo, Hot Toddy, Madrigal, Charlie A’Court, John Campbelljohn (excellent steel guitar player), Rawlins Cross, Vetch, and Isaac and Blewett. We saw Isaac and Blewett at the Saint John Arts Centre one time. They performed on folding chairs set up on a small riser (about 6 inches tall). During the break, Jim Blewett’s chair leg slipped off the riser, and he sunk to the floor (he wasn’t hurt). Upon Tim’s return from the lobby, Jim related the story of his misfortune: “I fell off my chair, man…” (Jim really talks like that!). Tim’s deadpan response was, “Guitar okay?”
The Saint John Jazz and Blues Festival introduced me to many of the above artists, and other greats such as Matt Andersen (I thought his head would bounce right off his shoulders!), J.P. LeBlanc (one amazing guitar-playing kid!) and Fred Eaglesmith. At home, I used to put a CD in my kids’ ghetto blaster in the kitchen, and rock out while I did my Sunday cooking/chores!
Jim and I have revisited our seventies roots twice in the last couple of months at tribute concerts: one of Supertramp, and one of Queen, Jim’s favourite band of all time! It was fun to see him singing along with all the songs…
Last Saturday night, Jim and I attended a Rose Cousins/David Myles concert at the Imperial Theatre. Both are very talented and personable singer/songwriters. It’s obvious that they love what they do. I realized that I really haven’t taken enough time to enjoy music in the last couple of years – I have been too busy with “busyness” (and being bombarded by our teenagers’ “music” – Lady Gaga and her ilk!). I have resolved to make time for music in my life again…I need it!