Sun, Hail, and Food: Your Average Concert in July

by Carey Rutherford

It’s a tough job, I know, but somebody’s . . . . got . . . to . . . (eerrrggghhh!!! Uuugggghhh!!!! ) to do . . . . (aaaagggghhhh!!) it. . . . (eerrrrrrrgg).

Got it! Whew! Yep, tough work, all this music listening. I mean, who among you would sacrifice your quietude and evenings of ‘reality’ television to go and take in, well, live music?

Who?!?

During the Stampede one really has to gird their loins and head out into the melee. Fortunately my daughter, nearly my size now (and, by her own account, considerably smarter), is up to taking some of it in. In fact, her choice was to see what the Stereos and Faber Drive were like on the Coke Stage.

Nighttime midway long shot with Ferris Wheel blurred in motion
The Stampede Midway at night is a splendour as great as anything in the day. Image courtesy of the Calgary Stampede.

Did you go? Did you listen to me? Nnnooooo, I think not, and you missed a dancing, screaming, occasionally profane crowd of teens celebrating many current radio hits as one. Some weaker-kneed among you would say “Great! Dodged that bullet!” but it was fun. Really. You remember, don’t you?

In the big picture, I’d have to say that the Stereos won that duel, just seeming a little more cohesive, more tuned-up, for their set. Faber Drive was no slouch, and some of their tunes definitely rang the crowd’s bell. My daughter disagrees with me, but what does she know? Kids lol.

Actually, with the rain and hail delaying the start of their sets, and the squeegeeing that had to happen onstage before the Stampede would allow things to be plugged in, any performance was a delight.

In a different crowd, one allowed to drink beer and wear cowboy hats without baring their midriff. April Wine, 3 Doors Down and Lynyrd Skynyrd played the Stampede Roundup.

“Calgary’s largest private Stampede charity fundraiser,” which, in it’s 15th year, will invest “100% of the proceeds from this event back into the local community, (especially) the Rotary/Flames House (a children’s hospice).”

How is this done? 500 Rotary Club volunteers cook beef, heat beans, and chill beer near the Fort Calgary stage, and then thousands of corporate employees who have booked time off, bought tickets, and paid for their own drinks watch as April Wine takes the stage and KICKS ASS!!!

Man's back and cowboy hat, facing towards rodeo grounds
Getting ready for the ride of your life takes some thought, likely. Image courtesy of the Calgary Stampede.

How can they still play that well? They mention one of the songs is from 1971: I was only six years old!! There’s a few high notes that can’t be sung anymore, but the drums and guitars are wielded with the authority of Canadian originals. Personally, I preferred them to 3 Doors Down. 3 Doors was good, but April Wine seemed to be more connected to their songs; amazing after 41 years. Aren’t they tired yet?

Lynyrd Skynyrd. With only one member from it’s original lineup, milking the memory of it’s classic rock legacy . . . I was cynical.

They rocked the socks off of the photographer after I went home. Rats! Should’ve stayed!

Many thanks to the Rotary Club of Calgary for our press access.

Author: Allen Thai

Allen has always been a fan of writing. Specifically non-fiction. But he didn’t start off being a good writer by simply just “wishing to be one”. Nope. He took the initiative to get schooled at the prestigious University Of Calgary, attaining a Bachelor of Communications. Not, however, before getting a high school diploma through a great amount of summer courses to make it possible. Afterwards he turned his attention to SAIT, something that he thought could benefit and tune his writing ability: he was dead wrong. Digital Graphic Communications did not focus on any writing whatsoever (that was Journalism). It moreso was about printing and press. So from the beginnings of picking up a novel at age 8, to now writing for MUSICAlive!, Allen carries through the same passion and grit, to succeed and excel in anything he does. And not to mention his physical appearance is as pleasing to look at as the David was, artistically/aesthetically sculpted by the great Michaelangelo. (That was a joke btw: LOL!)