[I was asked to write this for Postmedia. -AC]
In the Before Times, our social calendars were filled with concerts and festivals.
It’ll be that way again someday — we hope — but until such time, we have memories of gigs past. Here are 10 famous and infamous music events from the GTA over the last 70 years.
1. Elvis Presley, Maple Leaf Gardens, April 2, 1957.
Because Elvis’ manager/controller Colonel Tom Parker had passport issues (he allegedly killed a man in his native Holland under his real name Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk), Elvis played just five shows outside the U.S. Two of them were at Maple Leaf Gardens, thanks to the effort of Leaside’s Carol Vanderleck, who collected a 2,443-signature petition to bring Elvis to the city. Top price for a ticket was $3.50, the equivalent of $32 today.
2. The Beatles, Maple Leaf Gardens, August 17, 1966
The Beatles’ final tour featured a matinee and evening performance at MLG, with one of their trademark press conferences in between at the King Edward Hotel. The entire time, they were protected by a by-the-book constable from the Aurora OPP detachment. Lore says that the band managed to charm this guy into submission over their 24 hours today. His name was Sergeant Robert Pepper. You don’t think that…?
3. Rock n Roll Revival, Varsity Station, September 13, 1969
Facing a financial disaster, promoter John Brower placed a desperate last-second phone call to Apple Corps in London hoping to convince a Beatle to appear at the show. John Lennon happened to be in the office at the time and agreed to hastily put together a band and fly over. He enjoyed the experience so much — his first-ever solo show outside The Beatles — that this gig seems to have convinced him that he could exist without his bandmates. Legend also says that the practice of holding up a lighter at a concert began here.
Read the rest here.