What compels you to go to concerts? A great album recording is one thing, a great performance is something totally different. It’s a communal experience with an audience, whether it be in a club, theatre, arena, stadium or festival. And seeing your favouite artists take your favourite songs to another level right there in that moment, putting that energy out there, it can be magic.
What’s your most memorable concert experience? That’s a tough one. The Stones at The Phoenix in front of 1,000 people (getting tickets to that one was a mission), Bonnaroo, Springsteen in New Jersey, Bjork at the Hall of Science in Queens, the last Tragically Hip show are some that come to mind.
Any interesting stories? A friend and I faked our way into Farm Aid as members of the media. That was years ago. Before the show we got to participate in the press conference with Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, and then VIP access. In 2017, I won tickets to see Tom Petty in Toronto. The day of the show, a tweet went out saying the first 5 people to make it down to Steve’s Music and play a Tom song on guitar would win a pair. I raced out of my condo, and luckily was the 4th person there. I played I Won’t Back Down, and got a pair to the show that night. It was the last time he ever played Toronto.
Coolest concert venue you’ve been to? I love visiting old, historic music venues. Massey Hall is very special to me, but to date I’d have to say Red Rocks in Colorado. It’s an incredible setting.
Do you collect memorabilia from music events? Actually, I’ve kept all of my ticket stubs since the beginning. So, there are a lot. And each ticket represents a story about the experience. I also love poster art, and there’s a wonderful history of concert posters. If there’s a cool poster specific to the show I’m at, sometimes I’ll buy one. One day I’ll have room to display them all.
Who have you seen the most times? Bob Dylan, Broken Social Scene, The Hip, Aerosmith, Wilco, but it’s 25 for Neil Young. It’s different and amazing each time. He’s got so many great songs. And he’s a guitar god. Few are as passionate, intense and in the moment as him.