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Massey Hall has been getting some mixed reviews on the Bruce Cockburn thread. So, I thought I'd start a separate thread here for Great (& not so great) Concert Venues you know (or have known). There are so many good places to hear music now adays. Years ago that wasn't the case. Maple flop Gardens has to be right up there the worst of the worst from back then. Although I saw many top bands there over the decades as it was the only place that would hold the huge crowds. I think my favourite was the old Ontario Place Forum. Of all the shows, (music, comedy and everything in-between) I saw there, the Lighthouse reunion concert has got to be my favourite. I think that was the summer of '82? The wife and I dropped off the kids at my parents and rode my '82 Suzuki GS750 into the city. It was a gorgeous, warm, star filled Saturday night. They filmed the show and later in the fall we got to watch and relive the whole experience again. (I'm going to have to see if it's available on DVD now.)
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I think that the greatest venues these days are the dozens of small town theatres that have been restored and are once again offering a wide variety of entertainment. The Empire Theatre here in Belleville is one such place. They show movies, old, newer first runs and artsy stuff. Even some of dem dar furin ones wit da sub-titles. They also have live shows and host some fantastic concerts. Bachman, Cockburn, Vinelli, The White, the list goes on and on. ** Rumour has it that even Alice Cooper will play there this fall.** The up side of these small older theatres is their fabulous acoustics and close intimate seating.
What do you think?
 

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Alice will be here in Kingston on Oct 16th so I guess a show in Belleville would make sense. Best shows I have ever heard were both in the Civic Centre in Ottawa, Pink Floyd in the arena in 77 (I think) and George Thoroughgood in the salon in 79. George played for 3 hours straight with no warm up band...great show.
 

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I've never been to Massey Hall, actually. I'd like to see a show there. Glenn Gould called it "one of the great acoustical properties of the continent.", although that's only part of what makes a good venue.

Anyways, I can only speak about Calgary. Jack Singer Concert Hall and Jubilee Auditorium are my favourites. Both exceptional IMO. The Saddledome is mediocre. After all, it's a hockey arena.
 

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...i'm a huge fan of club 279 at yonge and dundas, above the hard rock cafe. manager randy charlton has somehow managed to carry over the same ambience that made rock n roll heaven (yonge/bloor) an ideal place to see your heroes perform.

like rock n roll heaven, this is a venue where you can work your way right up to the front of the stage and study the guitar players pedal settings!

-dh
 

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I couldn't agree more with the positive comment on Massey Hall in Toronto. I have fond recollections of Peter Gabriel performing during his tour to support his first solo album, along with other acts I've heard there.

The acoustics are warm, clear and not the "concert in a tin can" we get at places like the Air Canada Centre. I was a sponsor's guest at the Clapton show a couple of years ago, therefore had good seats, and the sound still sucked. And it was so loud you couldn't distinguish lyrics. I think I understand most of the dynamics of putting on a rock show, but do the artists and sound crew really think "the vibe" of extreme volumes are preferable to being able to make out individual instrument parts? At Santana's show at the Molson ampitheatre last summer, you couldn't follow Carlos' playing (seats were OK but not great).

Sorry to hijack the topic - I don't recall such problems at smaller venues like MH.

Brian
 

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I have grown out of the arena rock thing. Long time ago actually. I stick to the theater sized venues whenever possible. I have seen tons of shows at Massey Hall and love the place. About the only bad seats in there are the far left or right floor seats.

There are also a lot of clubs in TO that are great for shows. Of course you limit yourself to what acts you are going to see, but I just can't get into the giant venues anymore. I will go to the Molson Amphitheatre under two conditions. I get something in the first 20 rows and it's on a Saturday night so I can take the boat over and spend the night at Ontario Place. I love just strolling back to the marina after the show and not having to worry about getting out of there. Especially if it's a sold out show. Killer traffic.

The casino in Niagara Falls is finally getting some decent acts in there and that is great for us... 15 minutes away and no traffic getting out. It's about 1200 seats I think and very nice for concerts.
 

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Rockheads Paradise in Montreal was a really cool place.

As was the The Rising Sun and The Esquire Show Bar.

All gone
 

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Masey Hall was always a great venue, saw some great shows back in the 70's . also the Theatre St Denis and Place des Arts in Montreal.
As far as clubs go The spectrum in Montreal was top notch (is it still called that?)
But nowadays I'm much more into the smaller clubs as most geezers are.
The black Sheep Inn in Wakefield QC is one of the coolest spots in this area. Very popular with the artists also . Small funky club on the river about 30 minutes north of Ottawa , but you can hear a pin drop once the artist starts . I guess that's more a comment on the patrons than the room though , but a great place to catch a solo or small group . They have a good website also .

www.theblacksheepinn.com
 

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Awesome thread, with a list of amazing venues. Massey Hall is a beautiful venue, and I was lucky enough to perform there and see a number of amazing bands there. A very special place when it's sold out.
For that intimate feel, I had an attachment to Lee's Palace, both as a place to gig and a place to see fantastic big name artists.
Interesting point, David... a venue can definitely have its reputation helped or hurt by the "face" of the venue. In my own experience, dealing with Randy Charlton may have been the worst experience I've ever had with anyone in the music industry. When you're dealing with the "face" of a venue, you hardly want to deal with someone who is more interested in trying to be clever than actually helpful on any level. Unfortunate, because tarnishing the venue's reputation also tarnished the reputation of the late, great Jeff Healey.
For a very intimate space, I know Clinton's has been fantastic for years when it comes to helping artists and featuring non-mainstream types of music/acts.
 

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Imperial Theater in Saint John has been said by artists using it to be one of the best in Canada. And Harbour Station (home of the soon to be Memorial Cup champion Sea Dogs) is one of the best arenas in Canada, which is why little old Saint John has seen so many big name acts appearing there. Our old LBR arena might be the worst venue in the country...rumour has it if you listen closely you can still hear old BTO tunes echoing quietly in some spots.
 
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