Jim Cuddy had his arm around me. Jim Cuddy had his arm around me, and I managed to remain calm and collected. Important to also note I had not planned to be in a picture with Cuddy, and the rest of the iconic musical entourage that is Blue Rodeo.
I’d already been running around all day, at other events. Standing, silently, fangirling with Cuddy’s arm around me, I realized I was uncharacteristically sweaty, and likely smelled a little of dog, as I had just come from an expedited trip to the park with all three.
But, I just can’t care. Jim Cuddy had his darn arm around me, and is super nice to boot.
This weekend, the Garcelon Civic Center was host not only to several great local, and Maritime artists, but Canada’s very own Blue Rodeo played an unprecedented concert.
I had a sneak preview of how things looked on Friday evening, when I picked up my media passes, and without lights, music, or people, the place looked great.
Admittedly, I wondered about how it would be in there – having never seen it set for any type of entertainment, and I did wonder how it would all pan out.
So, let me say now, for the record, it looked fantastic. The set up, the sound – all of it made for a fantastic evening.
And I want to take a minute to applaud the efforts of all those involved. Putting on this concert was nothing short of the ‘It takes a village’ approach, and countless hours of time, blood, sweat, and tears went into making the night, what by all accounts, a raging success.
And it wasn’t just the town, or civic centre employees who carried the can. Walking around on Saturday, there were Aces players helping with security, along with members of the St. Stephen Fire Department. Volunteers helped as ‘event staff’, offering a helping hand wherever needed. They took tickets, ran with cases of water, and made sure I didn’t fall on my arse, as I limped, badly, along in the dark. (Don’t think I didn’t appreciate it, flashlight dude).
There were near as makes no difference to 1600 people in the civic centre Saturday night, and everything was, at least on the surface, smooth. Food and drinks were plenty, seating was good, and the sound was great.
There’s the additional kudos moment. The sound panels. Some may have scoffed at the need for the panels, and their expense, but the sound quality in the arena is tangibly improved.
And it won’t just be for concerts – the announcing at Aces games should improve as well – to the point we may actually make out what’s being said.
And I know there were tense moments along the way, worrying about ticket sales, but that’s normal in the concert industry. It’s not over until the last encore. Listening to council members at last night’s meeting, the event was, by everyone’s account, a huge success.
Further kudos go to staff, who managed to tear down the stage and all vestiges of the concert, and the Zamboni was seen perfecting the ice by noon Sunday. No small feat, and one to be appreciated.
And I can only hope this is just the beginning for events of this ilk at the civic centre. The potential of the building was evident on Saturday night, and although exhausted staff and volunteers likely don’t want to hear this right now, as they try and recover from their Herculean efforts of staging this event, my sincere hope is that Blue Rodeo was just the beginning for the Garcelon.
If we can competently host them, as the first major concert held at the centre, then honestly, the sky really is the limit. From popular Canadian artists like Jann Arden, to the ever popular Rick Mercer, and then thinking big along the Carrie Underwood (c’mon-we can do it) line, the list of possibles is effectively endless.
But, until then, let’s all take a moment to commend the staff and volunteers for a job amazingly well done, and tip our hats to a great night had by all.