I attend a lot of events in my line of work, whether it’s a banquet, a school function, or a local theatre performance. I’m typically found at these kinds of things because it’s my job to cover them and give people a look at what’s going on in their community area, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a lot of them at the same time.
So I got thinking about some of the greatest live shows that I’ve ever seen, meaning when I was “off the clock” and it was for my own personal enjoyment. Whether it was music, sports, or even comedy, I think there is very little out there that can compare to being witness to a live show. Those experiences make us feel more alive and lift us up to a different level, even if it is just for a few hours.
A few of my favorite live experiences include these unforgettable dates in time:
‘Summersault’ Music Festival in August 2000: I was 14 years old and going to my first rock and roll concert. In this case, it was an outdoor festival-style event near Saskatchewan Place (before the greedy arena naming rights trend hit us) with a rotating lineup of bands, including Our Lady Peace, the Foo Fighters, and the Smashing Pumpkins. It got muddy, my group and I got even muddier, and I specifically remembering walking into an A&W restaurant afterward and seeing the eyebrows go straight up on the faces of the cashiers.
Pearl Jam in September 2005: I was 20 years old this time, and this experience was pretty special because Pearl Jam is my favorite band. The timing of it was sort of poetic too, because I was just days away from moving out to Victoria, BC. To see my favorite band live for the first time, shortly before I was set to move away from home to chase my then-dream at the time was a landmark occurrence in my life.
Craven Country Jamboree in July 2009: If you live in Saskatchewan, odds are that you’ve heard of Craven. And if you’re a hardcore country music fan who lives in the province, the odds are good that you’ve actually gone to Craven. This weekend in 2009 was my first – and last – experience at the yearly country music festival, and it was a blast seeing the likes of Clint Black live, but the topper was seeing The King himself, George Strait. It was an awesome atmosphere, and an unforgettable concert.
Jim Jefferies in August 2016: This one was just last summer, and I saw Jefferies – an Australian comedian – perform at TCU Place in Saskatoon. I also managed to snag a front row seat, which typically might not be where you want to be when you see a comedian performing live, but he’s also not the “Pick someone out and rib them for 20 minutes” type of performer. He’s definitely not a comedian for the whole family, as he works extremely “blue”, to use an old show-biz term, but he also raises some interesting points about daily life and pokes fun at the weird policies of any given country or nation. By the time I looked at my watch after he left the stage, two and a half hours had flown by. I was happy, but not as happy as when I actually met Jim behind the building after everyone had left.
WWE in February 2017: If you know me, you know I’m a die-hard wrestling fan. The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) had a tour stop in Saskatoon this past February, and the whole experience was fantastic. The large crowd (roughly 8,000) only added to the electricity of the matches, and it reminded me of why I love this “fake wrasslin’ stuff”. Call it fake all you want, because it’s a performance like any other TV show or movie. I prefer to call it “athletic theatre”. The cherry on top though? Cruising over to the Saskatoon airport and meeting a bunch of the wrestlers before they went to board their flight to California. In a word: unreal.
We all have those memorable shows that have stayed with us. And even with the world getting a little crazier and a little more unpredictable each day, there will be more times for us in the future that become near and dear to our hearts as we all try to enjoy this thing called “the human experience”.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.