Toronto Mike

Bands at the Grandstand - Tales From The Ex

During the 125th Canadian National Exhibition, I'm sharing stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant.  Below is one of many.

Working at the CNE you could always expect a concert crowd before and after that night's show at Exhibition Stadium.  The concert ticket got you into the Ex for free so concert goers would often arrive early to play games on the midway and would do the same on their way out.

Me in 1989 working Pop-A-Ball at the CNE

These concerts produced much of the clientele for the evening.  The sort of crowd we got depended upon the style of music being performed that night.  When Motorhead and other metal acts played, it was a typical head banger crowd with lots of leather and those classic rock tee shirts with the white sleeves and black chest.  When the Cure played it was a sea of black.  A band like YES (or Emerson, Lake and Palmer as the case may be) brought out the middle aged crowd.  For the record, the big spenders were the Rolling Stones fans there to catch the Steel Wheels tour.  There were many, they were a variety of ages and they seemed to always have a lot of cash.

There was a spot I would visit when acts I liked were performing where I could comfortably chill and hear the concert.  I couldn't see the stage, but I was close enough that it sounded great.  I have fond memories of taking a couple of hours off on a busy night to hear the entire Alice Cooper set.  I wasn't quite eighteen but I liked it.

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