Toronto Rocks!
July 30, 2003 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Toronto is expecting 450,000 to attend today's Toronto Rocks SARS benefit concert with The Rolling Stones! AC/DC! Rush! Justin Timberlake! The Flaming Lips! Blue Rodeo! And more! CBC TV (2-hour TV special at 9pm ET), CBC Radio (12-hour webcast starting at 12pm ET), and MuchMoreMusic (12-hour TV coverage) will be broadcasting from the event. Are you attending the 'largest ticketed event in North American history'? Ever been to a mega-concert? Let's hear about it.
posted by stonerose (46 comments total)

 
I keep hearing it is the largest ticketed event in North America - but what events have been bigger?
posted by philfromhavelock at 7:05 AM on July 30, 2003


I still laugh every time CBC calls it the SARS Concert.

Godo thing they aren't doing a concert for the Black Plague.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:09 AM on July 30, 2003


philfromhavelock, Woodstock springs to mind, although, since it wasn't ticketed, there's no way to know how many people were there. Anyway, Toronto's Pride Parade attracted about a million attendees this year, so I would guess that dozens of events have been 'bigger' than SARSstock.
posted by stonerose at 7:14 AM on July 30, 2003


I'm gonna pass. The flaming lips will rock, but I have no interest in seing any of the other bands as they suck IMO, including the stones. Not worth all the effort to see 1 good band for 1/2 an hour.

The biggest concert/festival i've been to is Glastonbury, that's quite mega. But I generally dont like watching bands that are miles away from me, much prefer smaller venues.
posted by carfilhiot at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2003


I attended this year's Bonnaroo, as it was held in my hometown, Manchester, TN. Considering my reservations about attending a festival of 90,000+ people (primarily unwashed hippies), I had a really good time. Probably the best thing about the weekend was that I saw the Flaming Lips for the first time, which convinced me to finally buy a couple of their albums (one of which is playing as I type).
posted by UKnowForKids at 7:22 AM on July 30, 2003


Where are the Reostatics or the Tragically Hip? Other than Blue Rodeo, it's pretty lame Canadian Content. Who cares about Sass Jordan?
posted by batboy at 7:30 AM on July 30, 2003


the detroit electronic music festival has drawn over a million people every year - although that's over a 3 day span, and again it's not ticketed. the toronto SARS concert even made the news here in chicago, where they claimed it would be as historic a moment as woodstock or the monterrey pop festival. somehow I doubt that.
posted by chrisege at 7:31 AM on July 30, 2003


I'm leaving for this concert in a few hours, and I'm actually kind of nervous about it. I can't imagine what a crowd that big looks like.
posted by Badmichelle at 7:32 AM on July 30, 2003


Well according to CBC a few people have already collapsed from dehydration. I wonder how close the casualty total will get to Sars'..
posted by Space Coyote at 7:32 AM on July 30, 2003


$16us for that show is a pretty damn good price. I guess that's how they can bring in 400,000+ people.
posted by chrisege at 7:35 AM on July 30, 2003


A breakdown of the lineup and times they will be playing is found here (as well as what you can and cannot bring in).

Most of the early acts get 15-20 minutes, but the Stones get 1.5 hours.

And why the fuck does Dan Ackroyd get to appear TWICE?!
posted by grum@work at 7:39 AM on July 30, 2003


Wow, the Flaming Lips get all of a 15-minute set, five minutes less than Justin Timberlake and ten minutes less than the Guess Who. Craptacular.
posted by UKnowForKids at 7:43 AM on July 30, 2003


We already had the CanCon SARS concert at Skydome/ACC, featuring the Canadian acts-du-jour (Avril, Remy, Sam Roberts, etc), the Hip, Alanis M, Sarah McL, and so on. Sadly, no Rheostatics.

This show is meant to attract international (read: American) attention and tourist dollars. And traffic...cripes, is it ever bad this morning. Our office is empty, and we're in Mississauga!

I'll be watching on TV; I can't stomach the thought of being around that many people for a full day out in the hot sun. Not to mention the stringent rules for what you can bring into the show...anyone hear about the guy they caught trying to bury booze in the terrace a few nights ago?
posted by Succa at 7:59 AM on July 30, 2003


Justin who?
posted by the fire you left me at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2003


The real scandal about this concert -- detailed at my humble blog, amongst other places -- is the cash. The tix cost $21.50, and the princely sum of 50 cents -- which is about a penny and a half in Yank cash -- is going to health care workers, the supposed benefactors of this benefit.

Ticketmaster, on the other hand, is charging $4 a ticket and will make somewhere north of $1.8 million.

The Rolling Stones -- who have loudly proclaimed they're doing this show out of love of Hogtown -- will also have a multi-million dollar payday, partially courtesy of my federal government.

Yeah, 'cause Sir Mick and Keef really need the extra cash. Assholes.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2003


tv will have to do.

i think i smell sweat all the way from niagara.
posted by mrplab at 8:03 AM on July 30, 2003


Noticed Kathleen Edwards is on that list. She's definitely worth checking out. Writing songs about trying to stop your boyfriend from shooting someone or stealing a married boyfriend's watch. Definitely not the usual pop-fare.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2003


I saw Lala in Ames, IA one year. We brought my (then) 6 month old son, who got the molding ear plugs, and was happy for the attention.

RATM, Tool, Alice in Chains, and Primus...damn, that was a fine day for music.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:34 AM on July 30, 2003


Pretty sure I'd rather contract SARS than buy tickets to that crapfest (excluding Flaming Lips, of course).
posted by dhoyt at 8:37 AM on July 30, 2003


The Rolling Stones! AC/DC! Rush! Justin Timberlake! The Flaming Lips! Blue Rodeo!

With all these people be in the same room, won't Justin Timberlake simply explode due to the relative difference in artistic potential? Simple aesthetic physics, really....
posted by weston at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2003


I keep hearing it is the largest ticketed event in North America - but what events have been bigger?

Various Indianapolis 500's; they can commonly get to the general vicinity of a half-million.

Large air shows, but the big ones usually aren't ticketed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:40 AM on July 30, 2003


Kathleen Edwards is on that list. She's definitely worth checking out. Writing songs about trying to stop your boyfriend from shooting someone or stealing a married boyfriend's watch

Weird considering her father is Deputy Minister for International Trade with the federal government. Maybe she's rebelling against Dad! (although I've heard that he attends as many of her shows as he can)
posted by smcniven at 8:48 AM on July 30, 2003


Recently, I've been hoping that Justin Timberlake would be kidnapped by a gang of perverts. If AC/DC is there, it looks possible that I just might get my wish...
posted by COBRA! at 8:49 AM on July 30, 2003


Okay, so everybody thinks the line-up sucks. At the risk of being MeTa'd for steering my own thread... what would be your ideal superconcert line-up, assuming you wanted to attract a broad demographic?
posted by stonerose at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2003


Okay. I have to say this.

Yoshimi is a great album. I like alot of The Soft Bulletin.

But Wayne Coyne has one of the most grating voices I've ever heard and more than an hour's worth might send me into apoplectic shock.

... gotta go hide now ... must avoid possible tarring and feathering ...
posted by grabbingsand at 8:53 AM on July 30, 2003


And now I wish grabbingsand would be kidnapped by a gang of perverts.
posted by COBRA! at 8:54 AM on July 30, 2003


Great, the CBC has all the rights to webcast this concert, and they're doing it with Windows Media Player. Yay CBC, fools.
posted by lowlife at 9:03 AM on July 30, 2003


Accusations (possibly coming from me) that grabbingsand simply doesn't get Wayne Coyne and therefore can't fully appreciate his genius in 5...4...3...
posted by dhoyt at 9:07 AM on July 30, 2003


The stream "http://mfile.akamai.com/9617/live/reflector:23752.asx" works fine for me with MPlayer under Linux.
posted by LukeyBoy at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2003


<crusty old fart>
i have never understood this lemming-like urge to immerse oneself in a heaving sea of dangerous humanity, unable to even see the performers, in a venue where the production of any decent semblance of audio is simply not possible. on the scene, the only thing you'll be able to see are giant tv monitors, so you may as well watch from home. this hasn't much to do with "concert", and everything to do with being able to say "i was there".
</crusty old fart>
posted by quonsar at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2003


batboy: I think the Guess Who and Rush push the CanCon up to a pretty good amount. The thing that gets me is how old all of these bands are. The average age of the artists has to be around 50.

Friends from TO are bringing me the Sam Roberts CD to check out this weekend (I'm currently exiled in Chicago, not that there's anything wrong with that...) Anyone have any word on it?
posted by mzanatta at 9:27 AM on July 30, 2003


Various Indianapolis 500's; they can commonly get to the general vicinity of a half-million.

The seating capacity of Indianapolis Motor Speedway is roughly 285,000, though they don't release actual numbers. This year, incidentally, the Indy 500 failed to sell out for the first time since probably the depression, maybe before that. It definitely gets my vote for most tragically ruined sporting event.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:30 AM on July 30, 2003


I've been amazed that this thing ever made it past the brainstorming session. How does paying out millions - some from government funds - to popular culture's most faithful representation of the walking dead help any population get over the stigma of a deadly contagious disease?

Of course, it's the project of MP Dennis Mills, whose last great cause was to use taxpayer dollars to top up the salaries of millionaire hockey players.

At least the Tiger Woods, Mike Weir, Annika Sorenstam, Laurie Kane matchplay event for SARS seems to have fallen victim to second thought.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:39 AM on July 30, 2003


i have never understood this lemming-like urge to immerse oneself in a heaving sea of dangerous humanity, unable to even see the performers, in a venue where the production of any decent semblance of audio is simply not possible.

You might meet a chick and get laid. Duh. And you'd be a total fucking conformist loser if you don't do what all your friends are doing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:52 AM on July 30, 2003


The seating capacity of Indianapolis Motor Speedway is roughly 285,000, though they don't release actual numbers.

My bad. The half-million attendance reports must be for the whole weekend or summat.

This year, incidentally, the Indy 500 failed to sell out for the first time since probably the depression, maybe before that. It definitely gets my vote for most tragically ruined sporting event.

The IRL and Tony George are hamster-dancing squid-fondling perverts, and not the good kind. Which isn't to say that CART is a whole lot better, but at least they know how to turn right from time to time.

It would be cool if the various racing orgs could cooperate enough to keep US Memorial Day weekend clear, so's everyone can compete in the 500. Especially F1 drivers. Schumacher and Paul Tracy on the same track... that'd be a hoot until the second or third turn, when they'd take each other out.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:57 AM on July 30, 2003


Well... so much for a "Live" webcast... All they're showing is a Stones biography with commercials for the primetime TV and radio broadcasts tonight.

Somebody call the CRTC.
posted by steveb at 10:02 AM on July 30, 2003


People were still lined up at ticketmaster down at Yonge and Bloor (the middle of the city, where as downsview is northwest) when i went out to get my lunch half an hour ago.

My sweetie, after much internal debate, is at the show now. I wimped out cuz it just seemed like too many people (and we just bought a house and I wanted to save the vacation day for it's closing day). i also only really wanted to be there for the flaming lips (and rush and ac/dc i suppose, but obviously it wasn't a priority.) A lot of people I've talked to have said "I'm just going for the experience." I'm intrigued about what they'll think of the less well-known acts - that is, if they can even hear them. As for me, I'm too young to remember when the Rolling Stones didn't seem like parodies of themselves. That said, it looks like they put on quite a show, so all the power to 'em.
posted by melissa at 10:32 AM on July 30, 2003


The 2nd Atlanta Pop Festival near Macon, GA in summer of 1970 had around 1/2 million and some real bands, including one of Jimi Hendrix's last performances shortly before he died in September.
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:34 AM on July 30, 2003



The IRL and Tony George are hamster-dancing squid-fondling perverts, and not the good kind. Which isn't to say that CART is a whole lot better, but at least they know how to turn right from time to time.

It would be cool if the various racing orgs could cooperate enough to keep US Memorial Day weekend clear, so's everyone can compete in the 500. Especially F1 drivers. Schumacher and Paul Tracy on the same track... that'd be a hoot until the second or third turn, when they'd take each other out.


Apologies to everyone else for teh blatent OT, but I agree totally.

My disilusionment over the actions of the leadership of IMS and the greedy car owners who used to control CART means that I kind of lost any desire to see the Indy 500 return to its former glory, especially now that said greedy car owners have hopped into bed with Tony and crew. But the fact remains, until the best in the world come back to Indy, it'll be just another IRL race.

I just hope CART survives because I prefer road racig and those IRL cars are fugly and sound awful :)
posted by Space Coyote at 11:25 AM on July 30, 2003


Though weirdly back on topic, the Molson Indy Toronto 2 weeks ago attracted nearly half as many people as this concert, who will have stayed longer and spent more money, and Molson's was footing a greater portion of the bill.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:34 AM on July 30, 2003


How does paying out millions - some from government funds - to popular culture's most faithful representation of the walking dead help any population get over the stigma of a deadly contagious disease?

The idea (that 400,000+ people can get together without the fear of SARS running rampant through the crowd and killing a bunch of them) is important. If the rest of the world sees that everyone can congregate like that, then maybe they won't be scared off about visiting the city in the future. The tourism trade in Toronto has completely dried up. Like Sahara desert dry.

This is strictly a "Look! Everything is okay!" moment for Toronto (and tangently, the province of Ontario and the whole nation of Canada).

Personally, I thought the benefit concerts at the ACC/SkyDome with all Canadian talent from last month was the big shindig to raise money for the nurses. I thought this one was strictly for getting Toronto's profile on the good side.
posted by grum@work at 1:57 PM on July 30, 2003


Plus they are feeding 'em tons 'o Alberta Beef.

100k steaks, and 40k of sausages.... mmmmm beef! its' whats for dinner....

(Chuckle - one of the worst images/spokespersons I've seen to date talking about how eating Alberta beef is perfectly safe is our Albertan premier.... He would be the last person *I* would interview eating beef, describing how his mind hasn't been affected at all....)
posted by jkaczor at 2:33 PM on July 30, 2003


grabbingsand simply doesn't get Wayne Coyne and therefore can't fully appreciate his genius.
posted by UKnowForKids at 2:55 PM on July 30, 2003


I just got back. That's a lot of people.

Wayne Coyne is truly a genius. Who only got to sing for about 15-20 minutes.
posted by websavvy at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2003


I'm too young to remember when the Rolling Stones didn't seem like parodies of themselves.

there never was such a time, and i remember them on ed friggin' sullivan...
posted by quonsar at 3:19 PM on July 30, 2003


quonsar:

I went because I got to take a day off work to sit in a big field listening to good music, and I got to dance with my friends to the Stones while the sun was going down..that's good enough for my $20. Yep, the lineups were long. So what? And you're right, it's nice to be able to say I was there and experienced it.

mzanatta - I enjoy Sam Roberts alot. Straightforward rock, but upbeat and energetic.
posted by Adam_S at 9:51 AM on July 31, 2003


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