090989 Roman Grey/Medusas Raft, Ottawa, ON

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This show on September 9th, 1989 is notable for many reasons.  First, it was the first show I attended after making what was probably the most significant move of my life, from Moncton to Ottawa where I planned to spend the next four years attending Carleton University.

(I did, in fact, attend Carleton for significantly more than four years [though I did end up with two degrees more than I intended] and despite all my plans and visions I find myself still living in our nation’s capitol.)

Second, it was my introduction to the university concert experience.  Not only was I in a new city comparatively littered with live music options, I was about to discover that my very own campus would itself play host to an array of concerts.  Heck, this show was put on by the residence association in the Fenn Lounge, right underneath the cafeteria where I chocked back absurdly bad food twice a day.  I could have gone to the show in my housecoat.

I didn’t, but easy access had me at the concert from start to finish.  I remember watching the opening band – Medusa’s Raft – with starstruck awe.  It never once occurred to me that they were a local band happy to play for the exposure and a bucket of beers, but in retrospect that was almost certainly the case.  

Funny, in my mind I can picture the singer and either he looked and sang just like Beau Dixon from The Freeway Band or I’ve mixed up memories of Freeway and The Raft, but I wonder if this was maybe an earlier Ottawa band that Beau was in?  I don’t know and probably won’t find out, but it’s notable to me that I might have seen one of my favourite local singers so early in my tenure here in town.

Finally and most notable is that this ticket makes me realize that I’ve been getting a story wrong that I’ve told a hundred times.

A year after this concert I found myself in the minor role of Assistant Entertainment Programmer for the university residence association (RRRA).  My superior was booking the Hallowe’en show and I saw that up and comers The Kids In The Hall could be acquired for a mere $500.  I ranted and raved that we had to get the burgeoning comedy troupe in the Fenn Lounge – I swore that the performance would become legendary and I know now I was right.  Instead, Patti booked some unknown rock band who had a tiny hit near the bottom of the Canadian pop charts.  The show ended up being a lame, under-attended disaster and for years I’ve claimed the band that she hired was Roman Grey.  

Turns out I was wrong.  It must have been a band even lamer than Roman Grey.

One thing that doesn’t stand out about this show was the music – except for the faux-Beau in Medusa’s Raft; that dude was awesome.  So was walking the three hundred metres back to my dorm room with a rye and coke in my hand.

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