On January 9th, 1985 I went to the Aitken Centre in Fredericton to see Nazareth and Honeymoon Suite. I had fallen for a Moncton girl who was in her first year at St. Thomas University and being an occasionally-employed eighteen-year-old I had nothing better to do than to hitchhike to Fredericton every time I got my hands on a few bucks so I could court my lady over hours-long coffees at the Greco Donair down the street from the house where she rented a room from a nice old lady. I would soon pack up a pair of suitcases and move to Fredericton for a few months before heading off to Toronto with this girl for what I mistakenly thought would be the rest of my life.
But at this point I was just visiting; I would sleep at the emergency shelter behind the hospital with all the homeless guys. I guess I had picked up a day-labour gig in a warehouse or something*; somehow I had enough money to throw down for a pair of concert tickets.
I was super-excited for the show. This was just my seventh concert and I couldn’t believe I was going to see Nazareth! And the new up-and-comers Honeymoon Suite were a cool bonus as well. I remember walking through the frozen side streets to get to the show. I was in love and full of adrenaline and I was virtually bouncing with energy.
Honeymoon Suite was great. We watched their set from the lower bowl, stage left. Wave Babies, Stay In The Light, Burning In Love, and of course the song that made them famous, New Girl Now (Literally. New Girl Now was the song they submitted to a Q107 band contest that won them an album and a video which launched their career).
Nazareth was just awesome. This was back in the GA days so we could bounce around the arena and though we moved around a bit I think we watched most of their set from the floor. I was really into the band at the time; I knew every word of every song from their Greatest Hits album and whattya know, they played them all! Hair Of The Dog, Razamanaz, My White Bicycle…I’m sure I burned through a whole lighter during Love Hurts.
And with apologies to Joni Mitchell I was still years from finding out that This Flight Tonight wasn’t a Nazareth original.
As pumped as I was going into the show I was jumping twice as high on the way out. I would have been just ripping with energy when I dropped off my girl at her place (visitors not allowed) and made my way down to the hostel. By this time of night it would have been lights-out. I’m sure I laid awake for hours listening to the snoring and farting in the big dorm room and just dying to tell someone how much fun I’d had.
*There was one night that I was hitchhiking to Fredericton with literally about two bucks in my pocket. The going was slow, so I stopped at a truck stop in the middle of the night to warm up only to discover that my 6/49 ticket had four matching numbers. I still remember the prize was $96; to me at the time it might as well have been $10,000. I ate breakfast on credit until the till finally had enough money in it that the waitress could cash me out, then I hit the highway dancing with delight in the morning sun. Now that I think about it, this is probably the same trip and how I had the extra cash to buy the concert tickets. Or I did some day labour in Moncton, about the only work a unilingual high school dropout could get at that time in New Brunswick.