040485 Triumph/Honeymoon Suite, Toronto, ON

Posted by

I must have been riding the gravy train to have sprung for a pair of tickets to see Triumph at Maple Leaf Gardens on April 4th, 1985.  $35 was an enormous chunk of change for me at the time.  I was renting a room with my girlfriend in Newmarket for $60 a week and was pulling down something like $6.50 an hour sweeping the floor and cleaning toilets in a tire rim factory.  She wasn’t working so I was buying no name cans of beans and chicken wieners for two and splurging was kept for only the most hallowed of reasons: birthdays, xmas, etcetera.

But clearly I felt that seeing Triumph play a hometown show in the county’s most famous venue was reason enough to shell out for tickets and transportation.  It’s funny what you remember, but I can tell you that the Go Bus from Newmarket to Finch Station cost $2.65 per person each way and at the time TTC tokens were ninety-five cents each.  All told I guess I dished out almost a week’s rent for a three-hour concert.

Sounds reasonable to me!

Honeymoon Suite opened the show.  They had just won the Q107 band search with their song New Girl Now and were starting to ride the win all the way to the top of ’80’s Canrock.  I’m sure this concert was (and remains) a feather in their cap.  Months before they were a small band from Niagara Falls playing bars whenever they could catch a gig and here they were onstage at the Gardens.  They must have been pretty excited.

Though there’s no way they were as excited as I was when Triumph hit the stage under an explosion of light courtesy of a million watts of concert cans hung from the trusses in legions.  Triumph was known for having one of the most extensive light shows in the business; for me it was blinding and glorious, for the band it must have been blisteringly hot and almost unbearable.  

They even had lasers, cutting edge stuff and a rare anomaly at the time.  Razor-thin layers emanated from the lighting rig creating a wavy ceiling of green light over our heads, and they had flashing beams bouncing from strategically-placed mirrors all over the stage.  It was as if the musicians were inside a giant microwave oven.  

Maybe they were?  The band was certainly cookin’.

Rik Emmett was one of those flashy, scale-y widdly-widdly guitar players that were so prevalent in the ’80’s.  In short, he was one of Canada’s premiere guitar heroes and I felt honoured to be in his presence.  He strutted the stage with a confident, playful humility, dazzling the easy crowd with volume-swells and classical guitar motifs played through full distortion and with blistering speed.  Behind him the moustachioed Gil Moore pounded away on his drums and the bass player (what was his name again?) curried favour with his Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and steady thumping eighth notes.

Funny, I just looked up the setlist online and though I’m not sure it’s complete (or even correct) what I found reads like a literal description of the power and emotion this little concert-goer felt during this, only his eighth ever concert experience:

When The Lights Go Down/Follow Your Heart/Never Surrender/Spellbound/Fight The Good Fight/Hold On/Lay It On The Line/World Of Fantasy/Rock & Roll Machine/Magic Power

Amazing.  I love music.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s