Uptight: Kingston (Ontario)’s very own TV dance party

dance party Does anyone out there remember Uptight? It was a weekly show that ran on CKWS-TV in Kingston, Ont., for a few years in, I’m going to say, the late 1960s and/or very early 1970s. Those were the days when I was growing up in Queensborough, and CKWS (Channel 11) was one of only three TV stations that the Manse’s gigantic old antenna (which, by the way, is still there) could pull in. So of course we watched quite a bit of Kingston programming on our rickety black-and-white set, including the classic half-hour religion show Gospel Temple.

Anyway, Uptight was a real period piece, and sadly I can find no trace of it whatsoever on the proverbial internet. But I am not making it up!

If you’re of my vintage or a little older, you probably remember the craze for dance shows. I assume American Bandstand was the granddaddy of them all, but apparently there were others (more on one of them shortly) – and I guess it was natural that small local TV stations like CKWS wanted in on the action too. But while American Bandstand and other big network shows brought in major stars to play live (or more probably lip-synched) music for a studio full of teenagers to dance to, I am pretty sure Uptight used recorded music. Which meant it would have been incredibly cheap content to produce, given that “the talent” – the dancers – came free of charge in the form of local kids who dressed up in their best minidresses and bell-bottoms and showed up for the taping.

Dancers on Upbeat

Dancers on the syndicated U.S. show Upbeat, which clearly was a model for Kingston’s own Uptight.

When I was looking for photos to illustrate this post, I came across references to an American dance show that I’d not heard of before but that was apparently very well-known. According to the website upbeatdancers.com: “From 1964 to 1971 Upbeat was one of America’s top television shows, syndicated in over 100 cities. It was Simon and Garfunkel’s first TV appearance and Otis Reddings’s last. Nearly every major rock, soul and pop artist performed on Upbeat: The Who, Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Kenny Rogers, James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and many many more.”

Well, that’s all well and good, but the main role Upbeat plays in my little story this evening is that I suspect chances are good it gave the CKWS people the idea for the name of their considerably smaller-scale Canadian version.

Anyway, Uptight may have been of a modest budget and scale, but when I was a kid it was fun to watch. I mean, when you were nine years old in, say, 1969, 16-year-olds with long hair and paisley dresses and hip-hugger jeans doing funky dance moves were kind of awesome. Something to aspire to.

I remember one thrilling time when the story made the rounds – probably on the school bus – that some teenagers from our own local high school, Centre Hastings Secondary in Madoc, including one young Queensborough woman, had been bused to KIngston to dance on the show. We watched every second of that episode, so excited to see one of our own be a real TV star. Sadly, either she didn’t take that bus trip after all or the camera never alighted on her.

Anyway, it’s all a dim memory now. But I throught I’d throw it out there in case anyone else who might have been a CKWS viewer back in those more innocent days also remembers the fun of watching our local young people show their coolest moves on the dance floor.

54 thoughts on “Uptight: Kingston (Ontario)’s very own TV dance party

  1. Dunno, but I’ll hazard a guess that Uptight probably borrowed its name from Stevie Wonder’s 1966 hit (that you’re obviously too young to remember) titled Uptight (Everything’s Alright). There was also a national version of the concept on CBC-TV through much of the Sixties called Let’s Go. Recognize these guys?

    • This is wonderful! Oh my lord, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman are SO young! And as far as my untrained eye can tell, they are actually singing and playing their instruments. No Bandstand lip-synching for them!

    • Hello from Phoenix Arizona. My name is Greg Stewart and I hosted Uptight on CKWS in Kingston in 1969 and 1970 and previously Uptight in 1968 on CKNX Channel 8 in Wingham Ontario Canada. I had a ball doing that show as well as an afternoon Radio Rock show on 960 CKWS. I selected the music and Canadian Rock Bands as guests on the show and arranged for the various High Schools on each show. It was aired on Saturday nights. Guests would sing their current hits and included The Guess Who, 5 Man Electrical Band, The Bells, Frank Mills, A Foot In Cold Water and Mashmakan. I have many fond memories of Uptight and yes I named this show after Stevie Wonder’s hit record. I also worked at CHAM in Hamilton, CKGM in Montreal and FM96 CJFM in Montreal before moving to sunny Arizona.

      • Greg, how absolutely splendid to hear from you! My delight is a bit selfish, in that your comment finally confirms my recollection that there was a show called Uptight on CKWS – something no one else has been able to do so far. But wow – you went well beyond confirming a 45+-year-old memory. All that detail about the show – and my gracious, what amazing bands you were able to wrestle into the studio in Kingston for those local kids to dance to! Were those the days, or what? It sounds like you’ve had a terrific career, and I am just so grateful that you found my Meanwhile, at the Manse post and contributed to the collection of memories of cool things that happened here in Eastern Ontario back in the 1960s and ’70s. Cheers!

  2. Hi, Katherine. I don’t remember Uptight, for some reason. How is it that I don’t know of that show? But I sure remember “Teenage Dance Party” with Brian Olney from CKWS. Do you remember that one? It’s mentioned here in a bit of history about CKWS (look under “1962”, although the show ran for a few years after that):

    http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/index3.html?url=http%3A//www.broadcasting-history.ca/listings_and_histories/television/histories.php%3Fid%3D28%26historyID%3D39

    And, speaking of local kids getting on TV, I can recall, maybe around 1961, when some of the senior Madoc Public School students got to be in the audience for “Razzle Dazzle”, in CBC Toronto studios.

    • Wow – kids from Madoc got to see Howard the Turtle and beauteous Trudy Young live! Also, thanks for that very interesting history of CKWS. Did it ever bring back some memories – the news with Floyd Patterson, and Max Jackson, the sports guy who was there forever!

      • You’re welcome, Katherine. And speaking of Max Jackson, do you remember what he said each time he ended his segment?

      • Excellent, Katherine!! Were you, by any chance, at the Madoc arena the night Brian Olney came to town to play hockey? If my memory is correct, I think it was the CKWS All-stars, a fun night for all. This would have been around 1966 or so.

    • Hi Joanne! Okay, you must spill the beans: what were you wearing when you did your star turn on Teenage Dance Party? So great to hear from someone who appeared on that show! (And hey, do you remember Uptight?)

  3. Liked the write up. My dad, Mac Brown, was the bass player in The Monarchs, one of the house bands that backed Bryan Olney. Dad had some great stories from that era. Pete Bebee one of the founders of the band, has a webpage, themonarchs.ca, with some pic’s, and one of Bryan and the band.

    Thanks for keeping the memory alive.
    Dwight B.
    Corbyville, Ont.

    • So great to hear from you, Dwight! I had a great deal of fun poking around themonarchs.ca just now and learning about the adventures of your dad’s Kingston-based band. Love the story about the soot being shot out at them from the Collins Bay Penitentiary when they were playing on the roof of the A&W! The photos are absolutely terrific. Ah, those were the days! Thank you so much for sharing this with me and the readers.

  4. Wow! Does this bring back memories. I grew up in Kingston and was on Teenage Dance Party, even interviewed by Bryan Olney on a Halloween show. I remember my costume but would rather not discuss that. Do you remember Ted Curl, the original host of Teenage Dance Party? And do you remember when Bryan Olney was a DJ on CKWS radio, before he did Dance Party. I couldn’t tell you what night it was but Bryan Olney used to do live broadcasts from the A&W on Bath Road and I remember him hosting pep rallies before local high school football games. I was still in public school then so I couldn’t attend but I remember the radio broadcasts. Kingston was a great place to grow up in. Lastly, do you remember Bryan Olneys sign-off line?

    • Fantastic to hear from you, Douglas! Interesting how many Kingston natives mention Bryan Olney. I have to confess that name does not quite ring a bell with me, but that’s probably because I grew up a little too far away from Kingston to listen to CKWS radio (though I certainly did watch the TV station). And you’re the second person to mention the live broadcasts from the Bath Road A&W, which sound like a whole lot of fun. Now, you must tell us: what was Bryan Olney’s signoff line?

  5. Well Katherine, it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard Bryan’s sign off but it would go something like this, ‘well, that’s all the time we have for now and until the next time we can get together through the magic of radio, this is Bryan Onley, the world’s oldest living teenager saying so long for now’. Dick Clark was called America’s oldest living teenager and Bryan Olney, who made no bones about following Dick’s lead, went one better with the title of the world’s oldest living teenager as opposed to just America’s.
    The Monarch’s used to lead off many of their appearances on Teenage Dance Party with a certain instrumental tune that may have even been the group’s adopted theme tune. Does anyone recall what it was?

    • It is becoming ever clearer to me that I need to brush up on Bryan Olney, Douglas, in the spirit of celebrating midcentury teenage life in Eastern Ontario! I hope a reader (or three) might know the name of the Monarchs’ theme song. Meanwhile, speaking of Kingston broadcast personalities, do you remember the signoff line of the longtime sports guy on CKWS-TV? Yes, you’ve got it: “Remember – if you don’t play a sport, be one.” Words to live by! Now what was that sportscaster’s name? I’ll be danged if I can remember it. Max something maybe?

    • I talked with Pete Bebee today, original and still lead guitar player with the Monarch’s, (and a lifelong friend of my dad, Mac Brown, Bass Player with the Monarchs, now deceased), and asked him what was there theme song, and I quote: “Wild Weekend_The Buffalo Rebels.
      It was originally made for the Tommy Shannon Show, and Bryan scoffed it because we had a sax player.”

      As an aside, Pete is suffering from failing health, and will be doing one last performance with the Monarchs December 12th. Leaving Don Candon, original rhythm player as the last of the forming members of the band.

      • Thank you so much for this, Dwight! For readers who would like to hear Wild Weekend, I have found it online – click here. I suspect it’ll be familiar to many of you, as it turned out to be for me. I’m sorry to hear that Pete of the Monarchs is in poor health, and I sure hope that lots of Kingston-area fans will be able to attend the Dec. 12 performance. One for the ages!

  6. Very good Katherine, to remember Max Jackson’s first name. He was quite a guy and did very well with his handicap. Max was blind in one eye as the result of an arrow being shot into the air (not by him) and while watching for it to come down, the unthinkable happened. He was the first play-by-play announcer for the Kingston Canadians (now the Frontenacs) home and away games. He never missed a game from the Canadian’s first season 1973-74 to the end of the 1979-80 season. I had the pleasure of playing a round of golf with Max at Camden Braes Golf Club in the late 1970s and he did quite well. I have no idea what league it was but I recall my dad telling me about the days when he and Max were rival coaches of teams in a baseball league for teenagers in the 1940s. In the early 1950s Max founded the Kingston Lions Club Amateur Baseball League. While sports director at CKWS, Max worked 18 hour days.
    A clue about the Monarch’s theme song is that it was an instrumental featuring a wailing saxophone.

    • And if I’d been thinking just a little bit harder I would have remembered Max’s last name too! (Which I did in response to a much earlier comment.) I remember him so well, and am not surprised to hear that he worked 18-hour days; you could tell from his broadcasts that he put an enormous amount of time and effort into keeping on top of everything on the Kingston sports scene. What a story about how he lost the sight in one eye – yikes! Now, back to the Monarchs, and see the next comment!

      • Right on, Dwight! And Katherine, thanks for furnishing the link to the tune. It’s been at least 50 years since I’ve heard the Monarchs play their theme song and it’s too bad there isn’t a version of them doing it on the web. If there is, I couldn’t find it. But hearing that tune again instantly swept away many years. Does anyone know where the Monarch’s performance is taking place on December 12th?

      • The Monarchs will be playing at the Legion, on Montreal St, in Kingston. Not sure of the address though.

      • Dwight, I was delighted to receive this information – and disappointed that I couldn’t be in Kingston on the evening in question. I hope and trust that the Monarchs show was a wonderful one for all concerned – both the band and its fans. I’d love to hear some reports!

  7. Linking us all to the past is a pretty tall order but a fond memory is making my way down to the Kingston Market Square most Friday evenings through the warmer months and jumping on a school bus that took all onboard to the Kingston Speedway on McAdoo’s Lane for an evening of modified sportsman stock racing. Woody Van Order, Frank Andre, Tony Blake, Freddie Gibson, Pat O’Brien, Ab Banks, the Corcorans and Gary Reddick are a few of the names that come to mind. The announcer for the races was CKLC sportscaster, Johnny Kelly who did a great job. Some Kingstonians might remember Emma Stokes who never seemed to miss a sporting event with her cowbell and knitting. From the old KASA softball games at Victoria Park, the Kingston Frontenacs hockey games at the Memorial Centre and the stock car races, she was always there.

    • Douglas, those are absolutely wonderful memories of Kingston back in the day (our days), and even though I lived just far enough away from Kingston that I can’t share them, I kind of can through you. You have an eye for detail, clearly! I mean, a woman who never missed a local sporting event with her cowbell and knitting? Gotta love that. You should write a blog about those days!

      • Katherine, I have a question for you. Looking up Queensborough on the map, I see it’s close to Madoc. Years ago, I had a 2nd cousin in Madoc who ran a beauty salon. Her small in-house business was called Getha’s Beauty Salon and her name was Getha Burns. If you don’t recall Getha or her husband Jim, perhaps some other readers from the Madoc area do.

        Great to see the recent message from Greg Stewart and his mention of the groups from the 60s. I attended KCVI (Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute) and never missed the Friday night dances which were known as Chéz Chien (aka Chez) back then. Two highlights for me were hearing a local KCVI rock and roll band called King Boz and the Boys, a great group led by Bill Bosworth, and a group that came down from Ottawa called The Esquires. When these groups played the Friday night dance at old Kay Cee, the vast majority of the kids would gather around the low platform where the band was playing. They were that good that we just wanted to listen. The Esquires were together from 1962 to 1967 and were awarded the very first Juno Award.

      • Hi Douglas! Yes, we are only a 10- or 12-minute drive from Madoc. I don’t think I remember Getha’s Beauty Salon, but I had a classmate at Madoc Township Public School who was Ronnie Burns – would he have been any relation, I wonder? Hey, thank you for still more great stories about great musical times in Kingston. I looked up The Esquires, and was interested to see in this listing that none other than Bruce Cockburn was a member of the band at one point. And here is a video of the band in their early days – great footwork!

  8. Hi Katherine, just thinking back to the 60s and the music scene was pretty cool then. I remember going to see Roy Orbison and his 3-man band, the Candymen, at the Kingston Memorial Centre when Oh, Pretty Woman was #1 on the hit parade. What a fabulous show. He did all of his earlier hits throughout the concert which blew everybody away and finished with Oh, Pretty Woman. His 3 warmup bands, The Barons, The Staccatos and The Esquires were all from Ottawa and were all very good. Other groups and performers I was able to see in Kingston were Neil Diamond, Billy Joe Royal, Gene Pitney, Gary Puckett And The Union Gap, Gary Lewis And The Playboys, Paul Revere And The Raiders (with the entire Action Show), Juice Newton, Valdy, The Guess Who, Blood Sweat And Tears and The Five Man Electrical Band to name some I can remember. The Staccatos mentioned above, became The Five Man Electrical Band.
    In the mid 1970s, my wife and I visited Ontario Place in Toronto to see a couple of Imax movies. We saw the matinee which finished mid afternoon so we wandered around the place and found ourselves on the island with the open-air concert bowl. A number of roadies were setting up amps and guitars as well as a drum set. We had grabbed a burger or something for a late lunch which we were enjoying along with beautiful surroundings and summer day when I heard the first few strains of some familiar music. We hadn’t been paying much attention, that was until the 4-man band broke into, ‘Mean Woman Blues’ and I remember saying to my wife, boy are they ever good. Suddenly the few benches around the band and grassy slopes of the bowl began to fill up with people. There was no announcement from the band or facility as to their identity but it didn’t take long to figure out who it was as I knew their music very well. It was Roy Orbison. Apparently it was quite common in those days for bands scheduled to perform at the CNE evening grandstand show to do an impromptu practise session at the Ontario Place open-air concert bowl. They went through every tune flawlessly I had enjoyed 10 years before in Kingston. Roy passed away from a heart attack at 52 years of age in 1988. What a tragic loss.

    • Douglas, I am astounded that you were able to see all those legendary musicians and bands in (relatively speaking) little wee Kingston. Clearly musicians toured more, and stopped in more places, back then than they do now – and music-lovers like you were the beneficiaries. I was most interested to learn about the origins (The Staccatos) of Five Man Electrical Band, who of course I remember from my 1970s childhood for the big hit Signs. And what a great story about stumbling upon a Roy Orbison concert at good old Ontario Place! Thank you so much for sharing these musical memories!

  9. Well Katherine, did you know that the Who once played Kingston many years ago. Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Roger Daltry and Peter Townsend did not get on stage until around midnight but they were there. They were delayed crossing the border from Detroit to Windsor and a plane was chartered from Kingston to hurry their arrival. I wasn’t there but by all accounts, it was a great show. I saw The Five Man Electrical Band at Grant Hall at Queen’s and I did like Signs (thanks for the neat link) but my favourite number by the group was Absolutely Right. I have attempted to put a link to that tune here at YouTube for what is supposed to be recorded from vinyl. The other song the band was known for was I’m A Stranger Here for which I have also attempted to provide a YouTube link here . I hope they both work. .

    • Douglas, you are a never-ending source of fantastic Kingston-related music history! What a night it must have been when The Who – The Who! – were flown into town, probably on some teeny-tiny turboprop. I agree with you that Absolutely Right was Five Man Electrical Band’s best song, though I happily sang along to I’m A Stranger Here, which I seem to know word for word – probably thanks to a K-Tel Record. Thank you for these great memories!

  10. Katherine, I know the YouTube addresses for the 2 songs mentioned above were typed in the message but they didn’t show on your blog. Sorry about that.

      • Hello Katherine, I found some details of the Who’s Kingston concert I thought were quite interesting. The date was just over 48 years ago on July 15, 1968. The Kingston Memorial Centre was the site of a hard-rocking, instrument-trashing performance that apparently has gone down as one of the more storied and bizarre concerts ever given by The Who.
        It featured a ticket scandal, the band’s instruments being seized at the
        Canadian border, an emergency charter flight from Detroit and Pete Townshend
        tracking down a local musician to buy a second-hand guitar to replace the
        one he smashed the night before. It was also just one night in Kingston’s past as one of the centres of the music universe in Canada. For example, B.B. King gave his first Canadian performance at Kingston’s Grand Theatre, Don McLean performed American Pie live for the first time at Queen’s in the early ’70s and the city has been rocked by everyone from April Wine, Jimi Hendrix, Joey Dee and the Starlighters, to Genesis and more recently Chicago and Santana (Chicago was great but Santana was too loud for my 68 year-old ears).
        But on that hot July night in 1968, the concert almost didn’t happen.
        When the opening bands took the stage at 8 p.m., The Who was still in
        Detroit, held up by Canada Customs.
        Pete Townshend’s and Roger Daltrey’s passports were stolen the day before in Cleveland. Customs, which even 30 years ago hated to see travellers show up with little more than underwear tags for identification, seized most of
        the band’s gear when The Who could not post a $20,000 bond for security.
        So when the band and its entourage flew into Norman Rogers Airport on
        a charter that had been hastily arranged by the Kingston promoters, all they
        had was a 1958 Fender Stratocaster belonging to Townshend and a Precision
        bass belonging to John Entwistle. Before they hit the stage around midnight,
        The Who had to scrounge up drums, amplifiers and even a strap for
        Townshend’s guitar from local bands.
        Part II will follow soon.

      • Douglas, I (and my readers) can never thank you enough for this fabulous research and wonderful story! Since not all readers see the comments, I may well repurpose this (with full credit to you, of course) for a full blog post one of these days. What a wild night in Kingston. Man, what I wouldn’t give to have been at that concert with The Who using equipment borrowed from local musicians. I bet it was a blast!

  11. Katherine, In addition to some great rock and roll artists, Kingston has been the site of a number of top country and western concerts over the years. Some I recall, many of which I was fortunate enough to attend are Porter Wagoner, Dottie West, Bill Anderson, Dolly Parton, Sonny James, Buck Owens and the Buckeroos, Roy Clark, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Mickey Gilley, Ricky Skaggs, George Canyon, Terri Clark, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers and more that don’t immediately come to mind.
    In November, 2010 I was hired to make a video recording of a wonderful performance by the world’s first lady of guitar. Of course I refer to Liona Boyd. Joining her for the concert in Kingston at Sydenham Street United Church was a man she discovered in Croatia, Srdjan Givoje.
    A word about little wee Kingston – One has to go back more than 35 years to find a population under 100,000 in the immediate Kingston area. Census Canada has just released results from its most recent tally and Kingston comes in at 180,000 people with a market population of 280,000.

    • I stand corrected on calling Kingston “little”! I still, though, find it surprising to learn, thanks to your great research and memory, that some of those superstars played in what was then a relatively small city. As for the country performers you’ve seen there – wow. I am especially awed by Buck Owens, George Jones (best voice in history), Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, whom I adore. Lucky you! I think the only concert I was ever at in Kingston in the years I worked at the Whig-Standard was one by Steve Earle, who was coming out of his country mode and being more of a rocker with the Copperhead Road album. He put on a good show!

      • Hello Katherine, my apologies for the delay in Part II of The Who in Kingston. I
        hope you and your readers will find it as interesting as I did.
        Lending their gear to The Who was not something bands lined up to do. When
        Pete Townshend picked up a guitar in those days, it was the best thing that
        could happen to an audience and the worst thing that could happen to a
        guitar. His trademark ending to a show in the early years was to smash whatever
        guitar happened to be in his hands, often on whatever amps happened to be
        handy, while The Who’s drummer, (the late) Keith Moon, ripped apart his drum set. The Who’s habits made the members of opening act Fifth Column, sharing the bill with Little Caesar and the Consuls and Toronto band The Chateaux, a little anxious. It was their gear The Who wanted to use.
        “I can remember going up to Peter Townshend before the show and saying that
        the amps were all we owned and could they please not wreck them because we couldn’t afford to replace them,” said Bill Joslin, a guitarist for Fifth Column who
        helped fit Townshend’s guitar with a strap before the show.
        Sure enough, as soon as the band played the last chords of My Generation,
        Townshend raised the perfectly good guitar over his head and smashed it to
        bits on the stage.
        Gary Parr, the CKLC deejay who emceed the show, had his hands on the ruined
        guitar almost before it stopped bouncing.
        “I went out and grabbed the guitar that Townshend had just pulverized,” Parr said from his Ottawa home.
        “I thought it would make a great giveaway for the station, so I picked it up
        and had The Who band members sign it.”
        The smashed bits of Pete Townshend’s Kingston guitar are now the property of
        Mike Moore, who grew up in Kingston and lives in Calgary. A fan of The Who and a player of Fender Strats, he tracked down the guitar several years ago and
        bought it.
        More interesting info on Pete’s guitar and other band equipment in Part III to follow SOON!

      • Douglas, this is amazing! How wonderful that you are recording and thereby preserving this extremely cool incident in Kingston’s musical history. I cannot thank you enough! I well remember how Pete Townshend would destroy every guitar he came across. (Do you suppose he still does?) And Keith Moon, my goodness – talk about gone too soon, but he was a wild man.

        At some point I’d like to gather up all your recollections of this memorable concert and do a post about it. Is there any hope, do you think, of photos of the event?

  12. To bring it ahead 50 years, August 20, 2016 will probably go down as the day the largest Canadian audience ever watched a musical performance. Of course, I’m referring to the reported 12,000,000 or so folks who joined the 7,000 at Kingston’s K-Rock Centre in celebrating Canada’s band, The Tragically Hip. Kudos to CBC for making the entire event available to anyone not fortunate enough to be inside the beautiful K-Rock Centre for the concert by furnishing a live, uninterrupted broadcast of The Hip’s last show on what could be their last tour. There were something like 400 public broadcasts of the show across our great country, most of them free of charge and from those that were charging admission, the funds were going to cancer research. Kingston certainly did itself proud and a great job of setting the example with a crowd of 30,000 in the old Market Square. If I have a beef and I have, it’s the way the ticket sales were handled. By now I’m sure most of your readers, either by personal experience or by way of the press, know of the huge scam that took place with regards to ticket sales in all of the venues where the Man Machine Poem tour played. Unable to afford the outrageous price that the ticket resale agents were demanding for even the poorest arena seats, my wife and I were overjoyed to hear that CBC was covering the event, live.

    In conclusion, here are 2 quotes from a Global News online report of August 21, 2016:
    “And that’s what made this Man Machine Poem tour such a monumental thing, and such a necessity to see for Canadians; people outside our borders might think we’re crazy (except for the American fans who “get” the Hip), but at no other time, ever, has a band tapped into the Great White North’s very essence in the way that [Gord] Downie and the band’s music does. To see the crowd at K-Rock absolutely explode when the Hip played Blow at High Dough or My Music at Work was like witnessing magic. The close-out with, Ahead By a Century, the last song they played, sealed the deal. These guys have it, and no one else does.”
    By the way, that last song, Ahead By a Century, was the 3rd song of the unprecedented 3rd encore by the band. All 3 encores featured 3 songs.
    And about Justin Trudeau:
    “It was extraordinary enough that Canada’s Prime Minister attended the show, and it was remarkable that he sat in the seats with regular citizens, but what really took it to the next level was Trudeau fully rocking out to the music. Were he not the leader of our country, he would have been just another dude feeling the music.”

    • That concert was indeed one for the ages. I have to confess that for whatever reason – timing, I think – the Hip never came across my radar back in the day. They became popular just about the time I stopped listening to much in the way of pop music, and before the concert on Aug. 20 of this year, I couldn’t have hummed you a bar of a single song by the band – not even Bobcaygeon. But like pretty much the entire country, Raymond and I watched the concert live on CBC here at the Manse, and we were moved and impressed. And yes, Ahead By a Century – it was amazing. Just amazing. Thank you for this moving report and tribute.

      • Part III about The Who’s wild night in Kingston.
        In reference to Pete Townshend’s trashed guitar:
        “It was not quite the condition it left the factory in,” said Moore, who
        remembers it being passed around at high school parties. He had always
        wondered how the guitar would sound if a new neck was put on it.
        “The neck was broken right off and it was about six inches long. It has been
        restored, but I always tell my friends I could put it back in the condition
        that it was in about five seconds.”
        Moore reports the guitar, with authentic Fender hardware installed, sound
        surprisingly good, given what it has been through.
        The drums were the property of Chris McCann, who now lives in Montreal where
        he is one of the most sought-after jazz drummers in Canada.
        McCann was a serious drummer then and had a double rock set that was far
        better than what most local bands play with.
        They were almost exactly what Moon used himself and the drummer, dreading
        coming to a town he’d never heard of and having to play with a cheap and
        nasty set of rented toms, danced around the room in glee with McCann when he
        saw them.
        And promised in advance to pay McCann for anything he broke.
        “Chris was playing a double set of drums, and at that time, only Keith Moon
        and maybe Ginger Baker had a double set,” recalled Doug McClement, a fellow
        musician who was in the third row for the concert.
        “I remember noticing that about three songs into the show, Keith Moon had
        broken the bass drum, just by the force of his playing.
        That shows you the strength that he had in that small frame. You could jump
        on a bass drum and not break it, and after three songs, Keith Moon had put
        the foot pedal right through the face.”
        “I don’t think I’ve broken a bass drum in my life,” agreed McCann, who was
        19 at the time and recalls being awestruck at Moon’s playing. The
        professional musician remembers Moon doing moves that McCann can’t do today,
        like bouncing a stick off a floor tom three metres into the air and catching
        it in perfect time to keep the beat.”

        One last part to follow soon.

      • Douglas, you have a photographic memory, good sources, and a wonderful way with a tale. Thank you so much for sharing this musical story in so much colourful detail! I plan to collate all the parts and use it (with full credit to you, of course) as a post here at Meanwhile, at the Manse one of these times. It will be new to most readers since there are fewer subscribers to comments than there are to the blog itself. Now here’s the $128,000 question: do you by any chance have (or have access to) any photos of that memorable night in Kingston’s history? If you do, that would make the story perfect. You can reach me by email at sedgwick.katherine@gmail.com. My fingers are crossed! And thank you again.

  13. Turn up the volume

    At that time, no one went to Who concerts to admire the subtlety of their
    playing. McClement, who is now one of the foremost live recording engineers
    in Canada, remembers when the band took the stage they did something that
    none of the opening acts ever dared to.
    “The first thing they did was open the amplifiers right up,” he said.
    “That sounds strange to say now because everybody plays loud, but back then
    nobody turned their amps up to 10. The Who did.”
    Concertgoers still remember the madness of that loud concert in the cramped
    and sweaty arena. Daltrey had his microphone snatched right off its cord by
    a fan as he swung it wildly around, Moon at one point was beating a roadie
    with a drumstick when the young man was slow in passing him a replacement
    stick for one he fired into the crowd and Townshend accidentally kicked a
    fan in the face as he whirled about.
    “Off-stage, Townshend was a quiet, very intelligent guy,” recalled Joslin,
    who now works in Queen”s information technology department.
    “But as soon as he got on stage, he was a wild man.”
    Said McClement, “It was a really exciting show. Here’s The Who in a small
    town at the end of a long day, and most bands probably wouldn’t have felt
    like playing at all, but they put on this amazing, incredible show.”
    After the show, over burgers and soft drinks, Townshend told McCann that he
    hated playing large halls and preferred shows the size of the one in
    Kingston.
    The concert was also the focus of police interest as some young entrepreneur
    printed hundreds of fake tickets to the show.
    And one other bit of business remained before Townshend could leave town. He
    didn’t have a guitar to play, and the morning after the show he was knocking
    on doors, tracking down a local guitarist who had once bought an old Strat
    from Joslin.
    Townshend told Joslin his record company gave him a $250 allowance to buy
    guitars before every show, which at the time was enough to buy a
    professional-quality used instrument. That night, Joslin’s old guitar met
    its smashing end on a stage in Ottawa and The Who disappeared into the
    night, on their way to another show.

    On loudness of sound volume, The Guinness Book of World records declared The Who the loudest band due to a concert held on May 31, 1976 at The Valley, an open-air stadium in Charlton, London, England. The sound was measured at 126 decibels (dB) at a distance of 100 feet from the speakers. In 1972, Pete Townshend and company beat Deep Purple’s standing record for an indoor concert of 117 db by an unspecified amount. This record was set at London’s Rainbow Theatre where the band’s sound rendered three people unconscious.
    To offer some idea of the volume of these concerts, a clap of thunder from a storm directly overhead registers at around 120 dB. Even though the clap only lasts a few seconds, the short exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. Now imagine stretching that type of blistering sound over the course of an hour or two. Health experts say that significant damage can occur due to sustained exposure to any noises above 85 dB.
    “What’s that you say?”

  14. I remember the show in Kingston when my high school Moira Secondary in Belleville took a busload of students. Yes it was fun to watch!

  15. Did you know that Zal Yanovsky a member of the Lovin Spoonful resided in Kingston Ont. where he owned a restaurant? Unfortuately he passed away in 2002 in Kingston. What a spectacular band led by the great John Sebastian. And Zally was a marvelous guitarist and most charismatic man anyone could ever hope to meet. RIP Zal

  16. Hello Katherine, just wondering if you have your tickets to see Elton John at the K-Rock Centre Nov 14, 2017. Should be a great concert.

    • Douglas, thank you for the tip – I didn’t know that Elton John was coming to Kingston. Wow! I have tickets for Bob Dylan in the same place later this month, but now I’d better look into whether one can still get seats for Captain Fantastic himself. Sadly, given how long it’s taken me to get to blog comments, I suspect I’m out of luck. If I can’t get to the concert, I sure hope you’ll send a full and complete report! Glad to know you are still taking in the best of the Kingston music scene.

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