On Saturday, July 25 1981, Parousia had the overwhelming experience of headlining a hockey arena in Port Colborne, Canada.
It was our one chance at doing the thing that we always pictured ourselves doing, playing a large venue to a large crowd, on a huge stage with plenty of room for our large sound, lights and antics.
It was the kind of a venue we designed our shows for, even though most of the time we had to struggle to compress our ambitions to fit into the places we were normally booked at. Not this time though.
The arena was big, and for some reason we had a good turnout of young people who were really into our show, covers and originals. I remember signing lots of autographs after the show and being treated like celebrity royalty. This was our taste of what success could feel like.
Gerry Cannizzaro recalls the following:
“This was our first performance at a concert sized arena and without question the biggest place we played to date. It had a capacity of 1,500 people. We met a lot of friendly and genuine fans. They really spoiled us ‘blokes from the states’, we each had our own dressing room and a big food spread backstage. We thought we died and went to gig heaven. Oh the fun we had wandering from room to room seeing what each of us were up to… or into, before the big show.”
“Lucky for us, Port Colbornians were enthusiastic fans of the alternative rock music scene. A crowd that actually appreciated Kim Mitchell and our version of his song ‘Toronto Tontos’. They liked pretty much everything we could dish out, from ‘White Punks on Dope’ to ‘Abbacab’. The best part though was that the Canadian audience WANTED to hear our original songs. I remember they really liked Garth’s song, “Lucifer’s Lament”, a dark tale of evil, corruption conflicted with personal choice, complete with lightning fast dueling keyboard and guitar runs. I remember Garth and Eric trading riffs back and forth, faster and faster. I loved playing that song. After the show, it felt really good to be asked to sign so many autographs. What else can I say; we loved Port Colborne and that crowd!”
“We had to put together an extra-big big P.A. to fill up this 40K sq. ft. room. We ended up renting all of Pegasonics P.A. gear and then some from Unistage. John McGovern engineered our sound and ran the mixing board.”
“The worst part about the gig was coming back home. We thought it would be ‘hassle free’ since we pre-registered all of our equipment. Believe me when i tell you, we had done our research… Patt and I worked really hard at preparing all the required paperwork and making sure it got into the right hands in ample preparation for our journey across the border and back again.
But apparently that was not enough for the American border patrol to allow us Americans back into America. When they saw that rock musicians were coming home from a gig in a 20 foot equipment truck, they started salivating. After all, we MUST have been transporting drugs back into the states, right? Sadly no, we lived ‘pay check to pay check’ just trying to get from gig to gig and back home again to rest our weary American heads.
All of our good preparation aside, we were subjected to the ‘Central Scrutinizer’ treatment. The Border patrol insisted we pull every last piece of equipment off of the truck, onto the driveway and match the serial numbers to the paperwork… Ar-r-r-rgh! It was like 6:00 in the morning, we had been up for almost 24 hours… we were exhausted. But what could we do? We figured it was useless to argue and so we start to unload everything… I think we got about half-way when the border guards decided we were not trafficking narcotics and allowed us to cross. >whew<
Anyway, we were surprised that the American side were such assholes about it… we were expecting something like that earlier when we crossed over into Canada, but the Canadian guards were so nice… they looked over our paperwork, looked in the truck and waived us through.”
“I also remember that at the end of the night, Bob Lowden disappeared. We don’t know how he got back to the States. I think Garth went missing too? Not sure…”
*** GNC ***
Port Colborne, Humberstone Arena54 W Side Rd Port Colborne, ON L3K 5K6, Canada40,000 Square Feet. More commonly known as the West Arena. Opened its doors in January 1960 after an aggressive 2 year Community Fundraising initiative.• This arena was Home of the “Pirates” Junior Hockey Team.• Numerous Ontario Championships at the Minor Hockey Level and the Intermediate ‘A’ Level also played at this Arena.If you are interested in buying the Arena, it is on sale for $275,000.00 Canadian.
Playing the Port Colborne arena wasn’t a cheap show to produce. originally, Parousia was contracted to earn $750.00. After paying application fees, duty fees and booking fees, we ended up with $462.00 to pay for our own production costs. John McGovern put a tremendous amount of work as sound engineer and was paid $40.00. Mike Carroll ran lights for $45.00. ‘Head roadie’, Dave Styn earned $40.00 and roadies Keith, Tom, and Tim were paid $10.00 each. $85.00 went towards speaker repair, $3.00 for “materials” (I.E: drugs, women, gambling). The biggest expense: Truck rental – $117.00 and a rented 16-band stereo equalizer – $230.00.
Our total expense exceeded our profit by $175.00. But we gained a lot, because after playing this show in Canada, Parousia just became international performing artists!