Ken Legg is looking forward to seeing the Pink Floyd Experience, not only to hear the music of one of his all-time favourite bands, but to see an inflatable pig floating over the heads of the crowd Monday night at CN Centre.
He's just hoping that piggy prop won't bring out the Lord of Flies pack mentality he witnessed nearly four decades ago when he saw the original Pink Floyd play at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, following the release of their Animals album.
"This illuminated pig went from one end of the stadium and dropped right down to the stage, and everybody was trying to kill it," laughed Legg.
Having seen the original Pink Floyd lineup play three times in the '70s, the Experience has a tough act to follow, but Legg and his wife Sheila are looking forward to the Prince George concert next week. After reading some of the reviews of the Experience, Legg says it's a rare can't-miss treat for Floyd lovers.
"I've heard it's a great show and I've heard it's the same producers who did the Led Zeppelin Experience with Jason Bonham (who played at CN Centre in 2010), and that was a fantastic show," said Legg. "I think it will be the next best thing to seeing Pink Floyd."
The July 6, 1977 Montreal concert will go down as one of the most memorable in the long history of Pink Floyd, not because of the music (which was great, according to Legg), but due to the behaviour of a few buffoons in the crowd. Priced at $10 per ticket, the concert started at 8 p.m. and the gates opened at 3, so anyone who wanted to be close to the stage started lining up long before that.
"It was a bad idea to have a general admission show for 80,000 people," said Legg. "By 4 o'clock there were 40,000 people in there, with nothing to do."
By the time the concert started, people were drunk, stoned, and in some cases, downright dangerous. Some of the people started letting off fireworks in the crowd during Pigs on the Wing and Floyd bassist and co-lead vocalist Roger Waters got so annoyed, he and the band stopped playing. Waters' anger was evident in a bootleg recording of the concert.
"Oh for *&$% sakes," said Waters. "Stop that with the fireworks and shouting and screaming, I'm trying to sing a song. I mean I don't care, if you don't want to hear it. I'm sure there's a lot of people here who do want to hear it. If you want to let your fireworks off and you want to scream and shout and holler, get outside and do it out there. I'm trying to sing a song some people want to listen to."
Later, while playing Pigs (Three Different Ones) Waters spotted a young man in the front row who had shot off a firework and had been chased away from the stage, and encouraged him to climb back up to him.
"Come back, all is forgiven. Come on boy," implored Water.
When the kid got close enough, for a face-to-face encounter, Waters grabbed him by his jacket and spat in his face. The sound clip is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU0buWTfp4I.
"Waters apologized in the newspaper the next day and said he regretted what happened," said Legg. "He said he got to thinking how Pink Floyd and their fans had suddenly become distant and I remember him saying that a wall had come between them."
The Montreal show was the last date of the In the Flesh tour and the band took a hiatus from touring to record their epic, The Wall. When they returned to the stage for The Wall tour, workers gradually started to assemble a huge wall of hard foam blocks across the stage, which left the band totally hidden from the audience's view. The Wall symbolized Waters' growing sense of isolation and disconnection from audiences he was feeling as a rock star and the Montreal incident no doubt was a contributing factor.
"It was a great show, with the original band, but with all the stuff going on, it kept stopping," said Legg. "I was surprised when the guy threw the beer bottle that they didn't walk off the stage. I got the distinct feeling that Waters wanted to leave, but the rest of the band was thinking there would be a riot if they walked off."
The Pink Floyd concert was the first in the stadium since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Legg grew up in Montreal and also saw their Dark Side of the Moon concert at Jarry Park and the Wish You Were Here tour stop at the Autostade in Montreal in 1975.
The Pink Floyd Experience is a San Diego-based tribute band that will almost certainly be the closest Prince George will ever get to the real McCoy. The guts of the band -- lead guitarist Tom Quinn and bass player Gus Beaudoin -- have been playing together since 1997. Quinn bought his first guitar and formed his first band in 1973, the year Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon, an album that's sold 50 million copies.
Randy McStine holds a dual role as lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist. Other members of the band are sax player Jesse Molloy, keyboardist Jon Cox (who used to play for Yes tribute band Roundabout), and drummer Bob Sale, an Oakville, Ont., native and the lone Canadian in the band.
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the CN Centre box office for $46.75 and $56.75 each.