Massey Hall, a 123-year-old heritage property, is set to undergo a multi-million renovation that will see it closed from summer 2018 to fall 2020. Respected for its warm sound and stellar list of acts, the venue is not without its challenges — parking, obstructed-view seating and wheelchair accessibility, to name a few. (Photo courtesy of Massey Hall)
We’re rushing to Massey Hall for his 8 p.m. set. After a frantic search, we find a parking lot and then dash toward the venue only to be met with a lineup that stretches back past the parking lot.
Blue Rodeo (Photo courtesy of Massey Hall)
When finally we make it into the Hall, we rush downstairs, desperate for a washroom. If you’ve ever tried to go to the washroom at Massey Hall, you likely have never gone to the washroom at Massey Hall. The lineups snake around the basement, madly intersecting and ultimately depositing patrons at unintended destinations.
My wife and I end up at the merch table, bewildered, and anxiously head up to our seats on the upper balcony.
After 40 minutes of climbing, we emerge from the stairwell, sweaty but excited to see him play. He is one of the pillars of the music industry. Unfortunately, we settle into our seats to find we are seated behind a pillar. We share a sigh, and close our eyes, vowing to remember what a pain in the seat it is to attend a concert at Massey Hall.
But inevitably, that isn’t what we remember.
For from the first note played on a Massey Hall night, life’s stresses melt away and we are all again awash in the collective sound and spirit of music. Every extended jam, and surprise encore at Massey is forged into our memories. Every drunken request from the balcony, and intimate giggle from the stage resonates long after we depart.
Massey Hall is our artistic refuge, and though it may be known around the world for its delicate sound, we Torontonians know it for its deep and lasting impact.
How does Massey Hall resonate with such musicians as Ron Sexsmith, Steven Page and Serena Ryder? Click here to read how Canada’s finest artists sound off on the beloved venue.
Plus, on Sunday Nov. 12, Grammy-award winning music writer Rob Bowman will host Shining A Light On Massey Hall. Bowman will share stories and secrets from the Hall’s 120-year history, and attendees will be afforded a backstage tour and peek through archival footage of the venue. The event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is free of charge.