Milestone unlocked: 500 concerts

Our Lady Peace – Massey Hall in 2005.  I won tickets for Vero and I go down to Toronto!

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a cool website called which tracks concert setlists.  The really neat thing about it was that I could indicate whether I was at the concert or not and it would track my stats.  One summer I went through my box of concert stubs and entered any information I could think of; sometimes it was a simple click of the button ‘I WAS THERE’ or entering in the details of a concert that I clearly have a record of, but there is no record on the site.  Imagine a Wikipedia for concerts.

Matt Mays – Bluesfest 2006

While going to Bluesfest the other night, I realized that in the past week, I had surpassed the 500 concert mark!  Let’s be honest here, even though I keep every concert ticket stub known to man, there’s no way I have documented every live band I have ever seen.  There were tons of Fortune’s Hand concerts seen in the Heart and Crown but no documentation of those good times exist (well, except for the photos of those drunken nights!).  So when indicates that I have seen 500 shows, I take it with a grain of salt, but at the same time, if it’s a rough number, so be it!  It’s a great achievement that started back in 1996 with my first concert – The Smashing Pumpkins in Toronto, ON on September 14, 1996.

The Trews – Acoustic show at Carleton University 2006

Twenty years later, I’ve definitely hit the peak of concert going and now pick and choose which shows to go to.  This doesn’t mean that I’m stopping anytime soon, but I’ll choose the band I haven’t seen a whole lot over the band I have seen a whole lot.

Me playing at a charitable campaign thing at work in 2006 along with Shawn.

Here’s some interesting stats as of today and twenty years of concert going.  This post goes out to my good buddy Mike who was at most of those concerts with me!

New Year’s party with Mike’s dad Bruce.  I’m not entire sure what the name of the band was at this point, but he’s been playing with the same group of guys since high school.  Pretty impressive!

Arcade Fire – 2007 in Montreal.  The entire arena was general admission and Mike and I did not realize until we showed up!  Not cool for getting seats together!  Ha ha.

Name of Band                                   Number of times I’ve seen them

Sam Roberts Band                           19

Our Lady Peace                                 12

The Tea Party                                    9

The Trews                                           8

I Mother Earth                                  6

Pearl Jam                                            6

U2                                                          6

The Smashing Pumpkins              6

Theory of a Deadman                    6

Wide Mouth Mason                       6

Live                                                        5

Matt Mays                                          5

The Tragically Hip                            5

Metric                                                  5

Nickelback                                          5

Three Days Grace                            5

Finger Eleven                                    5

Wintersleep                                      4

Blue Rodeo                                        4

John Fogerty – 2007 at Bluesfest

After seeing this list, here’s some stray observations:

  • Seeing Sam Roberts Band 19 times seems a little incredible, but sure enough, after I perused the list, I can remember every concert. Good times have been had with this band!
  • The majority of the bands are Canadian which considering I live in Canada, makes a whole lot of sense.
  • While Pearl Jam is of my top 3 bands right now, it was a long time (2005!) before I got to see them live. So I have some catching up to do.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins haven’t been around my neck of the woods a whole lot but I’ve tried over the years to see them as much as possible.
  • It’s interesting to see some bands that just don’t exist any longer vs. newer bands that I just really love to see (like Wintersleep)

Thornley at Hope Volleyball 2008

Venues                                                                                Number of times in that venue

Scotiabank Place/Corel Center/CTC        74

Centre Bell/Molson                                       26

Capital Music Hall                                           21

Ottawa Civic Center/TD Place                    20

Barrymore’s                                                       19

Ottawa Congress Center                              12

Molson Ampitheatre                                     11

Bronson Center                                                7

National Arts Center                                      7

Air Canada Center                                           5

Parc Jean-Drapeau                                          4

Maple Leaf Gardens                                       4

Mavericks                                                           3

Centerpointe Theatre                                   3

Massey Hall                                                       3

Algonquin College Commons Theatre   2


This one is for my girl – Def Leppard in 2008 at the Scotiabank Place.


  • Wow, that is a lot of arena priced beers being consumed!
  • Look at how many times the name of the Ottawa hockey arena has changed!
  • Barrymore’s was definitely one of the better venues to see a band. Capital Music Hall…not so much!

Live at Bluesfest -2009

Years of activity                                Number of times

1996                                       2

1997                                       4

1998                                       14

1999                                       12

2000                                       25

2001                                       8

2002                                       5

2003                                       21

2004                                       12

2005                                       29

2006                                       17

2007                                       22

2008                                       22

2009                                       54

2010                                       33

2011                                       29

2012                                       45

2013                                       27

2014                                       42

2015                                       50

2016                                       6

2017                                       14 (so far)

AC Lighning bolt DC – Ottawa 2009


  • Live acts really started to show u in Ottawa from 2005 and onwards.
  • 2009 seems a little crazy with 54 concerts!  I must have been out more with Mike than I was with Vero that year!


Pearl Jam at the Molson Ampitheatre 2009

Festivals                                                                                               Number of times at the festival

Bluesfest                                                                                             11

HOPE Volleyball                                                                              6

Festival of Spring (this is also known as Tulip Festival)  4

Ottawa Folk Festival/CityFolk                                                    3

Osheaga                                                                                              2

CUPE Local 503 – Rock for Public Servants                            2

Summersault                                                                                     2

Ottawa Dragon Boat                                                                       1


Metallica at the Scotiabank Place in 2009


  • Those are a lot of Bluesfest beers being consumed!
  • Man, I miss HOPE Volleyball. They had the best weather this year.
  • Folk festival is quickly overtaking Bluesfest for my favourite festival.

Roger Waters – Scotiabank Place in 2010

Random stats:

  • First concert: Technically Grant Lee Buffalo who opened for the Smashing Pumpkins on September 14, 1996 in Toronto.
  • First concert in Ottawa: The Tea Party at the Congress Center
  • First concert at Barrymore’s: The Gandharvas and Holly McNarland. I remember that concert specifically because I so afraid of being in the crowd that I sat up away from the floor section.  That was quickly changed later on.  I also remember having a ‘no beer policy’ as I wanted to take it all in with a sober mind.  That thought process changed over the years!
  • First concert at the Corel Center: Everclear and Our Lady Peace – January 16, 1998.
  • Last concert at Canadian Tire Center: Pearl Jam – May 8, 2016
  • Songs I’ve heard the most live: 4am, Clumsy and Superman’s Dead (all tied for 12 times heard), Brother Down (11 times)

Mike and I playing at the Legion – 2010

It’s important to note what I consider ‘a concert’, in terms of adding it to  This especially applies to festivals.  If I have seen at least one song by a band, I mark it down.  It falls into the realm of “Hey, have you seen that band?”.  I don’t think Vero necessarily agrees with my methodology, but I’m sticking with it.  I don’t want to say “Ah, I never saw Delicate Steve because I only saw him play three tunes.”  It’s also important to note that my numbers are way off because in choosing the photos for this post, I stumbled upon a Matt Mays concert that I saw at Bluesfest but never marked it down!  Sweet!

U2 in Montreal – 2011

It’s been a good ride and while I may be taking a breather for now, I can’t wait for the day when Sierra says “Hey Dad, can you bring me to this concert?”

Let’s end it off with a legend…Paul McCartney in Montreal 2011.  That show brought me to tears at the end of it.  That’s the power of live music.  Here’s to another 500!



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