Massey Hall is certainly a place that you have to go and see once in your lifetime! It’s a large but intimate venue to see a show. Here are some of the greats who have ventured and visited the grand lady, Frank Zappa, Winston Churchill, Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Sir Edward Elgar, Toscanini, George Gershwin, Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould, the Dalai Lama and Maria Callas.
The first concert I saw there was with my older brother Tim and we saw Devo. Yes, that is correct Devo and what a show it was but I’ll tell you all later about that one!
I use to work directly across the street on the third floor. I was a jeweller back then and boy some of the things that I saw crawl out after a show was hilarious. Our shop was directly facing the outside fire escape of Massey Hall and one day some lovers started to go at it, right in front of our eyes! We all decided to get some hastily hand made score cards and you should have seen them fly down the fire escape, priceless!
One day around noon, I looked out the window and saw the regular, everyday activities. Then 5 minutes later I saw a few people with red hats and jackets coming out of Massey Hall. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Then it grew and grew and grew till it looked like little worker ants walking around the street, everywhere. It was a convention of the Salvation Army workers and this picture comes to mind every time I walk by it.
It was built in 1894 for the Massey family and has seen many fabulous acts inside the hallowed hall. It was the site of the worlds best live jazz album ever recorded in many jazz lovers eyes! It was the Charlie Parker-Dizzy Gillespie concert May 1953. The album recorded was called Jazz at Massey Hall. The thing was that hardly anyone was in attendance. That same night there was a boxing show in another legendary venue down the street called Maple Leaf Gardens so everyone went there in stead, silly idiots!
So if you are just walking around Yonge at Shutter street, look down Shutter until you see the great gal and tip your hat to her!
Keep on Jammin’