Last Thursday night was a great evening for reminiscing as I sat at SaskTel Centre watching and listening to what was billed as the “greatest country band in history”, Alabama. I had missed the fact that one of the three original members, Jeff Cook, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a while ago and wasn’t on the tour with Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen. They had a third microphone set up on stage and at the start I thought maybe Cook was going to come on after a song or two for some reason that would become apparent. He was the lead guitarist as well as the fiddle and keyboard player in the band and I can’t even imagine how devastating it must be to not be able to play any more due to Parkinson’s. The replacement musicians did an admirable job as Owen and Gentry went through more than an hour and a half of Alabama hits. They couldn’t possibly play them all considering they had dozens of songs that topped the country charts in their heyday during the 1980’s. As I watched and listened I thought about so many great concerts that have come to SaskTel Centre since it opened in 1988 as Saskatchewan Place. Time sure does fly. The venue that opened to a lot of fanfare, and some criticism due to its location, 30 years ago is now aging and dated and either needs some serious upgrades and renovations or else we need to build a brand new arena somewhere downtown. That’s a whole other topic for discussion. For now I’ll just think back on some great musical memories, a few that were rekindled Thursday night with Alabama.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.