Remember concerts? 10 BC Place Stadium shows to make you pine for the big gigs

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      It's still unclear how 2021 will pan out as far as live music goes in Vancouver. 

      Will the COVID-19 pandemic result in the continued cancellation and/or postponement of concerts, as happened here last year?

      Or will the recent rollout of vaccines and future ramping-up of immunizations stem the tide of the disease to the point where it will be deemed safe for music-lovers to gather and have their socks rocked off?

      It isn't looking too good at the moment, considering B.C.'s COVID-19 case counts in January, but winter won't last forever. There's always hope that things will turn around by summer. Or fall. Or 2022, at least.

      In the meantime, for those pining for the days when the old normal meant joining up with 40,000 other fun-loving folks bent on rocking out, here's excerpts from reviews I wrote of 10 B.C. Place concerts over the years.

      Maybe they'll jog a pleasant memory or two.

      Guns N' Roses, September 1, 2017: "...the Gunners did not disappoint. Sure, Rose’s vocals were nothing to screech about, but who cares when you can focus on the still-amazing guitar histrionics of Slash. I never get tired of hearing that top-hatted rascal rip up the fretboard. And thanks to three huge, state-of-the-art video screens, there were constant closeups of his muscular digits doing the damage on an array of gorgeous Les Pauls. Heck, you could even see the glowing green eyes of the skulls on the rings inhabiting his picking hand. Emeralds, I’m gonna guess."

      Paul McCartney, November 25, 2012: "The Beatles tunes chosen tended, obviously, towards the ones McCartney sang lead on and/or had the main role in composing, the universal 'Lennon-McCartney' songwriting credit notwithstanding. But he didn’t forget his old bandmates, inserting a snippet of John Lennon’s 'Give Peace a Chance' into 'A Day in the Life', and pulling out the ukulele George Harrison once gave him for a version of the latter’s beloved Abbey Road hit, 'Something'. There was no mention at all of Ringo Starr, although the famously affable drummer’s happy-go-lucky spirit was felt in the positive vibes put out by McCartney’s ace skin-basher, Abe Laboriel Jr."

      Roger Waters, May 26, 20212: "Apart from the much bigger wall—and the additional 22 video projectors required to fill it with the biting sociopolitical imagery Waters is known for—not much else seemed different from the 2010 show. The highlights were the same, including the part during 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' when a group of kids wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the message FEAR BUILDS WALLS railed against a giant puppet teacher wielding a pointer. And the video shown during 'Bring the Boys Back Home' of children breaking down when their returning soldier dads surprise them in their classrooms is still as heart-wrenching as ever."

      Pink Floyd, June 25, 1994: "Near the start of the set, during the soaring 'Learning to Fly', the group kicked in its legendary laser show. Green and yellow blasts of pure brilliance tore across the expanse of the stadium, and the beams looked solid enough to walk on. They came to a searing point just above the folks in the nosebleed seats, who were lucky that there were no miscalculations made by Pink Floyd’s Technical Director of Where the Lasers Gotta Go."

      The Rolling Stones, November 1, 1989: "...perhaps the most impressive part of the Stones’ show was the performance of the band itself–and in particular that of Jagger. All the fancy effects and classy tunes in the world could have been for naught if those songs weren’t performed with the verve and style that the Stones are famous for. Jagger strutted and pranced through every song, displaying a rippling stomach that men half his age would envy. Guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood were happy to hang out in front of Charlie Watts’ vintage drum-kit, smoking ciggies and stumbling around while casually chopping away at their axes. Bassist Bill Wyman, the oldest Stone at 53, kept to himself at stage left, expressionless and still."

      AC/DC, June 13, 1988: "With steel-throated screamer Brian Johnson roaming the stage like a brawny thug in sleeveless denim jacket and cloth cap, the band belted its way through songs of sex ('You Shook Me All Night Long', 'The Jack'), rock ‘n’ roll ('Let There Be Rock', 'That’s the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll'), and the place you might end up if you have too much of both ('Highway to Hell', 'Hell’s Bells'). Angus did his obligatory mooning of the crowd on 'Jailbreak'–a quick down-and-up of the shorts that you’d have missed if you blinked–before playing a solo on his back while his kicking little legs spun him around in a circle."

      David Bowie, August 15, 1987: "At about 10 o’clock the 35,000 fans finally got what they’d been waiting so long for, and as the lights went down Bowie’s spikey-haired rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar came strolling out, knocking off Van Halen-type guitar licks, while a voice from the scaffolding high above kept yelling, 'Shut up!' That voice belonged to Bowie himself, who descended from the belly of a huge, translucent, glowing spider while reciting the poetic opening lines of the song 'Glass Spider'. Dressed in an oversized red jumpsuit and matching suede boots, the 40-year-old pop star was joined by the rest of his band and five dancers."

      Bon Jovi, July 3, 1987: "[Jon Bon Jovi] also called out a few friends, namely Bob Rock (who engineered the LP) and a couple of Loverboys, who jammed along with members of his opening band, Cinderella. When it was all over the fans sidled out, many in the direction of the Metro, which was throwing 'The Official Bon Jovi Afterparty' with the Killer Dwarfs."

      Van Halen, October 23, 1987: "Sammy Hagar must have worn an inch off his sneakers, running back and forth along gangplanks set high above the stage. He would hang precariously off the rigging and swing around like a skinny blonde Tarzan while singing songs from his own solo albums like 'There’s Only One Way to Rock' and 'I Can’t Drive 55'. At one point a bearded Eddie Van Halen sat down at the edge of the stage, lit a cigarette, and played a few licks of 'Classical Gas' before heading off into a raucous blues jam."

      The Jacksons, November 16, 1984: "As expected, Michael Jackson stole the show from his brothers, spinning, leaping, and ‘moonwalking’ to the tune of 'Beat It' and 'Billy Jean'–from his multiplatinum album Thriller–and other songs from his years in the Jackson Five. Two of the show’s most magical moments were the opening segment–in which four computer-controlled 'Kreetons' (camel-like monsters) prowled the stage in a medieval 'Sword in the Stone' fantasy skit–and Michael’s vanishing trick, in which he was corralled into a silver box by two huge, black automated spiders and then lifted into the air and blown up–only to reappear on a platform stage left."