Great Big Sea deserves better

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I'm a little embarrassed.There are still tickets available for Great Big Sea's 20th anniversary show at Mile One.

The Centre at Casino New Brunswick - SOLD OUT!

The Halifax Metro Centre - SOLD OUT!

Mile One Centre, according to the band's website, BUY TICKETS.

Buy tickets to a show in Great Big Sea's home rink? And only half the arena, the Molson Ampitheater, at that!

I remember a time not so long ago when a ticket to a Great Big Sea show in St. John's was gold.

Some might say they play here all the time and there's no urgency to catch them now, but if the band didn't perform here at least once a year, the same people would argue they don't play here enough.

It's impossible for Great Big Sea to win, and I believe we've started taking them for granted.

I mean, is not selling out half of Mile One for a 20th-anniversary show how we show our appreciation for what Alan, Bob and Sean have done for Newfoundland and its music scene over the past two decades?

And that's not to mention all the great tunes and times they've given us.

There are very few Newfound- landers who haven't sung or hummed at least one Great Big Sea song, whether alone in their car or among a chorus at a bar or party.

Geez, if you've attended a wedding in the past 15 years, you've danced to "The Night Pat Murphy Died"or "Excursion Around the Bay."

Tens of thousands of us have memories (or a partial recollection) of a Great Big Christmas, a Great Big Picnic, a Salmon Festival show or that mega set to welcome North America to the new millennium as the calender changed from 1999 to 2000.

Even if you're not a fan of Great Big Sea's music or have never seen them live, you still have to applaud and respect their accomplishments and longevity.

No other band from Newfoundland and Labrador has enjoyed this kind of success or sustained ride in the fickle business of Canadian music.

And, arguably, no other musical act from this province has paved the way for other bands and performers like Great Big Sea has.

Without GBS, the road would have been much rougher for bands like Hey Rosetta! and The Novaks.

And then there's the contribution Great Big Sea makes as ambassadors for this province.

They've introduced Newfoundland and Labrador, and made the province cool, to hundreds of thousands.

They've done that through music, humour and a high-energy live show, avoiding all the stereotypes like sou'westers and accents.

Few before them - whether in politics, entertainment or sports - have been able to do that.

I know mainlanders who love Great Big Sea, and I've even heard of people who have moved to the province because of the band.

Still, despite all Alan, Bob and Sean have accomplished, we don't oblige them with a full house at their 20th anniversary show, a concert getting rave reviews nationally.

That hits a sour note with me.

We back our own better than that.

Get tickets for Mile One April 27. I hear she'll be going up.

Email Steve Bartlett at Follow his tweets at @TelegramSteve.

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Recent comments

  • Stripes
    May 19, 2013 - 09:14

    I lived in Newfoundland for 6 years, married a wonderful lady from there and visit lots. I don't understand why many Newfoundlanders are so negative about others success, instead of celebrating with them. By the way we have enjoyed many of GBS performances at different venues and never paid less than $60. We go because we enjoy their music, and if you don't enjoy it, stay home they probably don't want you there bringing everyone else down.

  • paulSt.John's
    April 15, 2013 - 13:38

    What a shocking thing!! People should support bands that are from here. They can always wear ear plugs if they don't like the music. Tsk Tsk

  • David Kennedy
    April 11, 2013 - 07:57

    Steve,I go to a concert if I like the music.I don't go because the band may or may not have contributed to enhancing the brand of some community or movement. It's about music! That's all.And I am not a fan of Great Big Sea.I go see Bob Dylan because I love his music.I go see Cohen because i love his music.I go see the Waterboys because I love their music.They are supposed to be musicians,entertainers,not Public Relations people.If the music does not draw me,I do not go.

    • Mike
      April 11, 2013 - 13:19

      Hear hear, David Kennedy. What's odd is that you had to explain that.

  • Mike
    April 10, 2013 - 21:11

    So going to see GBS is like going to church now? An obligation? Oh please. Steve Bartlett re-writes capitalism - story at 11.

    April 10, 2013 - 11:27

    I am originally from the Island, and have travelled all through Canada, and the States. Because of GBS I have met some wonderful people at their concerts that I am now privilaged to call them friends. People from New York, Chicago, Pensilvania (sp), Buffalo, and the list goes on,,,,, Of this group many of us now travel to many venues in different provinces and States to attend the concerts. Example, friends from Buffalo are flying into St. John's for the concert!!! GBS has given many of us wonderful memories. And for that I am very thankful... As for the comment on Pricing,,,,, tickets at Mile One are $60 each,,,, I am attending the SOLD OUT SHOW in Hamilton tonight,, and paid over $120 each,,, so no,,, tickets at home,, in their home Province are better priced.. as they should be. GBS has given those of us away from home a place and and evening for us to celebrate our heritage with our friends from Up-A-Long... They have helped give understanding why we miss home so terribly to those that have never been. And on those nights,, those glorious nights,, it makes us feel like we are at home one more time. Show your support for our Home Town Boys!!

  • Abner
    April 10, 2013 - 11:10

    Love it when media criticize people for not buying tickets for events. Meanwhile, many journos don't pay because they can flash a media pass or their employer has complementary VIP seating.

  • Steve
    April 10, 2013 - 10:24

    How much are tickets to those other 2 shows versus the one at Mile One? I never looked but bet more here. Who wants to be robbed by a fellow NLers? Not me.

  • Donny Dooley
    April 10, 2013 - 09:48

    And this story is sponsored by Great Big Sea.