Mt. Pearl Review
Mt. Pearl Picnic Review
by Perry Kendall

Perry recounts the events of the day that The Great Big Picnic hit Newfoundland,
the day was shared with his wife, Maxeen (Maxx) and their friend Lyne.

[The Great Big] Picnic Day & the 3:00pm opening time couldn't come fast enough! To have both Great Big Sea & Blue Rodeo play in my home town of Mount Pearl, Nfld. felt like a great honour! The weather was fantastic; 25 deg C, no wind & not a cloud in the sky ... perfect. At 3:00 sharp we headed out, Maxx, Lyne & I and our freinds Keith & Nadine ... the concert site was only a 5 min. drive from our house so in no time we were walking onto the Track & Field Complex (which ironically 25 years ago was the site of the town dump where I used to hunt rats!). First up were the local band "Timber" followed by Boston boys, "Guster". These fellows were quite good, with a unique sound. The L.A. band "Los Lobos" followed up with a set that lasted over an hour. I wasn't overly impressed with 'em, but Maxx & Lyne seemed to enjoy their stuff! They managed to speak with Kim Deschamps before the Los Lobos set and apparently he played with 'em during their set!! I didn't notice I guess I spent a bit of time in the Beer Garden during this one! Maxx says Kim is a hellofva guy!

After a short break, our faves Blue Rodeo took the stage and played a solid hour-and-a-half of music that sent us all into the statosphere! What can I say but awesome! The only blemish (more for the guys in B.R.) was that a couple of idiots near the front of the stage decided to have a physical disagreement during B.R.'s set. Jim called 'em down for their lack of maturity & Greg challenged 'em by saying, "I'll take ya on!!" ... he meant it too!!

Anyhow, were were all too busy having a good time (wildly dancing & singing) to remember the set list ... maybe some other board members who were there can help me out here?? By the time B.R. finished, a good ole St. John's fog had rolled in over the site, as if knowing that Nfld's fave sons G.B.S. would soon be taking the stage ... ironic don't cha think? Needles to say, playing before a hometown crowd, the place went nuts as soon as the opening dit, dit dits of Morse code signalled the arrival of G.B.S. The light show thru the fog added a special touch. I wish I had a dollar for every time Alan Doyle said, "It's great to be home!"

Well, the highlight of both the Stardust & Great Big Picnics as every one knows, is the encore with both Blue Rodeo & Great Big Sea on the stage together! Hearing Greg sing about the "George Street Queen" during his verse of "Old Black Rum" was great. Also the fact that he let Alan Doyle take a verse of his most personal song "Home" says a lot about his generous character ... more about this in a minute!

Anyhoo ... after all was said & done, Maxx & Lyne fetched me from the side lines where I was dutifully guarding the knapsacks & we proceeded to see if the gals could find their way back to meet the guys. They forged on ahead with me bringing up the rear laden with cargo (I'm NOT exaggerating here folks!) By this time I was pretty knackered with my brain slowly shutting down after all the excitement, but I knew how much it meant to the other two, so I gamely trudged onward. After a short hike thru a couple of paths behind the ball field & bowling alley we came across the security area where the bands were. Maxx & Lyne went up to the gate and I hung back wandering around, as these kinds of encounters make me slightly uncomfortable ... I was happy to let the girls have their fun ...

After about 15 mins. I heard someone call my name from the vicinity of the gate and hurried back as fast as the knapsacks (an my poor tired brain) would allow. Before I knew it, someone (Maxx or Lyne, I'm not sure) was shoving a camera in my hand & saying, "Here, you take a picture". A tall guy in a rather garish Disco-ball cowboy hat walked by me, put am arm around both Maxx & Lyne and led them down to where the tour bus was parked, away from the small crowd that had gathered at the gate. Stupidly I followed, with camera in hand, only just then realizing (I was in a near-coma at this point), that "cowboy hat" was Greg Keelor himself!

The three stood by the bus ... I thanked "Mr. Keelor" for doing this for my wife and blindly snapped the photo ... it's only sheer luck that it turned out! Greg then left to take care of other things & so did we. That's pretty much it as far as I remember. I had to tether the girls & tow 'em back to the car!