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La Presse, August 27, 1977 - 2

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Article Source:

La Presse


Claude Marsolais

Contributed by:

Sylvie Turgeon and James Hatch


"The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth..."

By 08:15 PM, there were already 70,000 settled into the stadium, preparing themselves mentally and physically to receive the first musical vibrations from the most popular band around: Emerson Lake & Palmer.

A large group of young people had spent the afternoon on the outside lawn waiting for the doors to open in order to get the best seats and be as close as possible to their musical idols.

On the field of the stadium, one hour after the doors had opened, thousands of youths already had their nests set up around a blow-up mattress or a blanket. It was at this level that the excitement was at its highest.

They were all grouped together as if they were getting ready for a long siege. Bottles of wine, glasses of beer, chips, popcorn tightly surrounded the spectators. Others were quickly inhaling a last hot-dog before the proceedings began.

Under the influence of that little smoke cloud, the eyes of the thousands of teenagers were surprisingly red. One could compare them to a bunch of rabbits.

Well before the first notes were performed, several lightly staggered, taken away somewhere unknown under a gray sky.

An omnipresent group of security people was keeping an attentive eye on the on-goings, ready to intervene at the first sight of disorder. But the crowd was docile, one could not sense the most minute feeling of aggression.

However, at the entrance of the stadium things were different as several people tried to enter the stadium without a ticket at 10 dollars apiece. There were a few punches thrown and security finally decided to lock the main exits.

By 08:50, the crowd had grown to 80,000, with 30,000 on the field, and the fans were starting to grow a bit impatient and started to call on their idols. As if they were waiting for a signal, the accompanying musicians, all dressed in blue shirts, started to settle into their respective position on stage.

Then, suddenly, without any signal, all the stadium lights were turned off. And, out of everywhere, small improvised flames sparked throughout the place. At the 700 level, one had the impression of flying over a city at high altitude in the middle of the night. It was a very impressive and intense moment that lasted for at least one minute.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the stadium idols appeared under a flood of lights and started performing their first notes. Touched, someone in the crowd launched a firework. It was the sign that things had begun, all eyes turned towards the three stars.

©1977 La Presse. All rights reserved.