Years ago, thousands had gathered for a concert at what was then called Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. The lights went way down creating an almost complete dark void in the arena.

As thousands waited, the darkness was pierced by the nearly deafening sound of bells.

It was a memorable and reverberating entrance for the band that took the stage – AC/DC.

The bells led straight into Hells Bells, a song by the famed Australian band. So the intro was appropriate.

Not every detail of the concert is remembered all too well for some reason, but we do recall a great time was had, and the bells will never be forgotten.

They’re probably still ringing somewhere in the recesses of our mind because the sound came back as clear as a bell, you might say, with the news over the weekend that Malcolm Young – one of the founders of AC/DC – had died at the age of 64.

It’s curious how the passing of a musician – someone you don’t know and have never met – can affect a person. It’s almost like losing a friend and a little piece of your youth.

And of course, it is also a testament to the enduring power of music.

For many people, music has a mysterious way of creating milestones in their lives.

That could be because of a favourite song during a person’s youth, a song that offered inspiration through a difficult time, or an amazing concert.

There are concerts that have created some of our greatest memories. But they don’t have to be shows by big-time stars in front of many thousands of fans. One of the best concerts we ever saw was by a band called George Thorogood and The Destroyers in front of just over 900 people.

And so this little nostalgic journey into the distant past brings us back to the present and the soon-to-be completed new recreation centre in Hay River.

While most people will undoubtedly think of sports for that new facility, we also think of the possibilities for attracting musical acts to our community.

It has happened in the past. A former recreation director once told us that Colin James, Nazareth, Trooper and Prism played in the dearly-departed arena.

While many younger people have probably never heard of those performers, they had national and international followings in their heydays. And who knows, they still may be playing is a casino somewhere.

Perhaps the new recreation centre can be used to attract some of today’s popular performers to Hay River, or maybe some of the legends or up-and-coming acts.

Now, we have to say, if you have read this opinion before, please forgive us. We think we made the case for concerts at the rec centre once before, but a search of The Hub’s archives failed to find it.

It’s curious we can’t recall if we wrote such an editorial a couple of years ago, but a concert from many years past is unforgettable.

Hopefully, such lasting memories of music – not just sports – can also be made at the new Rec Centre.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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