“Our Little Arena in Thunder Bay”

Ten years ago today I was in the exact same place as I am right now – my parents’ house in Toronto – and in all likelihood trying to avoid doing schoolwork by reading the old Pearl Jam Synergy message board in search of any news on the band’s forthcoming Canadian tour. Rumours were rampant – they always are when Pearl Jam’s about to make any sort of announcement – but ten years ago today I stumbled across the wackiest Pearl Jam-related rumour yet:

I think that this Canadian tour thing just might happen, and it may be more cities than we would expect. Our little 3000 seat arena in Thunder Bay, ON was contacted by Pearl Jam management. They wanted to know about the capacity and availability of the arena. Unfortunately, I couldn’t squeeze any dates out of my source, as he knows that I’ll be on here right away.

At the time I wrote: “Pearl Jam at the Fort William Gardens. Now…okay. I know this is very much a rumour and that the chances of it ever coming to fruition are negligible – but wow. Wow, wow, wow. Pearl Jam at the Fort William Gardens? If for some reason this were to happen–and believe me, I’m not counting on it in the least – it would have to represent some sort of culmination of my being.” And then later, “Pearl Jam in Thunder Bay. The mind boggles.”

I woke up eleven days later to a Canadian tour announcement in my inbox – and on Friday, September 9 I saw my favourite band in my hometown in a building where I practically grew up. Ten years ago today my ultimate rock n’ roll fantasy started coming true.


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