Venue Countdown #10 – The Halifax Metro Centre

Pearl Jam in Halifax This is a venue that has its pros and cons, and arguments could be made for and against why it should be on our list at all, but the fact is it was a place that made each of our individual top 10 lists and the history of artists that have graced the stage along merit it being #10 on our venue countdown.

The Halifax Metro Center is the biggest indoor venue in the region and has hosted some of the biggest names in music, and while it may not have the acoustic prowess of The Rebecca Cohen, or an enjoyable bathroom experience, it’s the line up and its location that will have it firmly on our list.  Personally, this is the first actual venue I attended for my first concert, but I was no stranger to the Metro Centre by that time, as some of my favorite memories involve the Halifax Voyageurs, CItadels and Oilers.  Before it was a music venue for me, it was a Hockey Arena (I also saw my beloved New Jersey Devils grace the ice in Martin Brodeur’s rookie year).  My mom scored a pair of tickets to see Richard Marx and Wilson Phillips, my father not being a big concert guy balked and I was asked if I wanted to go (an opportunity I jumped all over).

It would be a few more years before I bought tickets to my first concert sans parental chaperones, but when The Tragically Hip came touring Day for Night I snatched up a pair of tickets for myself and the girl I was seeing at the time,  We got to the arena, found our seats and settled in.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, we were located behind a row of Hell’s Angels (and if not Angels, a row of burly biker folks who had a stack of rolling papers and a Ziploc loaded with a Snoop Dogg quantity of herb. From the opening chords of the Change of Heart set to the end of the Hip, they smoked a great deal of their stash leaving me with not only a case of tinnitus but a very strong contact high (everything was at about 10x its normal speed – so yes, everyone sounded like Chipmunks).  I remember very little of that drive home, other than the girlfriend’s mother was incessant with her barrage of questions and I was doing little more than keeping my shit together.

In the years since, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Pearl Jam, Prince, Van Morrison, The Hip (a few more times), Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Ozzy Osbourne and the Stone Temple Pilots.  It’s very rarely been an experience I left with a sour taste in my mouth.  It’s a good place to see a show – it’s not my favorite, but it’s a venue I’ll gladly attend again and again.

Protip: Section 8 and 22 will always be my preferred sections in rows F and higher.

Billy Talent - Sept 8, 2007

About the author


A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.