Despite living just a block away Mark and I finally went to our first show at the 13-month old K-ROCK Centre this past weekend to see "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" tour. While the show was clearly designed for girls aged 12-16 (the men spent most of their time without shirts on and all dances lasted no more than 45 seconds) it was a fun time, with a handful of stunning routines amidst a cacophany of screeching teens. As it was the last night on the tour the dancers were a little sloppy but the winning dancer, Nico, was truly the star. You not only missed him when he was not on stage you were electrified when he was. There may have been better dancers in the competition but Nico is an extraordinary entertainer with grace and power on stage. Unlike the U.S. verson's Benji, for example, he is not campy and silly but a virile and sexy yet eloquent dancer. He deserves the praise heaped on him, and his good looks and charisma certainly help his star quality.
I am so very tired of the legions of Kingstonians who do nothing but heap scorn on the K-ROCK Centre (in their wit, they prefer to call it the CROCK Centre). There are few, if any businesses of any type which reach planned financial results in the first year of operations. And as for parking, folks in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal could only dream to be able to park free just one block away from an entartainment complex. Or, heck, to park for $8 close by! Our back windows face the Food Basics parking lot and our street is packed with cars on events nights, and rare is the night when both don't empty out within 15 minutes of the show closing. When I last saw U2 at Scotiabank Place (formerly the Corel Centre) it took 25 minutes just to leave the parking lot.
At the "So You Think" event the whole gang of women behind us drove in from Montreal to see the show. They loved the comparative intimacy of the venue and how close and cheap (!) everything was to the downtown core. The night of the packed Anne murray concert the area was lined with tour buses of patrons from other cities in Ontario, Quebec, and New York state. As for criticisms of the artists booked to date, a venue can only book whoever is touring at the moment who also wishes to perform in 5,000-seat arenas. Some acts are too small and some acts are too large. Furthermore, a successful business plan requires repeat patrons and it is only reasonable that the majority of entertainment acts booked to date (Bob Dylan, Bryan Adams, Brooks & Dunn, Leonard Cohen, Anne Murray, Il Divo, Rankin Family, kd lang, Neil Young, Celtic Thunder, etc) happen to fit perfectly with Kingston's actual demographics. Recent momentum suggests that the K-ROCK Centre is growing its profile amongst booking agents and performers/entertainers/events companies and will be offering events that meet an array of tastes and budgets.