"Action, action! Read all about it!"
Ask any Canadian classic rock music fan about their favourite songs from Kenny Shields and Streetheart and chances are they’ll respond with "Action". The legendary band, which formed in Winnipeg around 1976 but got its start in Regina, is also widely known for their rock radio hits "Hollywood", "Snow White", "One More Time", "What Kind of Love is This", "Tin Soldier" as well as their powerful rendition of the Stone’s classic "Under My Thumb".
Much to the delight of their fans in Westman and southeastern Saskatchewan, they’ll be playing all of those selections and much more when the town of Virden welcomes them in the first of what hopes to be an annual "summer concert event."
As announced on 96.1 BOB FM during BOB’s Breakfast recently, tickets will go on sale this Saturday but according to Virden community events planner Ray Walker, the plans have been in place for quite a while now.
"We originally were in conversations with another Canadian band who got their start on the Prairies but they had some scheduling conflicts as we were planning for a Canada Day event," he said.
"That didn’t pan but we had the makings of a show — just needed a band. We kicked around a few names — thought we needed a great Canadian group. Streetheart was truly the only choice we considered."
The "summer concert event," as it’s billed, will take place in Tundra Oil & Gas Place on Saturday, June 14. Walker says this concert will be the second inside this fantastic facility.
"When the arena opened back in 2011, the live show that opened the building was a CMT touring show. It was well attended, but we’ve come a long way since that event," he said.
"We can seat 1,200 and maybe another couple hundred on the ice surface, so it’ll be a pretty good time for the 35+ types who remember this fantastic group. I would expect a lot of singing and dancing from the people who come to the show."
Walker and the town planning council will also continue to utilize the different areas of the venue to make it as multi-faceted as is possible.
"We hope to showcase a great dry floor event centre as well as an ice arena. We definitely hope to hold more arena events even in the winter as we work towards acquiring an ice surface cover for concerts, trade shows, etc.
"Virden is so central between Winnipeg, Brandon, and Regina — we’d love to be able to accommodate more events in the future."
Other than throwing a great party at the arena, Walker says there are several important goals to achieve that will serve many area residents for many years to come,
"We do hope to raise funds to assist in a number of community projects, including the second phase of Tundra Place which would see the curling club attached to our main arena."
The Streetheart concert will be akin to a giant social, although it will start a tad earlier than most events of a social-party nature.
"There is bar service available during the concert only," Walker said. "There will also be a local band that we’re lining up to get the party started. They’ll go on at 8 p.m. and provide some stellar classic rock covers to set the tone for the evening.
"Kenny and the boys will go one around 9:30 and I think their set is close to two hours. So we should know every single song and I expect to see a lot of dancing in the area close to the stage."
Walker says the staging, sound and lighting will be at the pro rank arena level.
"We have been promised a fantastic presentation from Jimi Kinsmen whose company has been responsible for some incredible arena and festival shows here in Manitoba."
For those wanting to purchase tickets and Walker says they’re happy to announce a perfect partnership for ticket distribution, the on-sale will be Saturday April 12.
"We’ve partnered with the Virden Oil Capitals to sell the tickets thru their website — oilcapshockey.com."
Future shows will be in the cards if things go well with this upcoming show. Walker and the rest of Virden’s event planning committee are quite excited about it, "considering that Streetheart likely hasn’t played an arena show in Manitoba in a long time.
"I think the staging, the lighting, and the sound — not to mention all those classic hits provided by these legendary rockers — will provide for a phenomenal evening!"
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.