Toronto rocks with the Stones…but throws tantrums at Canadian cable net

Jul 30, 2003 by Ian Evans

It’s a beautiful, hot, sunny day in Toronto and almost half a million people are at the mega-concert meant to show the world that Toronto is ready for business after fighting the SARS health crisis.

The all-day mega-concert features an impressive lineup of talent: Dan Aykroyd and Have Love Will Travel Revue, Sam Roberts, Kathleen Edwards, La Chicane, The Tea Party, The Flaming Lips, Sass Jordan and Jeff Healey, The Isley Brothers, Blue Rodeo, Justin Timberlake, The Guess Who, Rush, AC/DC and, of course, the Rolling Stones.

Of course, not everyone was able to attend the concert in person and planned to watch the 11 hours of coverage being promoted by Canadian cable network MuchMoreMusic. The cable channel said they’d have “…performance highlights, backstage interviews and more! It’s the next best thing to being there!”

The message boards on MuchMoreMusic’s website were filled with messages from angry viewers who felt the advertising was deceptive. Many who tuned in at noon expected to be able to see a live concert coverage experience like the one they experienced in the 1980’s with Live Aid. Instead the cabler offered them only a few minutes of concert coverage per hour, mixed in with audience interviews, documentaries and videos by the performing acts. (See our poll.)

Both MuchMoreMusic and Canada’s national network, CBC, planned to air live footage of the Stones and other highlights of the day starting at 9 p.m. ET.