It was the concert that broke Ivor Wynne stadium.

In 1975, the legendary Pink Floyd brought one of the biggest rock shows in the world to Hamilton — and hordes of people came.

"It was crazy," said Dave Elley, who was at the show. "People were camping on front lawns, on porches — even in trees."

"It was like that Hitchcock movie The Birds, except people were the birds."


This is the last year at historic Ivor Wynne Stadium. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

It was the only time Pink Floyd played in Hamilton, drawing deep and playing hits from across their expansive catalogue.

While the amassed crowd of about 55,000 was appreciative, neighbours were less so. Ivor Wynne's residential location quickly became a huge headache.

Neighbours complained about the sorts of things you'd expect from a rock show of that size — public drunkenness, lewd behavior, drug use, and massive crowds.

"Residents were really upset about the mess and the people," Elley said. "I don't think the city was prepared for the amount of people that showed up."

Hamilton Radio personality Jamie "Gunner" Smith was living on Mayflower Street back then — just a block away from Ivor Wynne.

He was very young at the time, and doesn't remember much of the show. "But I do remember all of the people camped out for tickets, sleeping on front lawns," he said.

More importantly, he remembers the line of strangers who ended up in his house. His dad — who is from Cape Breton and has that "East Cost mentality," Smith says — would take people in, let them use his shower, and make them breakfast.

"There were just people everywhere. It was nuts," he said.

Public outcry after the show was fierce — so much so that city council approved a ban on concerts there shortly after.

There were some exceptions — Rush played largely without incident in 1979 and Blue Rodeo played a short set after a Ti-Cats game in 2001.

Organizers tried to place other shows in the venue (like the Bee Gees in 1999) but the ban largely held fast. There had been no official concert at Ivor Wynne in 33 years.

But that's set to change Saturday night, when the Tragically Hip and the Sam Roberts band play the stadium as a send off before its time passes.

Still, Elley will always remember that warm summer night back in 1975 — sitting in the stands to get away from the mayhem on the floor, and watching a rocket fire right above his head.

"It felt like you could almost touch it," Elley said.

"They just put on an amazing show."