Canadian tour blog – week 1

We flew out west last Thursday evening. My flight was delayed three hours because of a storm in Montreal but that’s nothing that a few drinks in the lounge can’t cure. We woke up on Friday morning to an overcast Victoria day – something we’ve come to expect of the Canadian west coast where sunny days seems more like the exception than the rule. It occurred to us that we hadn’t played Victoria since 2005. In the meantime we'd been to the island for shows in Nanaimo, Duncan, Courtney and Cambell River but it had been seven whole years since we played Victoria proper. It felt good to be back. We played a club called 9one9, formerly known as Legends. We played this very same venue on our first ever trip to the island back in 2002 as the support act for the Big Sugar farewell tour. They’ve done major renovations to the place since and have turned into a pretty kick ass concert venue. The show was great. The audience sang louder than we did and it really helped kick the tour off on the right note. The next morning we caught the ferry back to the mainland to play the Vogue Theater in Vancouver. We played the Vogue on our last acoustic tour and it was off the hook so we were curious to see how the electric show would go over in such a setting. We don’t normally do soft seat theaters electrically but with the massive production that we’re dragging around it helps to have the space that a theater can provide. This show was also great. Our Vancouver fans are some of our best and there was nothing that was gonna keep them is there seats once the show got cooking. Thanks again, Vancouver for another great night!

The bus picked us up after the show and we made our way into the mountains. Any band whose toured Canada in the winter will tell you that this part of the trip can be a bit of a wild card. It could be a bright and beautiful sunny day at sea level and by the time you climbed to the peak of the Coquihalla highway, a few hours later, you can be in the middle of a shit storm! Such was our experience this time through. We wound our way slowly through the peaks and valleys of the rocky mountains for several hours. We stopped when we got to Kamloops because we heard they were setting off avalanches up ahead to avoid them happening without warning. This would cause them to close the highways between us and Calgary (our next stop) but luckily our ace bus driver (with the coolest name in the biz) James Dean worked around it and got us where we had to be… albeit very late the next day, around 5am. Oh well, safe and sound is what counts.

Calgary did not disappoint but we’ve come to expect that from one of our many homes away from home. Even in the thick of a winter storm and on a Monday night we had a house full of people ready and willing to boogey with us. Thanks again to our buddies in the Rocky Mountain Pipe and Drum band who joined us onstage for Highway of Heroes and for a scorching encore of Long Way to the Top by AC/DC. The Poor Young Things also joined us for the latter, it was pretty cool to have 22 people on stage rocking out together.

The next stop was Lethbridge and I have to say that I was thoroughly surprised by how awesome this show was. It’s another town that we haven’t been to in years and you can’t always be sure if people haven’t forgotten about you. Quite the opposite was true - the show was a full on assault of energy. It brought me back to the early days of playing smaller clubs with people jammed to the front of the stage and rocking out with the energy of a punk rock show. Again, we were honored to be joined by the Lethbridge Fire Department Pipe and Drum band for “Highway” and “Long Way”. A great time was had by all.

On to Edmonton to play the Edmonton Event Center located at the West Edmonton Mall. I couldn’t resist playing a little glow in the dark mini golf while the crew set up. Another great show from another town that does not disappoint.

It’s been a lot of fun to check the Face book page daily and dust off a request or two – many of which we haven’t played in years. It’s been keeping us on our toes. But one thing I do love about playing in this band is that even if we did the exact same set two nights in a row, it would still be a completely different show. There’s just a fly by the seat of your pants aspect to what we do and our interaction with the audience that keeps things exciting on a nightly basis. The next day was an off day and a good opportunity to catch up on some rest and do some laundry – very rock’n’roll things indeed. As I write this I find myself in the east coast colony town of Northern Alberta knows as Fort McMurray waiting to go do a sound check. It’s getting brighter every day now. Spring is around the corner as the tour rages on…