Bus life can take a bit of getting used to and the vast distances covered across North America are greatly different to the drives we’ve been used to recently in Europe. Our hardened crew boys are accustomed to these drives but we in the band, slightly spoiled by use of a plane, have had to adjust our sleep patterns a little. I really miss the observation deck we had on Carl’s bus on the last tour; there’s something very nice about being able to look forward AND listen to music on a long run.
Late morning in Edmonton and feeling groggy from a double sleep, I unzipped the Briggs and threw on some clothes to make it down to breakfast to find the usual suspects assembled. Crocks, MK, Pete, Glenn and Tim had already eaten and breakfast had officially finished but these hotels are generally most accommodating and the MacDonald Fairmont Edmonton was no exception. This Chateau style hotel was built in 1912 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and designed by Ross and MacDonald, the same architectural firm that designed many of Canada’s landmark hotels…hence the Scottish connection and this statue of Robert Burns. Photo taken by John.
I was soon being served delicious fresh orange juice, coffee and a fabulous Granola, yoghurt and fresh fruit extravaganza. Back in the room, I fulfilled my diary duties. I suppose that sitting in the desk chair for the best part of an hour and a half contributed to my decision to head for the gym. Ian was already down there working up a sweat. I hopped onto the rowing machine, had a run on the treadmill (well a walk then) and then had a swim and a very brief Jacuzzi and sauna. It was hot in there! Back to the room to pack and off we trundled to the Rexall Place, home to the Edmonton Oilers and in their heyday, probably one of the most successful hockey players of all time, Wayne Gretzky.
Our dressing room seemed to be the home team dressing room and in the bathrooms was what I eventually decided was an ice bath. I decided not to try it out.
John captured Mike and Kevin (guitar and folk instrument tech) trying out one of Mike’s new two-man bass flutes…
A subject I’ve touched upon more than once on the last tour is the crew
change-overs. This 25 minute whirlwind of activity is something to
behold and only four shows into the American leg and it seemingly runs
like clockwork. Today, I sat on the side of the stage and watched the
boys perform. Our stage set is not exactly simple, the sheer number of
mic and instrument lines alone is enough to make any tech shudder but
also the staggering (and growing) number of stringed instruments
involved mean care and precision are very important. The two crews work
in wonderful unison to achieve a complete back-line turnaround. The day
begins with the load-in. Lighting and PA are set up (more on this later
in the diaries) then early afternoon, the back-line boys get to work.
Bob’s crew set up his stage set in readiness for his sound-check which
usually starts at 4pm, whilst our boys set up our set simultaneously
behind the huge drapes. Then when Bob’s sound-check is over, it’s all
hands on deck.
From this. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .to this in 10 minutes
We then take to the stage for our sound-check at roughly 6pm, finishing just in time for doors to open at 6:30pm. Then there is a mad scramble to catering for a light dinner before we ready ourselves for the show.
..and another great show it was, an arena full of happy Edmontonians. With the show over before we know it, we were soon back on board the bus heading South for Calgary. Three and a half hours later, we pulled up in front of another delightful Fairmont Railway hotel. I had no trouble sleeping.