Gastown was in fact the original Vancouver. Named after a Yorkshire seaman known as ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain and barkeeper who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon. One can only guess as to the origin of his nickname. Our journey to Vancouver today involved us crossing the US/Canadian border twice as we have been hubbing from Seattle for the past 5 days.
At 2:15pm, we were all ready to leave, passports in bags, in the Four Seasons lobby. The regular autograph brigade were waiting outside, as always. Some of the e-bayers wait around all day for an opportunity. I’m not sure what to think about that. We left in convoy with Mark, myself and Glenn in the ‘Fletch-mobile’. Our driver’s Christian name is Fletcher. The talk was of yesterday’s Seattle Seahawks win various other NFL quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers in particular.
Stunning conditions for flying prevailed as we pulled up alongside the aircraft. I snapped a quick selfie with Fletch. On board, Natalie was ready with a speed service. Turkey subs and lettuce wraps. No sooner had we climbed to our cruising altitude, we descended into Vancouver International airport.
The Orpheum theatre is the permanent home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and there were many items and photos of their concerts here. Dating back to 1927, the then Vaudeville house was the largest theatre in Canada. It is certainly showing its age but has clearly seen many touch-ups and renovations, the most recent a new set of toilets in the basement dressing rooms. There was plenty of space for us all to stretch out, unusual in most old theatres of this size.
Once again, Steve Bond made sure catering was up to scratch, he rejected the bread, made a trip to whole Foods and remade the soup. Sound check was moved forward as one of our backline crew, Ben Byford was sick and needed a doctor. Thankfully, nothing serious and he made the show with a thumbs up to me as we left later on. We took to the stage at the agreed 8:15 but there was a potential issue lying in wait. The US immigration offices in Seattle were set to close at 11:30 for a shift change so we needed to arrive before that time. It meant that to be safe we shortened the set by one song. So sorry Vancouver.
We had such a great time up there, maybe the knowledge there are a mere 5 shows left after this one focuses our energies. The audience were beautiful, rowdy, excitable, respectful and slightly annoyed by the security who made their presence very much known. Towards the end of the show, an excited room full of people, who were bursting with joy had their fun dampened as the team with earpieces and furrowed brows refused to let anyone dance in the aisles. I was concerned as we do brief all venues pre-show BUT, I also learned later that it is the law that aisles must be clear at all times in these venues. So all in all, they were right. I did notice some of the security clearly, secretly enjoying the band.
Night rain accompanied our swift but safe, 30 minute ride to the airport. we climbed aboard and Natalie dished out plates of Spicy Noodles with Pork with dizzying speed. Tim helped her serve the ravenous band and once again, we were descending and sipping delicious mouthfuls of Sokol-Blosser 2011 Pinot Noir. we arrived at the Immigration building and parked up at 11:20. The immigration lady came on board as we were filling in our landing cards and said “oh, you don’t need to do all that, just come on inside and we’ll get you processed”. She was an absolute delight, efficient and charming, an illustration of how a welcome into America should be. We got to the hotel before midnight, just missing the closing time at Pike’s. Fortunately, the Irish bar across the road, slightly scuzzier, stayed open until 2am. 7 of us closed the place, the slightly blurry selfies revealing accurately the exact emotion of the band. Happy and Fuzzy.