Montreal is a truly bi-lingual city with 49.8% of the population speaking French, a mere 22.8% speaking English and 18.3% other languages.
Today’s journey was a day trip from Toronto Pearson airport which started at 2:45pm with the band assembling in the Hazelton lobby to board our SUV/Sprinter van convoy. Unfortunately, due to an irritating desire high-end hotels have of filling their hotel frontage and car parks with the most ostentatious vehicles the guests have, our drivers couldn’t get anywhere near the front doors of the hotel. Matt black Bentleys, bright Orange McLarens and Lime Lamborghinis provided the tiresome obstacles. If you got it, flaunt it. I get that, and there sure is some money here in Yorkville but clearly the brain doesn’t always fully engage when charged with the task of parking some of these ‘supercars’ as they were strewn around like a child’s toy garage lot. We walked, pulling our Briggs and Rileys to our vans and left the scene.
Road surfaces in Toronto and Montreal are the same as in any city undergoing major construction…which seems to be EVERY city these days. I’ve honestly never seen so many cranes on a tour. There is a lot more growth in the world than the media suggests. In the SUV, every bump is like a spine jolt and we found ourselves missing the beautiful driving skills of our German driving teams back in Europe. We so wished Goran, Alex and co. could have done the US leg but it wouldn’t have made logistical or financial sense.
On arrival at the private terminal, our Captain could be seen at the open gate waving us onto the tarmac for what is known as Ramp Access. There are all kinds of ‘follow me’ vehicles but today’s was unorthodox. We stepped from the vans to the steps of the plane where Aleisha met us on what was to be her last day working onboard. She served up the most delicious Asian Kale salad with wild organic rice. 47 minutes in the air and we touched down in Montreal.
Yearly visits to Montreal by the Formula One circus are always punctuated with reports of how much fun this city is. It is clearly quite a place to come and have fun and it’s certainly a town to come and visit if you like music. Particularly Jazz. Our venue was the wonderful Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier theatre.
All of us in the band appreciated the sound of this stage, especially after the challenges of the last show in Boston where unbeknownst to the audience, the sound in the middle of the stage was extreme. (the low end was uncontrollable due to having to ground-stack the PA subs and I struggled to hear the drums on my riser). Tonight was a different, beautiful story. Everything perfect. We enjoyed an elongated sound check, exploring something that we will play on the final show in MSG.
Like all shows of this tour, we simply had a fabulous time up there. It all seems to go by so fast and the next thing we knew, we were back in the SUV’s heading across the extraordinary bridge network towards the airport once more. One thing Mark asked me to add and that is an apology. There was a lone guy standing waiting for us at the Montreal GAT terminal with a sign asking if Mark could sign his album. Mark saw him and asked the driver to stop but for whatever reason, he ignored Mark and drove through to the plane. Unless there are extreme circumstances, we always stop and sign stuff, not always all of it but within reason.