Summer 2012’s tour log – Canadian Leg (part 2)

by Cesco Emmanuel

So we came back from Europe on August 6th and here’s what followed after.

– August 6th – arrive safely back in T.O., get dropped off at Drew’s place, fell asleep. Go by my good friend Steve later that evening.

– August 7th – Quiet day at the office with Steve and his company, Producers Choice. Visit a few friends downtown. Quiet evening back by Steve’s place.

– August 8th – We take forever to get a rental car from this company that is overcharging us. But eventually, Drew, Derek, Walter and myself depart for Montreal by car. We are flying to Gaspe, QC from Montreal airport. It’s approximately a three-hour flight. We meet Linsey at the airport. We almost miss our flight (as usual with us). We have a stop-off in Quebec City, Pat Giunta (bass) joins us on our flight. So now, there’s six of us on a small plane that’s half-empty. We are having quite a fun time and most of the other passengers are watching us a bit strange. We arrive in Gaspe and are not picked up from the airport by any contact from the Festival du Bout du Monde. So we get a driver from a rental company at the (rather small) airport to drop us to our hotel. He drives like a madman and we all fear for our lives. We grab a late dinner and scout around the bay where we’ll be playing tomorrow night as the headliner. We end up in a bar right by the bay taking in an acoustic duo that’s singing both in English and French.

– August 9th – Breakfast at the hotel diner. Quite good food. We walk around the boardwalk right next to the river’s edge. We end up in a museum for a bit. We head back by the restaurants by the bay. Myself, Linsey and Pat grab a coffee and wait for soundcheck. Soundcheck is at 4PM. We’re on a rather big stage, we’re playing under a tent the size of a circus. It’s bright yellow and purple. Inside the darkness of the tent is hurting my eyes. Soundcheck is rather ‘boomy’ on-stage, but we get all the excess noise sorted out eventually, things are sounding great now. We finish with a fair amount of time to spare. We learn that in addition to our hotel rooms (which is just up the street), we also have a trailer dressing room backstage. So we make the most of that and have a big laugh about how great this whole ‘band life’ truly is – we have, after all, our own trailer. We play at 8PM. We grab dinner, a few drinks and hit the stage. From the side, the crowd looks rather small, but by the time we land on stage, the place is packed. We play a great set, the crowd is rather appreciative. We do a walk-off into the crowd much to the applause of the audience. We head backstage, grab a few drinks and eats and then head back to our hotel. We have a very early flight back to Montreal.

– August 10th – 4AM wake-up call, we leave at 7AM flight back to Montreal. Pat gets off at Quebec City and drives to Sherbrooke to meet us. This is our last festival on this tour. A small folk festival in Sherbrooke. We’re flying through rain so the flight is turbulent.  We get our rental van and head to downtown Montreal to grab a late breakfast. Montrealers are very rude drivers. We get stuck in a traffic jam caused by a car that has overturned on its’ roof . People are stopping to take pictures of this rather than trying to help, but I guess as the police and emergency crews are there, people assume the situation is under control, I hope the people will be okay. We eventually get out of Montreal and make our way to Sherbrooke. We arrive at our hotel to find out that the festival has only booked two rooms for six of us, and there are no extra rooms at the hotel. Pat is pissed (can’t say I blame him). We get cots to fit in each room. I get the cot so I have to sleep on the floor. Well, it’s only for one night. We leave for soundcheck and our first show on the Main Stage. We reach just as a torrential downpour is happening. We make it to the stage. Rain has soaked the entire venue and we are waiting to see what is the word, do we play this first show or is it cancelled? After waiting about thirty minutes and talking with the crew, it’s decided that the first show will be cancelled. So we hang around for a bit at the rain-soaked venue, grab some lunch and head back to the hotel. We just laze around and watch TV. We head back to the venue, grab dinner first at an italian restaurant. It’s raining slightly again, We’re playing at 10PM. Our show is almost 45 minutes late, it’s a bit more than disorganized – there’s a minimal backline, no bass amp, only one guitar amp working and no congas. But the stage crew are friendly so we make the most of it. The crowd gives us a great reception. Some of the guys head back to the hotel and some of us head out with a few Sherbrookians to see the town and grab a drink. We reach back close to 5AM at the hotel. I’m sleeping on the floor and I must say, I had quite a comfy sleep.

– August 11th – We all get up at various times after 9AM and decide to watch the Olympic football gold-medal match between Mexico and Brazil that’s on TV. Both rooms are right next to each other with an adjoining door, so we have fun going back and forth between rooms. We pack up, grab brunch and head back to Toronto. We say goodbye to Pat, who’s driving back to Quebec City. Not too sure when I’ll see him again, hopefully for the next tour. Next year? We drop Linsey off at the Montreal bus station. We encounter what seems to be a very bad storm on the 401. We notice that the clouds in the nearby field seem to be forming a funnel. We watch while biting our nails, not as if we could drive any faster, the highway is all mist and we can’t see anything at all. Cars are stopping all over the highway with their hazard lights on. Eventually the storm clears, or at least we drive past it. We drop Derek then Walter off at their respective homes. Drew drops me off and Steve’s place. it’s about 10.30PM.

And that’s it, the tour is officially over. I’d spend the next few days visiting friends and the guys from the band around T.O. and saying my last goodbyes.

It was a great month and I eagerly await the next phone call from Drew saying ‘Hey man, you free for a tour? How soon can you get here?’

Nothing like hopping on a plane and heading out on tour. Nothing like it.