If it’s Monday, I must be in Calgary – Road Trip Day 7

 

 

If you ever want to commit a serious crime in the vast frozen tundra that is Alberta in February, I’d strongly suggest doing it when it’s -20 and there is a major storm on the highway between Calgary and Edmonton. With all the emergency vehicles on the road in those conditions, the police presence in town must be seriously depleted. On our hellacious drive between those two lovely metropolises on Saturday afternoon we counted 25 carcasses (the remains of wrecked cars) flipped, over, crushed and otherwise torpedoed into the snow clogged ditches at the side of the road. The recent ones were surrounded by police, fire and ambulance crews, the slightly older ones were wrapped in yellow crime (or I guess just accident) scene tape and left lying as they came to rest – wheels in the air, windows smashed in, doors and panels torn off to extract the unfortunate passengers. And there was the wingchick and me, tooling along in our little rented Hyundai, risking life and limb (not to mention nerves and sanity) to get to Edmonton for the first stop of our Goo Goo Dolls Road Trip.

I was on day 5 of my road trip because I was in Phoenix for the preceding week organizing a conference for my employer, which was fun but completely exhausting, but it was officially Day 1 of the Goo Trip. My day started out way too early when I got up at 3:30am to catch my 6:30am flight out of Phoenix to Calgary. All went well till I hit the 5th ring of Hell, otherwise known as the United Airlines hub in Denver. What a gong show. My 2 ½ hour flight to Calgary was delayed 3 times for a total of 3+hours – and none of that was weather – it was either mechanical or just plain f*#@ ups by the incompetents that run airlines. First the plane was about 30 minutes late arriving from Salt Lake City, but it was ok, we boarded and taxied out and were lined up for takeoff when suddenly the plane powered down and we literally backed down off the runway. The aircon was apparently not working properly so we taxied back to the terminal and sat on the tarmac for an hour while a mechanic fixed it. Success!! Yeah, the pilot announces the aircon is fixed and all is good with our plane, but you know what folks, we have decided to take you off this plane and give you a better one for the flight to Calgary. Say what?? That’s what he actually said. So we get off and go to the gate where they tell us our new plane will be along “soon”. We are then shuffled around no fewer than 3 more gates over the next hour or so until finally a SMALLER plane arrives to tae us to Calgary. How this is an up sell, I can’t figure out. Now they have to get 4 “volunteers” to stay behind because the plane’s not big enough . . . you can’t make this stuff up. When no-one volunteers, they just arbitrarily yank 4 very unhappy people off. Nice. Once we are finally airborne we hit a storm and almost end up in Montana . . . but 3 ½ hours late we do eventually land in Calgary, where it’s now snowing like a bitch.

The drive was horrible, but we persevered and did, finally, arrive in Edmonton with 45mins to spare before show time. That means no time to go to our friends to shower and change; no it’s the classic road trip move – change in the parking lot – in Edmonton, where it’s -18. Fortunately the wingchick, a veteran of these affairs, had thoughtfully stowed a bottle of wine in her bag. There was a moment of panic till we confirmed it was a screw top – had it been corked I don’t know what would have happened – but off came the cap and we knocked that baby down out of paper cups in record time and felt a whole lot better! And off came the traveling clothes and on went the glam rocker chick gear, a quick stop in the casino washroom to repair hair and makeup and we were good to go J We are veterans! The opening act was Steven Page, former lead singer for the Bare Naked Ladies. He should have not screwed it up and stayed with the Ladies – seeing his solo show once was more than enough for me. And I’ve seen the revamped BNL a couple of times and they are just great.

After a quick stage reset, Johnnie, Robbie and the boys came on stage and put on a fantastic show and the misery of the day was . . .well almost. . . forgotten. We had a great time, although security was being über strict about no-one standing at the stage barrier. We had excellent seats in row 5, but if you want to shoot any video it’s great to be right at the stage, but no love, so no vid’s of this show. I’ll try tonight in Calgary. Here’s what I don’t get though. The wingchick and I had a brutally long and difficult day getting to the show, but once the Goo’s came on, we were on our feet, dancing and having a great time, as were most of the people at the venue. Just across from us, however, were 2 rows of well dressed, carefully made up and hair gelled in place 30-somethings – guys and girls – who did not get off their butts for the whole show. They sat there, looking cool (or maybe it was just bored) for the entire time. I just don’t get being too cool to have fun. And actually I’d trade being that “cool” for a down- home good time, anytime!! Seriously, talk about needing to get over yourself. I wanted to go over and say “hey, life’s short, stop working so hard at being cool, let your hair down and have some fun, damn it”. Hahaha, I wonder how that would have gone over J We met up with some friends after the show – they work on the production end – and had a few laughs before they had to hit the road to Calgary – it will be fun to see them again in Vancouver where they have a day off. It was a great night. I’d also hoped to meet up with a former Vancouverite friend who is living/working in the Edmonton area now, but that was not meant to be this time, which was too bad. One of those “Bad Timing” things . .

 

  

We are on our own down-day today – staying with the wingchick’s fam in Calgary, sleeping in, doing laundry, eating fresh fruit and veggies – getting our act together for the next few days. The Goo’s are at the Jack Singer Concert Hall tonight in Cowtown, the sound will be great, but I hope it’s not a sit down crowd; I hate to sit at concerts. The upside is I might get some decent video though. Heading back to Vancouver and work very early tomorrow morning (my 3rd 4:30am or earlier get-up in a week . . .). Lucky the time change means I can catch the first flight out and still be at my desk by 8:30am J Wednesday night’s show will be at the Commodore, the best venue on the West Coast and I have no doubt at all it will be an epic night. Even the crew was excited to be playing the legendary Commodore venue. Friday morning we are driving to Portland and then Seattle for the last two shows of the road trip. It’s going to be quite the week.

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