Edmonton International—heaps of fresh white flakes had just fallen, spanning as far as the eye could see out the narrow turbo-prop window. “Minus 30 Celsius,” was the word floating around the cabin, as we slithered and skimmed over the icy tarmac for a moment. Our pilot had to pull a few video game maneuvers out of his trick bag to straighten our nose out.
“Okay,” I thought to myself, dude must be pretty slick at Halo or Warcraft III, or whatever the latest is.Flash forward to a bright spot in the top right-hand corner of my eyes and a bright red unidentified flying object hurling through space headed my way. “The Chinese flag?” I mused.
But not a single star out of the five could be seen. “The Red Planet about to hit me on the head?” End times, maybe, but unlikely. “The ghost of Rocket Richard? But, alas, no number nine. Finally, twirling through the air flooded with gobos and follow spots, now arcing downward, then floating to the stage, in what seemed like slo-mo, almost looking like a large and rare Amazonian butterfly, wings outspread at my feet, was a pair of bright, shiny, red-laced nylon panties. I sang the words to whatever tune I was singing at the moment, but in my head I heard Pacino saying, “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.”
The Rose had fallen prey to flooding a day or two prior to our scheduled concert. A generator, the length of mid-size semi, stood outside the stage door, roaring and rumbling away full throttle. The dressing rooms and green room were lit only by candlelight—the generator being primarily relegated to the stage lights and sound. It was cold—that northeastern clammy kind of cold that bores through your clothes and finds the marrow of your bones and the folds of your chords in no time. The hallways sounded terribly lonely and echoey because of the lack of heat. A man had to carefully weigh the cold, hard facts when choosing between relief and the sting on his cheeks, as he reflected over an ice-cold toilet seat. The Rose Theater had the air of a toppled Big Top—everybody scrambling with a blank, slightly stupefied look on one half of their faces, the other half silently screaming, “the show must go on.” And on the show went. I have played the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) a number of times in the past, but despite the hurdles, to my memory, this was my favorite night of all. It was like playing to a thousand smiling friends whom I hadn’t seen in over 4 years. Nothing like a warm welcome that makes a singer to sing better.Rein, Damian, Jay, Ben, Patrick, Dave and Gordan, were ‘on’. Nick saved the day a few times over at the monitors and brother Ross’s ears grew just a little bigger for this one at the front house. After an ungodly wake up call, hours of red tape and travel from Thunder Bay, missing bags, and cold thrones in Brampton, at the end of the day, a looming letdown turned into as close a perfect night as it gets on stage.
Besides an offering to the Red Cross, and a few other foundations, words and thoughts are mainly what Tricia, Anton and I have to offer to so many Japanese folks hit by the recent quake and tsunami. We are thinking of you.