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.

7 Comments
  1. Hey, what about Vancouver? 😉 Loved the concert and it was nice to finally see you perform live, after all these years.

  2. As always Gino you had me chuckling at your witticisms and wry sense of humour! Red lace panties, eh..hmm,just as well Al Pacino saved the day (at Il Divo concerts they used to throw them at Carlos, apparently he has quite a stash by now, maybe he had a garage sale)..wow, even candlelight couldn’t warm up the throne seats, there should be insulation on them..glad the evening turned out perfect for you anyway. Kisses xo

  3. Praying for the people of Japan along with you. I am amazed at their calm demeanor amidst the catastrophic damages. Seeing such heartbreak makes me thankful for my own peace. Thanks for sharing your story about the cold working conditions at The Rose Theater. Hopefully you will be nice and warm when you set sail on the Oasis of the Seas in December! Enjoy your Amsterdam tour. We want to hear all about it. “Warmly”, Tina

  4. After a two hour rainy drive to the Rose Theatre, an usher was nice enough to let me in to use the ladies room before the doors opened. Not only was it cold in there—it was pitch black, there were no lights! I totally sympathize with Gino’s pre-show dilemma lol. But it turned out to be a wonderful concert, the Rose Theatre is a nice venue with good acoustics, & they really handled the electrical crisis well. And Gino put on a GREAT show, we had a wonderful time!

  5. Can someone please explain the complications preventing Gino from touring in the US? I can’t afford to travel to Europe to see him. Maybe Vegas, but not Europe.

  6. Just found your blog. I’m an old road vocalist who has been into your songs forever. Saw you on the orginal airing of Soul Train way back and wondering how you got on there. You and Sinatra are my favorites. Wish you could perform in my area. I’m about 40 miles outside of Cincinnati. Iwas listening to Wild Horses and People Gotta Move this morning.

  7. Thank you for putting your sentiments into positive action by coming here to Japan soon. Many artists have cancelled/postponed tours because of the triple disaster, continuing aftershocks and fears of nuclear radiation. To put a three-night double-header on for us shows your true character. You will find many changes since your last visit, so enjoy your visit!

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