We flew out of Victoria to Vancouver and, finally, hooked up with our bus. Those quiet stationary nights in hotel rooms are now finished, but so is the constant packing and unpacking and the daily uprooting. Our home is now on wheels. We were suppose to play Vancouver tonight, but for some reason we can't seem to sell a ticket in Vancouver so we ended up canceling the show a couple of weeks ago. Vancouver has been an ugly place for us over the past few years, we can't figure out why, it must have something to do with those Canucks. Whatever, the gig in Seattle has been sold out for weeks so we headed south to where we are wanted.
We have never spent any time in this part of Seattle, The University District. The streets here have a pretty well worn feel to them, the students have marked their territory….the houses in the area and the accompanying gardens make one want to pick up stakes and move here immediately: funky old bungalows overgrown with all sorts of semi-exotic plant life. We also played a new venue for us tonight, The Neptune. One of those old movie theaters turned concert venue. I'm not sure what I think of the room, it was definitely not an easy night on stage and Jared said he had a tough time out front, but these things are always relative. More importantly, the audience was over the top in their enthusiasm. We have just had an excellent run through Western Canada, and I thought the audiences had been generally enthusiastic, but one song in to the set and we remembered why we love playing in this part of the world, the audiences are insane…in a good way. Seattle has always been good to us and tonight was no exception.
Pete's ipad drawing of the Channel Islands:
JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S SEATTLE DIARY.
When Seattle appeared under Tour Dates last year, I was navigating the end of a relationship and found myself with a round trip flight to Mississippi that needed to point in a new direction. A few clicks of the keyboard and a short weekend in Seattle was slated for April. Since my 2010 ramblings across North America chasing the Junkies tour bus ended at 14,000 miles, I felt content with a few shows here and there. However, as the dates approached, life felt like it was closing in around me. The end of the relationship gave way to a first home purchase and all the headaches that come with it and then, last week, I found myself typing 40 into the stairmaster when it asked for my age. Call it a perfect storm, or another mid-life crisis, but heading out across the country for more shows couldn't have come at a better time.
Seattle has long been a land of fascination to me. Growing up in South Florida (before the Heat and Panthers), I choose my favorite sports teams seemingly at random. Whatever the logic, the Seattle SuperSonics and Quebec Nordiques were my teams as a young boy. I've since watched both migrate elsewhere but I've always wanted to see the Emerald City. Arriving a day early, I wandered the downtown area and Pike's Place market. Despite the relaxed smoking laws the state has boldly passed, the busy downtown felt no less safe than most. The homeless population was abundant and aggressive to a point of distraction but never mean spirited. There's a sense that folks up here leave you to your own decisions.
The Seattle show was next to the University of Washington campus in a deceptively beautiful theater that was packed with a lively, sold-out audience. Worn and unassuming on the outside, the inside clung to it's history as an old movie theater with stained glass along it's hip. The band immediately sensed the energy of the audience and the show took off quickly. The first set walked through the Nomad Series material and the audience stayed with the band throughout. The poignant "Damaged From the Start" and a gentle "Fairytale" brought the first set to a close at such a high that a second set felt like an extended encore of gems from almost every record. Just like that, another Junkies show came to a close and us aging rockers walked out into a busy Saturday night on the main college drag. We caught more than a few curious glances as my traveling companions and I settled into one of the college bars for late night IPA. Little did they know, and who am I to tell them, that twenty years on, they'll be on the other side of the canyon that appears suddenly between your life and your youth.
Lots of new shows in March-April-May 2013. Concert tickets make great gifts for the hard-to-please! We're looking forward to being back in Westhampton Beach, NY; Atlanta, GA; Annapolis, MD; Sellersville, PA; Alexandria, VA; Newark, NJ; Tarrytown, NY; Medicine Hat, AB; Cochrane, AB; St. Albert, AB; Banff, AB; Whitehorse, YK; Vancouver, BC; Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; Bend, OR; San Francisco, CA; Saratoga, CA; and L'Assomption, QC. More details here.
I don’t think that this has ever happened to us before. Our Vancouver show was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. I am not completely surprised. We played a pretty big gig in Vancouver last summer in the same venue, we had a decent turnout for that show, but there wasn’t the type of demand that warrants a return just twelve months later, especially without a new album. It’s tough enough playing indoor gigs in the summer in Vancouver without overplaying the market. I guess the promoter felt that with the addition of Son Volt on the bill we could do the business, again. No such luck. We didn’t find out that the gig was cancelled until we had checked in to our Vancouver hotel; the promoter was desperately trying to make this work right up until the last minute.So what was to be one day off in Vancouver turned in to two.Fortunately we were booked in to the Wedgewood Hotel the nicest, plushest, most comfortable hotel of the tour and all for a decent price. The Wedgewood is also located right in the heart of all that is happening in downtown Vancouver; it has a great bar from which to watch all the street action, and, man, there is a lot of street action. We had perfect weather for our little sabbatical, we spent way too much money, went to way too many bad movies, paid way too much for too much bad food and drank way too much overprice booze.It was time well spent.
I’ve never really been able to get a handle on Vancouver, the seedy side of the place has always overshadowed everything else, but these couple of days spent in the city with nothing to do but wander around has given me a new appreciation. There is no doubting the beauty of the location; the BC coast is about as stunning as it gets. Over the past couple of decades the city planners have worked hard at opening up the city to the large natural harbor that it sits on and they have done a remarkable job, despite the ongoing battle against private developers and the condo mania. It’s a beautiful city and absolutely dripping with money….a few too many homeless people, drug addicts and sex workers on its streets, but that seems to be the norm for all of the coastal cities out here.
What a difference a couple of hundred miles and an international border makes. Tonight’s show was jammed packed, a 4000 people sell out. Oh well…these are the vicissitudes of touring.
Todays gig was at the Seattle Zoo. A day at the zoo is always a good way to spend some time no matter how old you are. What’s not to like when you can wander backstage and visit with the Sloth Bear, Snow Leopard and Humbolt Penguins. The downside to this type of gig is the limited amount of playing time. The animals need their sleep so curfews at these venues are very strict. Tonight we had an 8:30 curfew which meant each band only got an hour on stage. It was our turn to go on first tonight so we loaded in at 3:30, sound-checked at 4:30, hit the stage at 6 and were done by 7. A very focused day. We had a decent show, not the greatest sound on stage, but a very good audience especially for this type of venue, where a large chunk of the crowd is there because it’s an easy and inexpensive night out with the family and a fun way to check out some music that one might not be too familiar with.
After the show we were taken on a behind the scenes tour of the new penguin exhibit. The last time here we were treated to dinner with the Grizzly Bears, so the penguins were a bit of a letdown, but still pretty cool and very much appreciated…it’s just hard to beat six inch long claws and a head the size of a bean bag chair.