Tour Diary – Calgary, Alta (June 20, 21 and 22, 2012)

Jeff’s Golden Rule (see Dawson Creek entry) strikes again. A day off and two show days in Calgary so we all had lots of expectations about idly wandering around the downtown core looking for interesting places to eat and drink and maybe even doing a bit of window shopping. Calgary use to be a sleepy little cowtown, but all of that oil money and the migration to this part of the country has turned it into a hopping little city over the past several years. But as we approached the city and Jared called ahead to the hotel to see if our rooms were ready, he was told that they didn’t have any reservation in our name. Once the confusion was cleared up it was discovered that our travel agent had booked us into the Sheraton at the airport, not the Sheraton downtown. Shit. Expecfreakintations. So we walked the highway and visited the malls and took up residence in the hotel bar. One of the airport Sheraton’s drawing cards (in case you ever have a layover in Calgary) is the giant indoor waterslide….that’s right, a giant indoor waterslide. Pete and Leo put it to good use, and in the course of tumbling down the slide, Leo clocked Pete and gave him a beautiful black eye….fathers and their sons.

We felt that our mental health and our livers would be in danger if we spent two days in Calgary’s exurban wasteland so Pete, Margo, Jeff, Leo and I rented a car and took off for the mountains early the next morning: I in search of fish, they in search of a mountain ridge to walk along. I took some time yesterday to find a fishing shop in one of the malls and tried to get some local intel about the what, where and when of the local fishing holes. Unfortunately, I was treated like the amateur that I am and was given a lot of shrugged shoulders and half-assed answers. The general feeling that I got was that the intensity of the spring rains and run-off had “blown out” all of the rivers and lakes and that trying to catch anything until things settled down and cleared up would be pointless. Thanks, guys. When I finally arrived at my destination it appeared that they were right. I found a beautiful little lake but it was riding extremely high on the bank and the water was mud brown from the run-off. I tried a couple of others but with the same result. I went for a walk along the Elbow River, it was beautiful, but it was raging. Near the end of my day, despite a couple of half-hearted nibbles, I decided to abandon my battle of wits with fish and I headed off to seek out this nearby man-made pond, stocked with Rainbow trout. It was developed as a family friendly fishing hole to get your kids interested in fishing: we’re talking little tiny kids who only have to stick their pole in the water and a fish jumps on the hook. So I stood there casting from the bank for about 20 minutes catching nothing while an old Chinese man about 30 feet down from me hauled in five or six nice size rainbow trout. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore so I approached the old man and asked him what he was using. He looked at me and said, “cheese”. So I gave up….fucking cheese…….

The two shows in Calgary were at the Southern Jubilee Theater: a very beautiful looking and sounding room which also happens to be out in the middle of nowhere. In the three days that we were here we didn’t get a chance to explore one square block of downtown Calgary. We had two pretty good shows. It took us about halfway through our first show to realize that we weren’t in a hockey arena and that we could approach the music with a little bit more subtlety. It was good to be back in an acoustically friendly room for a couple of nights and the audience on both nights were great. This is the start of ten shows in a row for us: four of our own shows and six with Mellencamp….the cost of travelling across the beautiful giant wasteland that is Canada (and I mean that in the most flattering way).