Tour Diary – Medicine Hat, Alberta (April 17, 2013)

This is going to be a weird one. Planes, trains and automobiles…except there won't be any trains. We flew to Calgary yesterday, picked up a cargo and passenger van and headed East. Three hours later we found Medicine Hat and a hotel with an indoor water-slide.

On our flight from Toronto I sat behind the former captain of the Montreal Canadiens, current hall-of-famer, ten time Stanley Cup Champion, Yvan Cournoyer….numero douze….”the roadrunner”. Jeff sat beside him and endured his elbows….lucky dog. He was sitting in the middle seat of the economy section of a budget airline…If he had played 20 years later he could have owned the airline. Timing is everything.

The drive across the Prairie was stupefying in its intensity, ferocious in its sameness, unrelenting, inexorable, grim, numbingly static. Miles and miles of power lines and pavement, a scattering of pumpers, a few collapsing homesteads and an unreachable horizon. God this country is huge. We skirted the edges of the badlands. This is very unforgiving land…in any season.

I don't have much of an opinion on Medicine Hat. It must be quite spectacular when everything is blooming and the river can be fished. But its economic heart has been ripped out by the malls on the outskirts. It's clean and tidy and slowly disappearing into the suburbs, which look much like any suburbs, outside of any town, in any corner of this continent. There is not much to recommend it to the tourist.

We played a beautiful hall tonight: The Esplanade Arts Centre. It wasn't a huge crowd but not bad considering we are truly outside of our normal touring territory. There seemed to be an appreciation and an understanding for the Nomad set and a buzz for the second. It was a great sounding stage and I think we played really well, especially in the second set which had a nice controlled groove about it. Day 1 done and gone.