After the Calgary show the Mellencamp camp headed east to Moose Jaw and we headed north-east to Saskatoon. Over the past year or so we have been in touch with the producers of a very ambitious tv show that is filmed in Saskatoon called The Neighbours Dog. The basic premise is that the show sets up a house concert for a band coming through town and then records and films it. It’s a great idea because it puts the band and audience in an unfamiliar and unconventional environment which can lead in all sorts of unexpected directions. For our concert the producers decided to step it up a bit and found an old lodge set on a bluff above Blackstrap Lake, a fairly large man-made lake about 30 minutes outside of Saskatoon. I think the lodge itself was once a rehab center and there doesn’t appear to have been too much money invested in upkeep over the years, but it has a very funky old 1970’s vibe to it and what a pleasure to be out in the country all day surrounded by birds and prairie dogs. One of the producers of the show generously offered us his motor boat for the day so Jeff, Ed and I took him up on his offer (Ed and Margo’s husband Graham joined us in Calgary and will be with us through Winnipeg). It was the first Saturday of summer and a beautiful day so it seemed that everyone for many miles around had the same idea about going boating: we had to put up with a bit of a line-up at the boat launch. We finally launched without incident but the motor, which had been sitting all winter, sounded extremely sore when it was fired up…sore to the point of metal grinding on metal. So we un-launched the boat and put it all down to a valiant effort. Once back at the Lodge, Ed and I made our way down the bluff and cast a few off of the dock, just so that we could say that we fished in Saskatchewan. It was extremely shallow and extremely weedy and after quickly mastering the art of casting Ed got a bored, so we headed back up the bluff.
The gig was in the main dining/living room of the Lodge. An expansive space with low slung wagon-wheel chandeliers, blown out old comfy couches, a wall of windows overlooking the lake and Buffalo heads on the walls (at least pictures of Buffalo heads): as I said, a very cool, old, funky spot. The film crew was efficient and professional and the day moved along with few glitches (except for the mangled boat motor). The gig was fun, with a generous and enthusiastic audience. It was odd playing for two hours again instead of just forty-five minutes…odd and tiring. I think we lost a bit of focus as the night wore on (I know that I certainly did), but overall I think it was a very good show.
Over the past few days we’ve watched Portugal, Germany and Spain move through to the semi-finals of the Euro-Cup. Germany is looking unstoppable, Spain is looking a little bored (but dangerous as usual) and Portugal is riding high on the back of oh-so-handsome Christiano Ronaldo. Tomorrow, I root for the English to defeat Italy and claim the final spot in the semis. It feels weird to root against the Italians (Pete and I live in the heart of Little Italy), but blood is blood.