Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA (July 20 -22)
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.