Boston-Montreal-Toronto 23, 24, 25, 26 August

23 August

We de-camped Manhattan this afternoon, everyone having had a fine several days in the Big Apple. When I greeted our tour manager in the hotel lobby I realised I’d lost my voice from this little bug I’ve been fighting making me sound far worse than I actually felt We arrived in Boston at Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion in time for sound check, overcast, breezy, in the low 70s. Rockland is an open air venue with a capacity of 4,700 give or take a few. The stage and seating areas are covered with a sail-like contraption. I remember playing here many years ago with Mark when it was called, I think, the Bank America Pavilion and a massive storm with heavy winds swept up from the harbour. I thought that sail covering was either going to blow off or pick the whole place up and sweep us out into the Atlantic. No worries about that tonight, it was a perfect evening for an outdoor show, mild and a soft breeze. A “no sweat” show both literally and figuratively…. we breezed through the 2 hour set as cool and easy as the wind itself. A thunderous reception from a great Boston audience followed by a flight to Toronto where we’ll base for the next few days. Nothing makes a great flight like gin, tonic and lobster rolls. There was plenty of that and more to go around.

24 August

A full push at the gym this morning then little else until our flight from Toronto to Montreal and tonight’s show at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. Once there I met up briefly with an old musician friend of mine, Keith Glass and his friend Alistair. Keith was the electric guitar player in the popular band Prairie Oyster. I produced an album for them when they were on RCA Records that did very well back in the ‘90s. We were trying to figure out the last time we saw each other and realised it was something like 25 years. Yikes. We recorded that record in a town just outside Toronto called Mississauga at a studio called Metal Works. Fond memories of all that. Good memories too about this theatre in Montreal that we’ve played before. It looks striking from the stage with it’s red chair, black and white motif. It seats nearly 3,000 and sounds very good. Standing ovations throughout the show and a massive response at the end. Thanks Montreal. The flight back to Toronto was barbecue fuelled…. platters of ribs and chicken all delicious. Hotel. Bed.

25 August

Another well designed theatre tonight, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Acoustically as well as aesthetically pleasing to the ear and eye. Toronto’s catering crew gets kudos for a delicious Indian dinner of various chicken dishes, vegetables and curries… a home run. A capacity audience of just over 3,000 helped make this a great show.

26 August

A day off here in Toronto was spent with my good friends Heather and Bill Howitt who came in from Windsor to see last night’s show. We had a late breakfast at Flo’s Diner followed by a visit to The Bata Shoe Museum. I know… that’s what I thought too but it was very educational. A museum devoted to the history of foot ware through prehistoric humans right up to the latest fashion, traced through religions, continents, native cultures, fashion trends, economics, etc. Followed by cocktails and dinner at a wonderful Italian trattoria called Fieramosca on Prince Arthur Ave. in the Yorkville area of Toronto. Highly recommended.

Richard Bennett