Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Up early and thought I'd try out the coffee maker in my room. The pre-packaged coffee and filter read "finest Italian". It was neither fine nor Italian but complete rubbish made in America that was little more than hot, coloured water. Undrinkable. I tramped down to Tim Horton's and then back to the absolutely useless hotel gym. Four people already in there struggling to find a place for themselves and the treadmill taken by some clown scraping his trainers on the belt making a loud, squealing sound every four or five steps. I looked over thinking he must have headphones on and can't hear it, but he didn't. Staggeringly inconsiderate. I managed to started pushing some weights and as soon as Bozo got off the mill, I jumped on it. Things began looking up after that. I got out of the hotel for a bit of shopping and a stop at White Spot for a hamburger. I was tipped off to them by Isaac Shabtay, knowing my fondness for Harvery's he suggested I try these babies. White Spot is a chain of restaurants in British Columbia and Alberta famous for their hamburgers for 75 years. Started in June of 1928 by Nat Bailey, it boasts a brilliant burger and delivers. I ordered the "Famous" a single with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo and their special triple O sauce. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was in the sauce except it complimented the burger beautifully. I opted out of the fries and slaw in lieu of a Caesar salad, deluding myself that I was having a healthy lunch, washing it all down with a pint of Nat Bailey's Pale Ale on draft. The namesake beer is brewed locally by the Granville Brewing Company, a mild beer served ice cold and a good afternoon brew as there doesn't seem to be much alcohol about it. You could have a couple over lunch and get back to the office without feeling the need for a nap. I haven't renounced my allegiance to Harvey's but simply added White Spot to my list of Canada faves. Don't get the impression that I make a diet of burgers, I don't, seldom order one anywhere, but for some reason must make the pilgrimage to Harvery's and now White Spot whenever I'm in Canada.
A mid-afternoon flight to Calgary where the yearly Stampede began yesterday. Loads of folks walking round in boots, jeans and cowboy hats. I don't remember playing here since working with Neil Diamond but have fond memories of the town. Tonight's show was in the Jack Singer Concert Hall, home to the Calgary Symphony Orchestra. A small 1,600 seater that sounded great...another loud and very appreciative audience.
The usual runner back to Vancouver, where we cannot resist falling into the wonderfully dark and inviting bar here at the hotel. Pop star George Michael and entourage have been staying here as well, George having a show in town last night. Our own Danny Cummings and George go back 25 years, Dan playing percussion on the Wham records as well as George's solo outings. Danny toured all last year with George, so it was old home week for them. We were a couple of drinks down when George came to the bar and sat down at our table for a round. Seems like a good guy, still, I remain more impressed having had a uke lesson from Joe Brown at Albert Hall.