Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 7-8/10/12
Before we get started, I stand corrected by a couple of good folks who wrote to say I have indeed been in Regina before, July of 2008 in fact. Turns out I was, though in my defence it was a show that we flew in for that afternoon and left immediately after the gig. Apologies Regina, you surly left a big impression this time.
Sunday the 7th was a day off, it is also Canada's Thanksgiving weekend. After a late start and a visit to the gym, I stepped out to take a walk around the city. Due to the holiday Saskatoon was deader than Hank Williams, the shops shuttered and the streets bare. One establishment was hopping though, Hudson's Tap House. The last time I'd eaten was dinner the night before in Regina and I was past empty. I wheeled in to Hudson's, a pub-grill-sports bar that is an off shoot of Hudson Brewing Co. Fairly quiet, big screen TVs showing Sunday NFL but mercifully mute, loads of dark wood and a huge bar. Things are looking up. Had a sandwich, bowl of soup and a pint of Hudson's Ale all hitting the mark. I ran in to Colin Barton our tour production manager and Simon Tuchner our lighting designer there as well. After lunch I walked the quiet Sunday streets, stopped in a shopping mall that was open and decided I needed/wanted nothing and left. Took a walk along the the picturesque South Saskatchewan River which has a beautifully designed river walk along it's banks. The weather, while overcast, was warm enough for shirt sleeves. I made my way back to the hotel for a day-off nap.
By 8 o'clock I was ready for dinner and a re-run of Hudson's sounded just fine to me. I arrived to find nearly all of our crew boys bellied up to the bar where I joined them. I've mentioned in these notes before, we have the best crew in the business and they're the finest guys in the world. Because we travel at different times and generally stay in different hotels, I seldom see them outside of a gig setting. So, it was great to spend an evening with them as well as having a remarkable "Canadian" burger, thick, slathered in beer caramelized onions, sharp Canadian cheddar, lettuce and tomato. Martini? Oh I couldn't possibly. Two please. Back to the hotel and in bed by 10:30, it was a good day of rest.
I guess as I'd turned in so early the night before, I woke Monday morning at 7:30. Coffee and paper in the room, e-mail, practise etc. Today is officially Thanksgiving here. If yesterday was quiet, today was deserted. I walked for a couple of miles along the riverside, the temps colder today and the wind was stiff but it felt good being alone along the Saskatchewan River. Finally made my way back to town, virtually everything was closed with the exception of a small restaurant/bar called The Rook and Raven. Cold and hungry I went in and had one of the best bowls of soup I've ever tasted, creme of portobello mushroom with shredded smoked beef that was smoked on the premises. It couldn't have been better.
Shower, pack, check out and a great show at the Credit Union Centre followed by a 6 hour bus ride to Edmonton after the gig. However, the real show tonight was an appearance of the Northern lights. A little hint of them turned up early on the drive but shortly after everyone retired I was in the lounge and felt the bus slowing then coming to a stop. Jason our driver said, you've got to see this. The sky was absolutely flaming and alive, flashing and swirling, purple, green and running wild. In all my days I've never seen the aurora borealis. A serious wow.
We pulled in to Edmonton and the hotel at 3 a.m. where I peck this out and sign off still thinking of the Northern lights.