Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
With less than 4 hours of sleep under my belt I was woken by a shaft of gleaming sunlight slicing through the crack in the curtains that didn't quite join up. No matter, I felt as though I'd had a full night's rest, got up and threw the curtains wide and was greeted by a gorgeous, sunny Saturday morning. I fixed a quick cup of coffee in the room, got dressed and took myself out in it. On past tours I've made a point of getting out almost every day, wherever we were, finding a little coffee shop, having breakfast and reading the newspaper then wandering around the city for awhile. Seems like the last couple of tours I've not done as much of that, I've missed it and hereby resolve to pound a little more pavement this outing.
Regina is a beautiful city, clean as a whistle, flat as a pancake and the weather couldn't have been better, crisp but not cold, the trees sporting their autumn colours, the leaves starting to fall. Took a left out of the hotel and down Victoria Street a few blocks I came across a terrific breakfast restaurant called Fresh and Sweet specialising in freshly baked goods, the usual and some unusual breakfast fare. A coffee shop that actually had great coffee, just a straight up large cup of joe that didn't fold to a little sugar and cream. Armed with the local Regina newspaper it was a perfect breakfast, a plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns, grilled ham and thickly sliced marbled rye toast. It couldn't have been a better early beginning to this Saturday. Wandering out after that, to my great delight I came across a cool used record store, really well stocked with all kinds of music. How much better can this day get? I spent an hour in there thumbing through loads of desirable vinyl but in the end decided against dragging records around for the seven weeks of this tour and left empty handed. I saw a couple of old Canadian fiddlers there on the streets with their bows coaxing tunes, their fiddle cases open and full of coins. It's the first time I've been to Regina, named in the late 1800's after Queen Victoria, and was struck by what a nice city it is. With the sun beaming down as I crossed through the park back to the hotel, it was one of those mornings that makes you glad to be alive.
Pack, shower and a late afternoon check out then off to our gig at Brandt Centre. It was a hurried sound check followed by a quick dinner in catering... perfectly seasoned grilled flank steak and salad. We were on stage before we knew what hit us, a 7:30 start and it is prompt. It was a fully sold-out arena and we sailed through our set, a slightly different one from the night before, with great playing and much joy. A glass of wine backstage, change clothes and back to the bus for a 3 hour ride to Saskatoon fueled with food, perfectly mixed gin and tonics (courtesy of Guy Fletcher) and more than a few laughs. Arriving at the hotel just past 1 in the morning, I had a nightcap with Mike and John, closed down the bar and called it the end of a great day. It's a lucky life.