Dear Canada Blog #61 May 9th 2018
Well here we go again back on the road. Not a long jaunt, just three shows. Two in the French Canadian province of Quebec and one, a private, corporate show, in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
We spent May 8th in Montreal having the opportunity to chill a little as a band without having to gig that evening. I got a chance to walk around for a bit and do a little shopping, although I didn’t see much that I fancied and only picked up a shirt. We then had a drink and a meal together before shutting it down. (At least I did lol, right Sam and Al? 😉)
Lobby call was noon for the drive to St. Hyacinthe, about 40 mins outside of Montreal. We are staying there tonight though as opposed to driving back late to Montreal.
St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, is a city in southwestern region on the Yamaska River, population around 55,000. At the time of its establishment in 1678, the village of Saint-Hyacinthe had a population of 67. A year later it was made a town, and in 1857 it was made a city. It’s so-named for Saint Hyacinth the Confessor Of Poland and it’s St. Hyacinth’s Cathedral is the seat of the Latin Diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe, which was erected in 1852 and has the same patron saint.
Tonight’s show is the launch of a new setup. We are attempting to do basically what the new Glass Tiger album “31” is all about. Rootsy, acoustically-driven, renditions, with new arrangements of our reimagined, classic songs. It’s vital that I participate in sound-check which I wouldn’t normally do, preferring to save my voice for the actual performance but we are all a little nerve-wracked about it since we haven’t had much time to rehearse it.
This band configuration is as follows. We have Chris McNeill on drums, Tom Lewis on bass (Wayne still requires some time off) Carmela Long on BG vocals, Sam of course on keys and Al on guitar. We opted to add, from my band, Russell Gray on guitars due to the fact that he is brilliant and I really don’t want to play guitar live anymore, preferring just to sing and perform unincumbered by having to play guitar at all. I like playing the instrument but more as a writing tool than a performance one.
The Centre des Arts Theatre here in St. Hyacinthe is a pretty little room and we are told it’s pretty much sold out. Thanks guys!!
Glass Tiger has had a long-standing relationship with Québec. Since the days of Musique Plus, when our videos were nothing short of ubiquitous. We were adored by huge numbers of fans and now is the time to reacquaint with them by coming back here as often as we can.
A lovely story for you. It was 1987 and Glass Tiger was asked to play at a very special event called Rendezvous ‘87, an international ice hockey series of games between the Soviet Union of old, and a team of All-Stars from the National Hockey League, held in Québec City. Glass Tiger had exploded and by 1987 it was pretty impossible to move around without bedlam ensuing.
When we arrived at the airport hundreds of teenage girls were there and it took us forever to make our way through them as we stopped for autographs and photo’s. By the time we got to the hotel we were easily a couple of hours behind schedule and of course when we arrived there, yet again, hundreds of fans in the lower lobby awaiting us, and so once more it took forever just to make it over to the escalator to head up to a closed-off area where we could catch our breath and have a cold drink. When I finally made it to the escalator and jumped on, I raised my head up to find, standing there at the top, awaiting me, none-other-than, David Foster. You know, the Canadian musician, record producer, composer, songwriter and arranger guy. You know, the winner of 16 Grammy Awards (with 47, nominations, for producing the likes of; Chaka Khan, Alice Cooper, Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli, Toni Braxton, Michael Bublé, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Kenny G, Josh Groban, Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Kenny Rogers, Seal, Rod Stewart, Charice, Donna Summer, Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Cheryl Lynn and Barbra Streisand. YEAH! THAT GUY! Well there he was standing there looking completely frazzled and dishevelled, with one small kid in one hand and one in the other, just being “a dad“ with his two kids finding it hard to contain themselves as their favourite band of the day was making an appearance and of course “dad” must have spent HOURS saying, “ I promise you they are coming! I promise you that you’ll meet them. It’s okay! I PROMISE you they are.... “The look on his face spoke volumes. It’s was sooooooo funny. When he got close to me he whispered in my ear, “Thank fuck! What the hell took you so long!” Sorry David, but it WAS funny. I had first met David at the Juno awards the year prior when he was the presenter of “Single Of The Year,” which we won.
We hit the stage, right on the nose at 8:00pm The show was two sets of 45mins each. I said to the audience, “Okay, so this is the very FIRST TIME we have ever done this show, in this format. That can be a GOOD thing, or, that can be a BAD thing! So please, if I happen to screw it up and anytime during the proceedings, just look over my shoulder and pick any of these guys you want.......and blame them!” We all laughed and we then went on to have a brilliant evening together. Not flawless by any means but the rawness and newness of it actually added to the charm of it all. For it being a “first” it was great and can only get better from here on in.
A standing ovation at the end prompted us to give them an encore of, “Don’t Forget Me (when i’m gone).
Thank you St. Hyacinthe you were an amazing audience. Last night proved once again that music is THE true “international language” which reminds us of everything we have in common, rather than what differences we may have.
Afterward we met some VIP fans then headed out to the foyer to sign autographs and take photo’s with fans who were patient enough to wait for us.
Back at hotel by around midnight we gathered as a complete unit and had a drink or two together. After everyone had gone to bed I sat with Sam, just the two of us, chatting about the future. I have spent most of my life with this guy and STILL we can sit and talk and plan and laugh like it’s just the beginning, which when you think of it, it still is.
For you see, it’s the beginning of “now.”
Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow ~Alan