ROD'S DIARY - VANCOUVER JUNE 3
VANCOUVER is definitely one of my favourite cities anywhere. I have been here quite a lot on past tours but also passing through to see my parents who live on the adjacent Vancouver Island just 30 min away by seaplane. We also stayed here when I took the family on an Alaskan Cruise a couple of years ago, out of Vancouver up to Ketchikan, Juneau, Sagway and the Hubble Glacier (hope I spelt/remembered these correctly). I highly recommend this cruise, it's very memorable with plenty of whales and bears and eagles, and the scenery and Glacier itself was spectacular. (Although, upon hearing his friend comment that he hoped to see columns of ice falling off the glacier, one chap asked if that was due to Global Warming. Doh!) Staying a few days after in Vancouver my 15 year old daughter was demanding to live there.
Over the Rockies.
Sadly we ended out in a supposedly quality but actually naff hotel downtown whose only advantage was its proximity to a good Irish bar. But that's what you get when Janick books the hotels! The hotel also seemed to generate a background noise and most of us had trouble sleeping, which is not much help for 3 consecutive nights on a tour.
All these Canadian shows sold out in days in late March and over 12,000 attended this show. It was completely packed. In the morning the crew were able to move the stage back a bit with fork lift trucks freeing up a few hundred more tickets at the sides and these were selling as soon as they were made available. Although these seats aren't great we feel the fans would rather be there than not at all and Bruce goes out of his way to make the sides totally involved in the show so I think they all get to have a great time.
One thing I did notice though was how relatively few standing tickets are allowed on the floor in Canada. More elf'n'safety gone mad. Canada is actually quite a PC place, probably more than the UK now. It looks a bit odd when the standing crowd doesn't even reach back to the mixing desk. In Chicago a few days later there were over twice as many on a similar sized floor. We like as many fans on the floor as we can, especially noisy active ones as their passion really drives the show. It was a really fantastic audience here and at all of the Canada shows so this anomaly wasn't that noticeable but it's a shame we couldn't get in another five hundred to a thousand fans due to what I would consider overzealous security/safety measures. This may be an unfair comment as often capacity is ruled by adequacy of fire exits but the exits looked pretty good to me, and the same thing largely applied to the other venues here too.
Look into the eyes... the eyes!
The show went really well (thanks everyone) and after most of us ended out at an Irish Bar near the hotel -- only to get chucked out at closing time... midnight would you believe. Anyway we found another so all was not lost.
I should mention we have Sam, Scot and the documentary crew with us for a few days here to film to do some band interviews. Apparently the documentary movie is taking shape and they needed some specific comments and links to cover areas which were starting to become apparent as necessary as the edit proceeded. They caught up with Jan, Ian and myself today and the rest over the next few days. Of course they were all in the second pub and you could say a good night was had by all .....well it is a day off the next day!!
On the way to Vancouver Island
However I was up early to catch a seaplane from the Inner Harbour downtown a few blocks from the hotel. Although a bit cramped its great fun on sea planes and you fly low so get a great view of the spectacular scenery and islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. I met my parents in Victoria. My sister Pam, my only sibling, and husband Keith moved to Edmonton 30 or so years ago and my parents followed them soon after to be with their grandchildren Nicky and Scott. Years later when the cold winters were getting too much -- it can get to minus 40 on the prairies -- they moved to the more equitable climate of Vancouver Island.
Halibut is a popular local catch and we had that for lunch at an English pub, what else, and then went home to watch what was to become the final game of the Stanley Cup, Detroit beating Pittsburgh to win the best of 7 series by 4-2 I think it was. Ice Hockey is THE obsession in Canada and is a terrific game to watch. Even my mother, whose only contact with sport while in the UK was washing my smelly rugby kit, is into it. When they lived in Edmonton in the 80s we would go and watch the Oilers who were kings then with the (truly) Great (Wayne) Gretsky, along with Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr and enforcer Slemenko (spelling??) I even saw Gretskys first ever game for the LA Kings when he moved there later in the 80s. He was one of the greatest sporting figures of all time smashing every hockey record there was, and I would assume many still stand to this day. He was the national hero of Canada and when he moved to LA, with part ownership of the franchise as part of the deal, Canada was in mourning. I guess they were in mourning again this year as there was no Canadian team in the Stanley Cup!!!
It was great to spend time with my parents who I hadn't seen for a while but the following morning it was back on the seaplane to Vancouver to meet up back at the hotel to head for Calgary.
Back to Vancouver.
Vancouver float planes
Yes, you've guessed it!