Friday, November 20, 2009

Gallagher Centre, Yorkton, SK

Grill Bill is not looking any better this morning. We came out to the truck to find a big black dog eating him! Wings and head are entirely gone. We hope it makes him sick— the Dog, that is. The owner of the dog was standing around watching. Hope it makes him sick, too. But he seemed to enjoy it. While we'll miss our mascot, we are surprised to see that Bill had actually smashed through the front of the truck. It's a one piece, plastic front end— the whole front end is made from one continuous, molded piece of plastic. Crumb! This looks expensive. Dave gloves up and tried to remove the rest of Bill. But Bad Bill is NOT coming out of the front of the truck! There's bones and feathers sticking out, but they are lodged in there really, really tight. The body shop guys will have to get it out somehow. We don't have tools to do that out here in Redvers this morning. Bill is no longer as amusing as he once was. Or as pretty an ornament!

After a lengthy and unspectacular breakfast, we hit the road for Yorkton, SK. We'll be playing at the Gallagher Convention and Sports Centre. This is always a great town to play, and we have plenty of fans who come out to support the big room presentation. Tonight it is to be a dinner and show package— a prime rib affair we are looking forward to. The chef at the Centre really knows his business— no rubber chicken there! Also, the Centre itself is extremely well managed. Everything always runs smoothly. The place is modern, sparkling clean— a perpetually busy hub for the town of Yorkton and the surrounding region. Dave was born in Yorkton and, strangely, my great -grandfather lived there from 1901 until 1910. It's always interesting for me to look up at his old offices on Broadway. I'd love to poke around town and check out the archives and library, but the Tour always seems to move quickly through here— as it does through most places. We're always in motion. Big Dave's family moved on when he was still a very little Dave, but tonight Yorkton's our town.

We get to ride some secondary highways north today. Most of the time it's just us out here. I wanted to take Dave to Slow Helen's, in Melville, for lunch. Ah, we're too far east today.

If we get to the hotel an hour or two early I can work on the Blog which, as you probably know, is way behind now. Or I could sleep for a while. We're getting to that point in the Tour for sure. We cross the TransCanada Hwy and continue north.

We arrive early and check in. I've got book keeping and email— no nap for me. We're recognized in the lobby, which is always a good sign. A quick stop at the Centre, where I'm told advance tickets have suddenly started to move. I have a feeling that the night will be well attended. Sound is not as smooth as I'd like it to be. The young lad appointed to be our tech knows how to carry gear and plug it in, but live, acoustic sound does not appear to be something he's had much experience with yet. First we argue over the mics, their trim and their positioning. I like to be supportive of my tech people— but finally I tell him "I've done hundreds of shows a year with these SM57 and SM58 mics, since before you were born!" We finally get the sound to a reasonable position, and go back to the hotel to suit up. Later, when we start the show, the techie immediately starts sliding the faders up and down. I can't kill him in front of so many witnesses, but I'd like to... freeze him solid for the rest of the evening. It's a four mic set up for acoustic music... grrrr...

Dinner is amazing, and the Hall is pretty full. A whole bunch of people out to see us wearing National Steel Tour jackets— including Casey. He's a big fan who also came to Saskatoon and, I think, Wadena, SK, last month. Distances don't seem to mean much to these prairie folks.

The bad news is I have lost the Tour camera. Well, I did find it, post-show, by then too late to record the festivities. I snapped Casey with my iPhone. I guess I should of used it the rest of the night as well, but I habitually turn it off and store it prior to a show. So what can I say? Another great night. Everyone well fed. Jacket winner. Encore. Sound guy gets it all together between sets. Hey, maybe he'll be mixing for Randy Bachman next time. You never know. Warm and fun. I think Yorkton's one of the friendliest spots on the Tour. Reps from 2 other venues try to poach us for return shows... Did I tell you that we're VERY venue loyal? We very much appreciate the offers, but The Gallagher Centre has first call in this region. Thanks, Don. And thanks Yorkton for another superb night.

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