Monday, March 29, 2010
March 29, 2010
Doc MacLean & Big Dave McLean Thank You
Century Blues Tour a Great Success with Help from Our Friends
The Century Blues Tour wrapped in December after playing 104 shows in 92 days. We played to over ten thousand people in 9 provinces and 2 territories. This Tour was the Big One— a “Century” Tour of over 100 back to back shows— likely the most comprehensive music tour ever achieved in Canada. If you haven’t already done so, you can visit or re-visit this Tour Blog and follow the Tour’s daily progress from start to finish. It’s mostly up to date now, though I’ll probably be adding a few movies and some more text here and there over the next month. Check in and leave your comments, if you like! Who would of thought it would take so long to finish up the loose ends? Now it's time to say "good-bye" to the Century Tour and "hello!" to new projects.
Tours like this don’t just happen. They involve months of work, and significant efforts by a huge team of people. Usually I contact everybody individually to give my thanks, but this time the numbers are simply too big. On a daily basis probably three or four or five or ten different people did things that helped to keep us going, and helped to make the Century Tour the success that it was. Now, post tour, I’ve got a list of nearly 400 people and organizations that need to be thanked! That’s one of the reasons why I’m posting this somewhat generic note. There are many special people to whom Big Dave and I are deeply grateful— and there are simply not enough days available to write personal notes to everyone. Finally, our fans made it happen— they bought the tickets and filled the seats. We appreciate that beyond words.
Canadians love the blues. Big Dave and I were treated wonderfully coast to coast by a great group of individuals and organizations, both commercial and non-profit. It’s rather humbling after all of these years to have fostered this kind of support. Dave and I want to express and underline our deep and sincere thanks to everyone who was involved.
This said, I need to acknowledge the participation and support of a few individuals and organizations who played larger roles. Firstly, Jeff Long and Long & McQuade. We were shown tremendous hospitality in their many locations across Canada. Conducting master classes and workshops with Long & McQuade enabled us to interact with communities on a real, grass roots level. And their backline support of the Tour was flawless. As expected, everything worked wonderfully. When we needed a replacement cable or a mic stand the L&M staff were always cheerful, helpful and there for us. Coast to coast. Dave and I are also career customers. We like the way these guys do business. We are sincerely very proud to have had the support and participation of this great Canadian company. http://www.long-mcquade.com.
Tour council, Paul Sanderson, Sanderson Law, http://www.sandersonlaw.ca, kept our spirits up as we went through some truly bizzare, behind the scenes challenges. His expert advice and calm guidance probably saved the tour. Paul’s been a great supporter over the last thirty years or so, but his assistance to Big Dave and I was way beyond the call of professional duty. A musician— a blues musician at that— as well as one of the most experienced entertainment lawyers in Canada, he brings real empathy and compassion to his work. I am so grateful to have a place on his client list.
Richard Flohil, Richard Flohil & Associates, http://www.richardflohil.com, publicist, promoter, wordsmith, music lover… also provided assistance and advice to the Tour. When you are working with Richard, you are working with the best. His participation was much appreciated, and helped us through from launch to last.
CBC Radio. Peter Skinner in particular. He encouraged us to bring the Tour to the North— and we did. Then he and his staff recorded us and co-promoted a show in Yellowknife. We are also grateful to CBC staff in nearly every major city and region. We did interviews coast to coast, and the airplay we received on these shows had a huge impact on our final box office. Thanks for supporting and taking an interest in the Century Tour. This was, I believe, a very significant, all-Canadian event. At some point you’ll be hearing Peter’s recordings of the Century Tour on Canada Live and on Saturday Night Blues. http://www.cbc.ca.
DPI Graphics. http://www.dpigraphicsgroup.com. From out there in the wilds of Mississauga, ON, once again these guys did a tremendous job with all of our print materials, including the very cool banners that vanished somewhere between High River, AB and White Rock, BC!
And last, but not least: to anyone and everyone else who promoted shows, took chances, took us home and fed us, upgraded our hotel rooms, took us on tours, picked us up at airports, presented us on local radio and television, helped carry gear, provided great sound, packed bag lunches, gave us cds, books, hugs, handshakes, opening shows, fine dinners, lunches, jokes and laughs, encouragement, praise, photos, reviews, advance press, smiles, applause, air time, fixed guitars, changed strings, made coffee, bought red wine, followed the Tour blog, made posters, printed banners, embroidered jackets, bought cds, came to shows in rain, snow and moonlight… You made it happen and gave us 1000 reasons to keep on this crazy blues highway… Thanks. We hope to see you next time. We really do.
Very, Very, Best Regards,
Doc MacLean & Big Dave McLean
National Steel “Darker Ways” Blues Tour, solo Doc MacLean, fall 2010 (all Canada)
National Steel “Big Road Blues” Tour, Doc MacLean & Big Dave McLean, fall 2011 (all Canada, plus Alaska).
Sunday, March 28, 2010
We never did get our four, brand new boom stands and clips back from Smoke Meat Pete's in west Montreal. Despite several— at least 5— expensive phone calls to the venue, leaving a shipping address each time, asking them to send this gear COLLECT to me via ANY courier service, the gear has never materialized. Pete's acknowledged having the gear just after it was left there— some five months ago— and I've paid $108.00 in rental fees on it since the Tour closed our Long & McQuade agreement in December. They've also admitted to having the gear in subsequent conversations, each time re-requesting my shipping address. It would of been great to get the gear back a few days after it was left there— but this is nearly six months later. Pete makes a great sandwich, but the $250. loss I seem to have taken on the gear probably means my next Montreal sandwich will be bought downtown... Not happy about this at all.
We never did get our Tour banners back either. These vanished somewhere between Invermere, BC and White Rock, BC. I contacted all of the venues between these points, and nobody admitted to having them, or perhaps looked very hard for them. These were quite expensive to produce, but really dressed up the larger stages nicely. We missed the banners once they were gone. Somebody has them. Nice trophies. I can't use these again, anyway, but I was disappointed that they didn't turn up.
I believe that Enterprise Car Rentals of Etobicoke, (west Toronto) ON screwed us for $275.00 on our six week rental. There was a defective hinge or door lift support on the hatch door of our Dodge Caravan. They filed an "accident report" on this warranty covered part, and billed it to my credit card while we travelled for an additional two months. Nor would they call me on my cell phone to discuss this— only my home phone would do. Total bullshit by a stupid local operator who won't be seeing $2000- 3000. in rentals from my Tours anymore. I should add that Enterprise staff in Winnipeg and elsewhere have been fabulous— especially at the Winnipeg airport. Toronto seems to have a problem— maybe greed and dishonesty? Sheer stupidity? I can't decide, but probably one condition leads to the other. Customer satisfaction certainly doesn't seem to be high on their list of priorities.
Not bad, I guess, for 3 months of steady touring. Most people, companies, suppliers, venues, techies, were really great. So I won't gripe the blog beyond these few disappointments.