Saturday, June 30, 2012

A day in St. John's; Alan Doyle at Club One

June 9th saw me getting up at 5am so I could be at work for 7. This is not unusual these days; I digress. After work, I hurried home to pack. Me and Roomie were being picked up by her Mom to spend the night in Garden Cove, before heading in to St. John's on the following day. And why were we treking to St. John's? To see Alan Doyle live at Club One; the final night of his tour for the solo album "Boy on Bridge" (reviewed on this blog about 3 or 4 posts ago)

The first thing we did upon reaching Garden Cove was check out the walking trail. It is beautiful. For those who don't know, Garden Cove is located on Placentia Bay. The walking trail offers some absolutely stunning views. It was built by local people (2 of whom are Roomie's Mom and step-Dad) and it is truly magnificent. After our little jaunt, we returned to the house and enjoyed supper.

The morning of June 10th saw us all waking later than we meant to but around quarter past 11am we started into St. John's. We reached Town about 1:30 and were met at Burger King by Roomie's cousin, Donna, who drove us into the heart of downtown to find our lodgings. Let me just say, much hilarity ensues when the two people who've actually been to a place are navigating by different landmarks than each other and the other person (ie Me) is too busy gawking out the car windows to be much help. We did eventually find where we needed to be and Roomie and I ran in to check in and put our bags away. But we weren't staying at the main place; we were in the over-flow up the block. So we hop back in the car and drive up the block and what do we see? Doyle house!!!! Seriously, the house where Mal & Rose & Tinny & Des live on the fabulous CBC comedy-drama "Republic of Doyle"!!! And not only did we see it, we were staying right across the street from it!!!! Roomie and I ran in and upstairs to put our things down and then ran back out to the car. Donna had agreed to drop us off at Leo's, home of legendary fish and chips. If anyone saw Alan Doyle's interview on George Strombolopolis, you'll remember his answer to best restaurant in St. John's was Leo's, without hesitation. So off we trooped, okay drove, to Leo's.

There's one little thing about Leo's that my 2 tour guides forgot and I learned quickly: Leo's is closed on Sundays. And June 10th was a Sunday this year. Hmmm, now what were we going to do? Being the intrepid (yeah, right) pair that me and Roomie are, we decided to walk back to our lodgings. Which was all fine and well, until we realized neither of us had too much of a clue which way back was. So we set off in vaguely the right direction, hoping that the rain would decide to hold off. We followed much the same route that we had driven in on, even to the point of taking the same wrong turn, but after a bit of a walk, we came to our lodgings.

Now, by this point me and Roomie were a bit hungry to say the least. I at least had had the sense to have a couple waffles out of the toaster before leaving Garden Cove; she hadn't. So, we quickly decided that a quick meal at the Duke (affectionate name for the Duke of Duckworth pub) made a bit of sense. So off we went, traisping along, me taking pictures of such landmarks as the Basillica of St. John's (you really can see it from most places in Town), the memorial cross for the soldiers of WWII, the court house (it totally looks like a fortress) and finally the sign for the Duke itself.

Interesting people sighting: while I tried to get a picture of the sign for the Duke, Roomie was standing off to the side a bit, wanting very much to just get inside already, when suddenly she leans over and says "It's Kendel and Dustin." Now this, dear reader was quite exciting because Dustin Bentall was the opening act for AD's tour and Miss Kendel Carson was playing fiddle in AD's band. We followed them down the steps and into the Duke. It was packed. Not just Sunday afternoon a bit busy, but absolutely jam-packed. Soccer qualifying rounds for the UEFA were in full swing. Roomie and I actually sat down for a few minutes but decided that it was late enough that we'd better head back to our lodgings and get ready for the show since we were to meet a friend of her's in a matter of hours for a bite and a drink. Before leaving the Duke though, Roomie sent a text to Twitter saying that we'd seen Kendel and Dustin out for a walk.

We made our way back to our lodging without incident and set to the task of getting ready for the show. This was hampered by the idiotic zipper on my dress refusing to cooperate. I swear it hates me; every time I've tried the dress on the zipper has made my life hell. While I was struggling with the zipper from hell, Roomie got a response text from  Kendal asking why she hadn't said hi and see you tonight at Club One. That had us both squealing, let me tell you. As if we needed more reason to be excited?

Once changed and made-up, we set out once again for the Duke. This trek though  was a little different as we were making it in 4" heels. Yes, you read that correctly: 4 inch heels. What? Nothing else would've suited our outfits. (Roomie was in a lovely little black number with quite the plunging V-neck. I was in a one-shoulder plum and black dress; the upper part being plum with a black mesh over it and the skirt being made up of lace flowers) Once at the Duke, we sat down and waited for Roomie's friend, who was accompanied by a friend of hers. We had a bit to eat as well as a drink. (confession: I had 2 drinks) and about quarter to 7, we set off for Club One, so that we'd have good place in line.

Oddly enough, we were the first four there. And so we waited. It wasn't until at least quarter to 8 that anyone else appeared. This sort of surprised me; I thought more people would've been eager to be there. Ah well when the doors did open (at 8:15pm), Roomie and I were the first two through them. And we made a bee-line for the stage where Roomie set herself up right in front of AD's mike. The benefit of waiting out in the cold with no jackets.

First onto the stage was the aforementioned Dustin Bentall. He was really good; very funny. He had the crowd laughing and bopping around a bit. Kendel came out and joined him for a few numbers which was phenomanal. The crowd was getting very warmed up.

And then the moment we'd been waiting for: AD and his band (talented Newfoundland-born guitarist Cory Tetford, Kris MacFarlane (yes, that Kris MacFarlane) on the drums, Kendel on fiddle and Shehab Iliyas on bass) took to the stage. AD thanked us all for coming and said how happy he was to see so many familiar faces. It was good to be home and since it was the last night of the tour, he was going to leave it all on the stage.

Now, I'm sure most of us have been to concerts and been really excited about it. And I'm sure we've all shouted and whooped and had a good time. And let me say there is nothing wrong with that. But when someone's behavior casts a pall over an evening of fun, I really have to say something about it. In the audience with us was a young woman who was extremely excited to see AD. So excited that she had to yell out "I love you, Alan!!!!" every 5 freakin' seconds. I kid you not. I had the misfortune to be next to her. And when she wasn't shrieking her undying love for AD she was thrashing about like a fish in the bottom of a boat and knocking into people. Those who know me, know that I have very good balance. That she pushed into me hard enough that I bumped into the people on the other side of me tells you how hard I was knocked into. More than once, I was ready to smack the drunk (because the woman had to be no fewer than 5 sheets to the wind) cow, sorry to all members of the bovine race. I treated her to enough of a look that her keeper, I mean friend switched spots with her. Perhaps the keeper, I mean friend sensed that blood-shed was on my mind? Her shrieking even continued when AD was introducing songs or telling little tales of the road. He was doing his damndest to entertain us; if this person was any kind of fan you'd think she would've shut up when her idol was speaking. Apparently, that would've taken brain cells that this creature had pickled that evening.

AD mentioned that while on tour, his picture had apppeared on the cover of the Newfoundland Herald. Now what do you think Roomie just happened to have with her in hopes of getting it signed after the show? She held it up for him to see and he plucked it from her hands, holding it next to his face and grinning. He mentioned that the day after he learned he was on the cover, he'd been given his very own bobblehead figure. I remember the picture he tweeted of his mini-AD.

During the tour, AD had been taking requests via Twitter before the shows and then doing 2 or 3 at the show. But in St. John's he used the first Twitter slot to honor his good friend, the late Dr. Jack Hand. with the song "Something Beautiful"; it had been requested by several people as well. Then he begged for our understanding and would we, the home crowd, indulge him on the second spot? He had a request of his own: his Dad, Tom, was in the audience and AD very much wanted to sing a song with him. What followed was some of the silliest banter I've ever seen live ("You've lost them all haven't you? He's broke.") and then the pair treated us to "Berry Picking Time". It was the sweetest moment of the night. (Not that that stopped Shrieky from calling out; seriously? The man's father is on stage with him and you can't shut your gob? What is wrong with you?)

It was a great show, despite Shrieky's attempts to ruin our evening. He did all but one song off his album and even threw in a couple GBS tunes (Dance, Dance, Hit the Ground and Run and Straight to Hell) that had us all dancing and singing along. (Those who know me best will be pleased to know I can and did do proper 3s during Dance, Dance in my heels ;) ) Roomie and I may have gotten a little bit Southern Gospel choir during "Testify" ;) We were having fun.
At some point during the later part of the show, there was a bit of commotion behind me and Roomie leaned over to say that Shrieky had fallen down. We would later learn (thank you Twitter) that not only had she fallen, but she had broken her ankle. Karma can be a bitch, dear readers. I'm happy to report, despite her best efforts to maim the rest of the audience, the only one hurt by what she termed "ambitious dancing" ie flaying like a fish out of water, was her not-so-sweet self.

After the show was over, Roomie and I made our way towards the back of the room; I needed to get my copy of AD's album. I was hoping to get it signed. Roomie had a chat with Dustin who was manning the table. And I snapped a picture of them.

Celebrity sighting: Mark Critch of CBC's "|This Hour Has 22 Minutes" was present at the show. Roomie and I were able to get photos with him and chat for a moment. He was quite impressed that I had moved to Newfoundland.

The next person we spotted was Cory Tetford. Funny story, Roomie's Mom and Grandma have known Cory since he was quite young. Roomie's Mom told her to tell Cory that he needed to tell AD it was about time he had a good Pentecost boy playing with him. And Roomie's Grandma wanted her to ask him to sing "African Boy". Cory laughed and said he'd definitely tell AD that and that he had done that song a long time ago. Then I snapped a pic of Roomie with him and she took one of me with him. Off we continued around the room.  

Heading toward the far end of the room, we spotted AD coming down the steps. And he spotted us. He came right on over and gave Roomie a hug, thanking her for coming. He grinned a bit sheepishly (I thought) and asked if he could see the Herald. She nodded and he moved over to the white-label ATM in order to have enough light to look over the article. The man nearly squealed with childlike delight when he found that the last page of the article about him ended on the page before the review on Chris Deburgh's recent show in St. John's. You know you've made it when you're in the same magazine as one of your childhood idols. And it just goes to show, we all have people we look up to no matter who we are. After perusing the Herald, AD quickly set to signing Roomie's Herald, copy of his album, her SUTS album (previously signed by Mr. Murray Foster) and the set-list from that evening. He went so far as to personalize the set-list and her album was signed with "Thanks" instead of the usual "Cheers". Then he put arm around Roomie while I snapped the photo of the two of them. I joined them for another photo (taken by Roomie's friend who had come over to see AD). He then excused himself but I wanted my album signed and I had the birthday card of our friend Carolyn that we wanted signed. The show was taking place on her birthday and although a Newfoundlander she now resides in Alberta and wasn't there for the show. I have to say the poor man looked absolutely beat and I apologized for being a bother. I was told it was no bother and he signed both with a smile.

We made our way towards the exit, when we spotted Kendel talking with Dustin. After the earlier Twitter exchange, Roomie had to introduce herself and we all had a good laugh and both Roomie and I got photos with her. She was quite impressed with my hair (we're hair twins in length and color) and she also said she loved my dress. (Note: apparently I know how to dress. Kim Stockwood said she loved my shoes in March and Kendel loved my dress) After one more turn around the room (Roomie wanted to get Kris to sign her SUTS album if possible) we made our way outside.

Roomie's friend and her friend had already left by this point so after taking off our shoes (Roomie was in serious pain from her heels; my feet just felt really hot), we made the trek through the streets ofdowntown St. John's in our fancy dresses and heels in hand. It should've been a Friday or Saturday night instead of a Sunday. Admittedly, neither of us could sleep and we were up until 5am.Roomie spent a good portion of that time getting her pictures added to facebook and chatting with friends who were commenting on said photos.

Next morning, we were up and ready to leave our lodgings around 10:30 or so. We waited for Donna to reappear and she surprised us with a quick trip to Signal Hill where we took photos and I signed the guestbook. There was also a stop to get lollipops and Donna surprised me and Roomie with Republic of Newfoundland bracelets; I needed a souvenir of my first visit to Signal Hill. She then drove us to Goobies to meet Roomie's Mom and then on home.

And that brings me to the end of my tale. It was a good trip and we had a lot of fun. Now, I'm awaiting our trip in when we will be attending Torbay's 250th birthday bash, hosted by GBS with the help of the Trews and Jimmy Rankin. That'll be a time too, I'm sure.


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