Wednesday, July 22, 2009

June 27th, 2009- "I Can Take a Wrong Turn, You're Right Behind Me"

Concert day had arrived.

I woke up on that nice Canadian Saturday morning without the aid of the fire alarm, thankfully. I did end up sleeping a little later than I wanted, though. Seems to happen a lot, doesn't it?

Once the rest of the crew was up, we set out to get a little something to eat. We ended up going across the street to The Famous, a diner-type restaurant inside the casino building.

It was okay, nothing outstanding and we had to wait a long for the food and the check.

I was hoping to get to the winery early enough to catch the sound check, so we hurried back to the hotel as soon as we finished eating to compensate for another potentially long wait for valet to bring the van.
I swear, they must have known how ticked we were the day before and sent out a memo or something. We had the van within five minutes.

Things were running smoothly and we were on our way. Until we got on the QEW, that is.
Traffic on the freeway was at a dead stop on a hot and sunny day. We were pretty much baking inside the van.

As we inched forward ever so slowly, we saw that the freeway was closed in both directions ahead of us.

We later found out there had been an accident earlier and that they usually only close down both directions if they have to land a medical helicopter on the freeway.

When we reached the detour, my MapQuest directions became useless, so we asked the officer directing traffic how to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake. He pointed out a van that was headed that way and told us to follow him. So we did.
Before too long, we were back on the QEW and lined up with my directions once again.
And then we got lost on the country roads and had to stop and ask for directions.

When we finally arrived at the Jackson-Triggs winery, the usually 20 minute long drive from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake had taken 2 hours.

Sadly, we missed sound check, but ended up bumping into Sandy and Kathy right as we were getting out of the van. I chatted with them a little bit, then Mom, Granny, Maude, and I headed inside the main building to pick up our tickets. While inside, my friend Nadia spotted me and we talked for a few minutes. I've kept in touch with her since the last time I visited the winery, but it was great to catch up in person.

Tickets in hand, we made our way toward the amphitheater and ran into Terence and Russell on our way. After chatting a little, we headed in.
Our tickets included dinner, so we popped over to the food tent. We found a nice shady spot and ate while having a nice visit with Kathy and Sandy.
I was a bit tense from the ride, so I didn't eat all that much, but what I had (pork, potatoes, fruit) was good. The wine certainly helped ease the tension. I went with the Chardonnay.

With showtime approaching, we headed to our seats. Nadia got off of work and came over to see us again before taking off. She told us about her upcoming wedding and all the fun and craziness that goes along with it. I'm sure it'll all go smoothly and I wish her all the best!

Before the show started, Mom and I went to shut off our cel phones and noticed we had both missed calls from Kris. Mom called him back to make sure everything was okay and found out Matthew ate gravel.
He was standing right next to Kris in their driveway and in one quick swoop, bent down, grabbed a stone, and downed it.
He's fine though. He pretty much looked at Kris as if to say "Dude, chill. What's the problem?" when he was searching his mouth for the rock.

Never a dull moment at home, even when we're not there.

Finally, they brought Chantal down the hill on a little golf cart and she took the stage along with Kevin Fox and Karen Graves. She began with another great performance of Leaving on a Jet Plane and the show was rolling.

She looked radiant and, as always, sounded amazing. Last time she played at Jackson-Triggs, we were the first audience to hear Halfway Around the World, she continued the tradition and debuted two new songs from her upcoming album for us- Invincible and 5,000 Days. Both sounded excellent, I was especially fond of 5,000 Days.
And as a bonus, it was also her first time playing These Days, a song she wrote for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack, live.

The winery is such a great setting for a concert. The cool, Canadian night air mixed with Chantal's music, the intimate seating arrangement, and the great wine on top of all that. Combined, it just creates a magical vibe.

Chantal was her usual chatty self in between songs. The running discussion of the night was whether the occasional scent of manure wafting in from the surrounding fields came from a cow or a cat.

After a few more songs, there was a short intermission. I'll admit, I took the opportunity to get a refill on my wine.

Once the sun had finished setting, Chantal, Karen, and Kevin returned and continued the show under the stars.

So Cold, Half of Me, and Feels Like Home were some of the songs we got to hear in the second half. Plus, the guy who was calling out to hear Wayne all night got his wish.
After "finishing", Chantal came back for an encore and played All I Can Do to end the night.

It was another amazing show that I wish didn't have to end. Even with the overall hectic vibe the trip seemed to have, while I was at that concert, there was no stress and no worries. I love Twilight in the Vineyard.
In a bit of awesome news, they announced that the show was recorded and will be aired on the radio in the fall to coincide with the release of Chantal's new album.
I can't wait to hear it and relive that night.

As the crowd made their way away from the amphitheater, we followed and headed to the main building, where Chantal would be doing an autograph signing.
Inside, we caught up with Kathy and Sandy again. In their continuing awesomeness, they surprised me again with Chantal's setlist. I swear, I can't thank them enough.

Guardians of the setlist.

The gang.

The whole group of us hung around and talked about the show while Chantal signed autographs a few feet away. Once the line started to dwindle, we headed over.

When it was my turn, I got to have a nice little visit with Chantal. I found out her album, Plain Jane is coming out in September, so that'll be a nice little birthday-month bonus for me. Before saying our see-you-next-times, she signed the setlist for me and of course, we took a picture together.

Then, I spent some time talking to Del from Jackson-Triggs. He found my blog entry about Chantal's last show at the winery and was looking forward to (and waiting patiently for) this new entry. I know it's long and kind of rambly, but I hope it was worth the wait.
He's working at setting up some more great concerts there, so I'm sure I'll be seeing him again before too long.

It was approaching midnight and getting chilly, so we said bye to gang, piled into the van, and headed back to Niagara Falls. The return trip was much smoother than the ride out. We only missed one turn.

Upon getting back to the hotel, I was ready to parttake in our last-night-at-the-Falls tradition of going to Fridays. Granny didn't feel like going out and asked if we minded if she stayed behind and relaxed in the room. Of course it was no problem, though we missed having her there.

So Maude, Mom, and I made the late night trek to Fridays by ourselves. I split a meal with Mom and also got the fried macaroni and, of course, an ultimate long island iced tea. I guess I had a bit of a party night that night. It was a blast.

We wandered back to hotel somewhere between 3 and 4 AM and found, to our surprise, Granny still awake and watching TV. Apparently, she watched Braveheart and Independence Day while we were out.
That's my Grandma, folks.

Exhausted after a fantastic night, we all crawled off to bed for the pre-drive-home sleep. And man, I was really conked out.

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