Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Day 2- "We Were Occupied, I Never Had to Go Outside..."

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I hate hotel beds. I've had a water bed my whole life, so sleeping away from home has always been something of a challenge. Making sleep more of a challenge was the heater in the room. This thing was so loud and ran almost constantly. It ran so much that when I finally fell asleep, it woke me up by shutting off. Needless to say, it was a fairly restless night.

Mom was up before I was and snapped a few shots out the window. There were giant chunks of ice floating down the river in the morning sun.

As I woke up on the day of the concert, I checked out some of the many channels and was overjoyed to see MuchMusic. I was a huge fan back when our cable company carried it, but they dropped it years ago. It was where I first found a lot of the bands I still listen to today. It was nice to be able to watch it again for a few minutes.

While we got ready to go find somewhere to eat, we noticed a boat coming down the ice-filled Detroit River. As it got closer, we could see it was actually an icebreaker.

A few minutes later, it was followed by another one. It was a pretty cool sight.

Mom and I wandered down to the River Runner Lounge, just off of the hotel lobby for breakfast, but found it didn't open until 2:30. Having a half hour to kill, we decided to go check out how to get to the Chrysler Theatre. It worked out nicely, since the Hilton was right next door and the buildings are connected, we didn't even have to go outside to get to the venue.

We went as far as the ticket booth door, which was locked, and turned around to find the door we had just come through was now locked. There was an open door leading to an empty meeting room, which we passed through and found an employee who helped us out.

Still having time to kill, we wandered a bit more. Checked out the gift shop. Posed with a funky little statue. The usual.

When they finally opened, we got a quick bite and and a little wine (what a breakfast) in the lounge. Jeff called halfway through, asking what I was up to that night. When I said I was in Canada, he responded with a classic "Whaaaaaaaaaaat?" and we made plans to hang the next night.

A little while later, we headed over for the sound check, as we were so kindly invited again. It was a great time, watching Chantal and Raine play and visiting with them and their awesome crew for a bit before the show.

The concert itself was excellent. The show in St Catharines was great, but this one blew it out of the water. The venue was bigger, the crowd was bigger and more responsive, and the performances from both Raine and Chantal were more finely polished.

During his set, Raine played two new songs from his forthcoming album, both of them, especially Yellow Brick Road, sounded great. I'm really looking forward to hearing the completed album.

One funny moment came when Raine commented how happy the audience seemed and suggested it was cause of all the strip clubs in the area. Seconds later, Chantal chimed in from behind the piano, "Not gonna happen, honey."

Chantal's set was excellent, mixing it up newer songs with the older ones. After opening with So Cold, she briefly paused the show, noticing several audience members had an extremely obstructed view, due to the piano's position on the stage. She took a few minutes and actually had some chairs brought up on stage, she then brought some of the audience members up.

Chantal and the band, including Raine on bass, sounded in top form. So many personal favorites were played, including Time, Ghosts of You, Surrounded, and a recently reworked version of Wayne.

After leaving the stage, Chantal returned to the stage for an encore minus the band and completely unplugged. She sat, legs dangling over the edge of the stage, with just her guitar and her voice, no microphone or amp, and performed a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Far Away. This was my sixth time seeing her in concert and I was blown away by her ability to hold such a large crowd in awe with her voice alone.

I've always loved the song, but this was the best it's ever sounded. Obviously, I wasn't the only one who thought so, as the song was interrupted by applause for about thirty seconds before it ended.

The band returned to join Chantal for the remainder of the encore and close out an incredible show.

Mom and I quickly went back to thank Raine & Chantal and say our see-you-laters before heading back to the hotel.

We decided to stop in the lounge for a drink, but found it was closed. Before midnight. On a Friday. After a concert. In a casino town. Does that make sense to anyone? Cause it sure seemed odd to us.

So we went with Plan B and went back to the room and hit some snacks Mom packed. Some pretzels and a few cookies later, we called it a night and got some sleep before the drive home in the morning.

What an amazing day. All that without ever even going outside.

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