Friday, April 04, 2008

"Take a Ride Down That Yellow Brick Road..."

We took a last-minute one-day roadtrip last Friday. Raine Maida had been on tour to promote his CD, The Hunters Lullaby, for a couple weeks, but all of the shows except for two (Buffalo and Detroit) were too far away for us to make. As it neared, we decided to battle the winter doldrums and head for the Buffalo show.

Mom, Maude, and I hit the road a little bit after 1 PM. The ride was smooth until Maude started to vie for control of my iPod, a struggle which was waged all the way to Buffalo. Many excellent songs were tragically skipped as a result.

Not wanting to sit all the way in the back of our enormous van, we had a little setup with a lawn chair so Maude could sit near the front with us. It worked out fairly well, until we hit the parking lot of the rest stop in Angola, where a left turn sent her flying.

Artist's rendition

We peeled her off the floor and made our way inside to Denny's for a mid-drive bite. I loves me my mashed potatoes.

Once again, MapQuest dropped the ball at the end of our journey, leaving us circling a block, looking for the venue. Maude took a second spill as we circled. We ended up asking in a nearby police station how to find the Town Ballroom. It was two buildings down the street. In plain view from the police station parking lot.

After parking, traversing a shady alley, waiting outside the front of the building, backtracking down the same shady alley, and conquering a 5 inch step up through a doorway, we were greeted by Raine and led in to watch the the familiar faces of Chantal, Kevin, and Randy during soundcheck.

It's a music fan's paradise to sit and watch a soundcheck, I'm in awe every time. As amazing as it is to hear an artist play live, there's just something magical about watching them play without an audience. Those little random moments.
In between songs, Chantal would start playing different tunes. A few notes of Hallelujah, a Sting song I'm not familiar with, and despite it just being spur of the moment, it was beautiful. I felt so lucky as I took it all in, knowing I was seeing something not many get to see.

We chatted with Raine a little after they finished and even got to briefly meet their adorable son, Lucca.

After a few minutes, one of the opening acts took the stage for soundcheck. He didn't look or sound familiar, but it didn't take Mom, Maude, and I long to agree we liked what we were hearing. His name was David Ford and he impressed me. His voice is great and his use of a looping machine filled the room and made you forget he was performing alone on stage.

Here's a clip someone posted on YouTube from a performance in 2006.

We sat by ourselves until doors opened and we positioned ourselves by the stage for the show.

"Good evening..."
My photogenic aunt

David Ford did his thing and sounded great. He was followed by spoken word artist Jared Paul. Aside from a few times on TV and the net, I've never been exposed to spoken word performance, but it was definitely interesting and thought provoking. I'm not sure yet if it's my cup of tea, but I am glad to have experienced it.

Raine and company took the stage shortly after 9. Aside from some audio trouble with a guitar early on, it was a flawless show. They played through all the songs from The Hunter's Lullaby, including Sex Love and Honey (a personal favorite). He also covered Neil Young's Ohio and did an excellent acoustic version of Innocent, which the audience helped out with.

Chantal had her moment in the spotlight as she performed a haunting cover of Where Is My Mind? by The Pixies.
I had such a great time and can't thank Raine & Chantal enough.

After the crowd cleared out, we headed for the doors we came in through. Before we made it outside, we ended up hanging out and talking to drummer Randy Cooke and some of the crew for a while. It still cracks me up that we've been around backstage enough that the crew recognizes us and vice versa.

On our way to the van, I recognized my friend from the internet and fellow fan, Gail as she chatted with Randy and Kevin Fox. I stopped to say hello, but it was just a quick chat, due to the cold night air of Buffalo in March. It was really nice to finally meet her though.

Randy, Kevin, and me (Thanks, Gail!)
Me & Gail

We were on our way home a little after 11 PM. Wrong turns are getting to be something of a tradition on roadtrips with Mom and me, but this is the first time it's happened on a toll road and we literally had to pay for our mistake.
We made our second stop at the Angola rest stop to eat before the rest of our late night drive home. We were back on the road around 1. The ride was smooth and peaceful. Maude slept for most of it and my iPod was free to shine.

The long, but fun day was rounded out when we arrived home a little while after 3 AM. It was a crazy day, but a much needed break, I had a blast.

Until the next one.

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