Day 7 North America - Tuesday 17th July 2007
It’s another glorious day in Toronto. We’re just about to be booted out the hotel so I thought I’d make an early start on the blog. I’m not sure what we’re going to get up to yet since we have all afternoon to hang around before a radio interview at 5pm. The area we’re staying at the moment us a bit shady so we might head into the financial centre where all the nice buildings are for a look around. I’ve been up since 7:30am when Rosie left to do a radio show. The plan was to go back to sleep but I just couldn’t do it. There are trams running past the hotel every 2 minutes that keep us awake and my ear plugs kept falling out.....big lugs. I ended up just getting up and sending some video clips to our management which took an age over messenger. After that I took a walk to the shops near here and bought some lovely fresh fruit to keep me going on the diet!
It’s definitely a bit scary round here. It’s not uncommon to see people stoating about on their own mumbling away to themselves or shouting at traffic! I put my shades on in case we make eye contact!
I’m now sat in Rex’s Jazz and Blues bar with Tippi and Gill trying to steal wi-fi from somewhere! It’s not happening though. People are wise to gypsies like us now and have more security on their routers than there own house. We’ve been wandering around the centre of town since 12:30 and we feel like lost souls. I sat on the steps of Old City Hall for a while but I got a bit freaked out by the randoms walking past picking up cigarette butts all the time. I walked across to Starbucks to see if I could use their wi-fi but it was $7.50 for an hour....sod that! As I was walking out the door I bumped into Tippi and then Gill further along the road. We found each other using the force! Rosie is on the hunt for a belt since she forgot to bring one and her trousers are practically round her ankles. She’s a bit of a shopaholic and will no doubt come back with everything except a belt.
We still have 2 hours to kill with no hotel to go to. Toronto is OK but we don’t feel safe walking around, especially since we look like tourists. Once we’ve done the radio show at 6 tonight, we’ll head to the gig and then we’ll go to dinner with our Canadian PR team. We’re hoping we go to the same Thai restaurant as last night.
Once the gig is over, we’ll be hitting the road and crossing into the USA. We’ll be passing Niagra Falls so we’re hoping we have time to stop as we’ve heard it’s all lit up at night and looks really amazing. Also, if we visit it tonight, we’ll get a long lie in the morning! We’ll be staying in Buffalo tonight and then we’ll travel to New Jersey at some point in the morning.
We’re now sitting in the studios of The Edge radio station in the middle of town. We’re absolutely exhausted after trekking round the shops. We didn’t buy one thing. We’ll save the PDs for a few beers tonight. We have tried in vain all day to get internet access to no avail. Rosie and Tippi have gone to the gig already so hopefully they’ll have lifted in all the gear for us! The interview is running late already and we hate waiting around. I can feel the crabbiness setting in! God help the interviewer.
Well, the rest of the night ended up being quite eventful! Firstly we didn’t really expect the gig to be busy since Rosie, Gill Frank and myself went in the night before for a wee drink and a look round. There was no-one in the bar at all even when the bands came on. By the time we went on stage it was really busy, about 150 people to be more accurate. We had to really pull out all the stops for this one since there were about 20 music industry people there to see us. We powered through the set brilliantly, playing every beat with mighty intent. Tippi’s bantering with the crowd flowed exceptionally well which earned us all a black sambucca from the lovely bar man during “I Need You”.
After the set we split up, 2 doing gear and 2 doing swag. We could just about control the queue for t-shirts and Cds it was so busy! The best bit was counting the dollar bills out at the van afterwards....I felt like The Police when you hear them talk about the sack fulls of money they counted in the plane after a show! They would throw the notes up in the air and dance about in it. OK, I’m exaggerating when I say our sales went as well as that. I did throw the money up in air in the van but it was quickly snatched up by Frank and put safely in the kitty! Tut.
Once we were packed up we went back into the venue to say our goodbyes to everyone, took advantage of many drinks that were bought for us and used up the rest of the drink tokens to get a carry out for the van. We soon headed for Buffalo via Niagra Falls carrying on and generally annoying Frank with our bad behaviour and cheek. He’s still with us today though so it couldn’t have been that bad.
It’s fair to say we were burlin’ and conked out at about 1am on the way to Niagra Falls. We woke up at about 2am to see the Falls form the window in the van. It was absolutely AMAZING! The roar from the sheer force of the water is louder than Gill’s snoring and that’s saying something.
Usually, the Falls are lit up at night and it looks really spectacular but since we were there so late, the lights were off. How stingy.
It was also really misty and rainy on the road going past the falls. This is due to the spray coming off it. The fact that this covers the road is mental cos it’s set quite far back from the water!
It was time to get back in the van since we still had to cross the border into America and the checkpoint is only 2 mins from the Falls. As we were approaching the booths, Frank asked for the passports. There was a lot of kafuffle from the back of the van; the sound of Gill tipping her bag upside down in a panic looking for her passport. It was nowhere to be seen. Oh dear. She decided it must be in her suitcase so she jumped out the van and opened the back door. There were cymbal stands, bags and guitars strewn all over the road as she attempted to reach for her case at the back of the boot. Just at this point, I looked out the front windscreen to be faced with 5 cops charging at us with torches and guns. I prayed that they would not be jobs worthies and see the funny side. The Funny side being that Gill was blitzed and her case looked like a burst couch with knickers, bras and socks spilling out the top.
Once they realised we weren’t terrorists a couple of the cops went back to their perch and the others stayed to be entertained by Tippi’s rendition of a Frank Sinatra number whilst Gill “the spill” grovelled and apologised for causing a commotion. She found the passport in the suitcase. It’s not unlike bass players to cause so much grief. Believe that if you will!
The fun wasn’t over yet. We were now able to trundle over to the actual booth to get the passports checked. We did so and were greeted by what can only be described as jumped up female with small person’s disease. She grilled us one by one, demanding our Sunday names and staring us in the eye in a threatening manner. Of course as soon as Frank said, “Francis Gallagher”, there were stifled drunken sniggers from the back of the van. This prompted her to come round the side and throw open door to reveal the four of us strategically placed around a huge puddle of Budweiser from a wee incident earlier. The bus reeked and our eyes were like pin pricks. We must’ve looked like illegal immigrants. After she went round us all, giving us the hairy eyeball, she went back to her seat in the booth. She was not too impressed with myself since my white card was missing from my passport! As I scrambled about my bag to look for it, she asked if I was the trouble maker! Cheek. I was quick to inform that the bass player is in fact holding that title. I found the card but she let us through anyway. I don’t know if that was lucky for her or lucky for us!
The main thing is, we’re now in America and they cannae stop us now!