The crew where the early birds of today and with a fresh Starbucks in hand, we drove off into a traffic jam on our way to the airport. Montreal was the city of today, and it was my first time into Canada. We where a bit worried about all of our luggage when flying with Air Canada in small planes, but we managed to get it over to Canada without real problems. Just when we thought it all was good, and we where walking to the exit of the airport we where stopped by someone of Customs. We needed to walk into a room, where we saw some people get investigated (all their suitcases where open and all contents spread out), so I thought the worst. This would take ages until they will have cleared us, and what will they do with all the instruments? So there we go, 5 baggage carts FULL with piles of bags, cases and instruments. The customs person looked at all those gear, and started asking me some questions about what kind of music we play and how long we will stay, and if we will sell our gear in Canada, etc. In my kindest and best English I answered all his questions, and then I saw him thinking: “Do I really want to search all that luggage… hhmm…. Let me think about it….. hhmmm… I guess not, I want to be in time for my coffee break… this will cost at least 45 minutes…” and that is exactly what he did, so we could walk on, into Canada without much trouble. Few…
Our driver got us straight to the venue, and immediately the crew started to set up and prepare the gear and instruments. I prepared the back stage area and within minutes the first press people gathered for interviews with the band. As soon as the band arrived, and the interviews where don, the sound check started. It sounded good, and as the gig was almost sold out it would be a full house.
Outside the row was long, and people where all excited to see Transatlantic. Some people recognised me from the Sola DVD and I had to sign some DVD’s and CD’s and had some nice talks with people. It amazes me how long people travel to see these guys play. It is great to see that progressive rock is still going strong!
During the show Nick D’Virgillio came by to see the guys, as he is living in Montreal for the time being, as working with Cirque du Soleil. After the show he came to meet the guys, and we had some nice chats. Of course Nick, Mike and myself had to take a picture with Neal, as having three drummers of Neal in one room! Rock on!!
When we led the band outside into the van there where quite a lot of fans still outside waiting to get a glimpse of the band, and hoping to get some stuff signed and get on a picture with the band. I had to play bad cop a bit, as the band really needed to get to the hotel. I am so sorry that some people had stood there for a long time, but what can you expect. The guys have played for over 3 hours, combined with insane travelling – they need their well-deserved rest.
First the driver dropped off the band to the hotel, as we where wrapping up at the venue. Somehow the driver took ages until he came back, so when he finally came to get us we where more than ready to go to the hotel. In the area of the hotel they where rebuilding the roads, so there was only one hidden entrance to the hotel. Our driver could not find it, leaving us circling the hotel for more than 25 minutes. Every road we tried was ore a dead end, or getting us further away of the hotel, or circling around it. In the end I was cracking up it was hilarious! Finally we found it, so around 3:30 am. I entered my hotel room. Remember, I did not sleep the night before, and the night before that I had only about 5 hours of sleep. So I was glad to be able to sleep. During this trip we had great hotels – I got them for real good deals, so the beds where all very good!
But sleep was short (again) as I had to catch the shuttle to the airport at 07:00 am. Again a short night of 3 hours of sleep…