Home, trying to get to Whitecourt

February 17th, 2015

Saturday, February 14th, 2015. Trying to get to Alberta since late Wednesday night. Snownami hit St. John’s and my Thursday and Friday attempted flights (6 of them) have all been cancelled.
This looks to be one of those completely bizarre days that may be best explained just by documenting it as it rolls by.

Here goes…(all times as local as I can guess them)

3:30 am-alarm sounds and I wake in St John’s and call a cab for the airport
3:35 am- receive email from Air Canada that flight to TO has been cancelled
4:00 am-spend ten minutes on the phone trying to use Uber Super Elite Million Miler power to get on 5:15 flight to Montreal. Manage to do so just as flight is cancelled.
4:20-am spent the next 4 hours in and out of phone calls to try and get on added flights to TO. Fail. Manage to get on a flight to Edmonton, via Ottawa. It is to leave at 1:30 arriving Edmonton 8:20. My set at Whitecourt is slated for 9:50…its is a 2 hour drive from the airport. Asked if I want to cancel and I don’t. The bus and band a crowd are all gonna be there. I think of all the hard work and preparations promoters, managers and volunteers have done to make this happen. I think of the band who gave up their Valentines days with their families to come play with me. I think about he crowd who would have got baby sitters or the night off or whatever. I think about them all. And I did not want to disappoint any of them. But to be honest, I hope its ok to confess that the biggest reason I wanted to make this unlikely dash across the country and make the gig was for me. I want to be there too. I did not get in this business to find good reasons to not play concerts. I got in this business because I love playing concerts more than anything else. And I’ll do just about anything to not lose one of them.
7:45 am-help The Prince deliver Valentines surprise to the Fairest of them All…delightful as I was suppose to miss it all.
8:20 am-make a breakfast with one eye on the YYT site. No aircrafts there yet.
9:20 am- hear what sounds like first flights landing at YYT, beginning to think I might actually get on a plane today.
10 am-take advantage of bonus morning at home and go snowshoeing with The Prince. He figures they only work because they make your feet bigger. Smart fella.
11:30 am-head for airport and learn that despite what I thought I heard earlier, not a single jet had landed at YYT in over 24hours. Check in for flight, that is now delayed till 2:15, pending arrival
11:45-go have Valentines Lunch with The Fairest One of All and the Prince…at Mary Browns near airport. I know. I am a Lady killer. (The pea soup at the Mary Browns Diner near Stavanger is amazing, by the way)
12:30 pm-back to airport to sit and look out the window hoping for any plane to come from anywhere.
1:25pm-my plane lands and pulls up to the gate
2:00pm-board and shortly after we take off for Ottawa vis Halifax.
3:00 pm- successful turn around in HFX and off to Ottawa. I watched Box Trolls…grand flick.
4:35 pm-arrive Ottawa dash to Edmonton gate. Arrive at gate in plenty of time to make connection, but there is no plane to be seen.
5:45 pm- tardy inbound flight from MTL arrives. ETA in Edmonton now closer to 9pm local
6pm-board flight and proceed to sit on tarmac for over an hour as they mend an electrical thingy and de-ice the wings. Use time to text back and forth with Russell Crowe about he and I and Scott Grimes and Carl Falk and a few more all being in LA on Feb 28th when I play The Mint. Should be deadly.
7:20-finally take off for Edmonton. I text tour manager Andy and say, ‘I am going to be late.’
9pm-live Twitter chat with folks on in flight wifi…thanks for the company.
9:35 pm-land in Edmonton and meet driver who recently emigrated from China. As we are waiting for three pieces of equipment to come out of baggage, he says in the loveliest Asian-learning-English accent,
‘Sorry, my English is not so good, but I am told you are famous Canadian Rock Star who needs to get to a concert where thousands of people call your name. It is a great honour of mine to have this duty tonight. I will do everything in my power to get you to your people.’ And then he bowed. I’m friggin’ serious. He bowed. Earlier the same day I was snowshoeing in downtown St. John’s and now a Chinese Gent is bowing in front of me in an Airport.
9:55-in a car and start driving to Whitecourt. Luckily the snow is over and the roads are very dry and clear. Chinese Gent is obviously driving for pride now as I see the needle on the speedometer pass 130 k’s…I stop looking.
10:55- we have somehow travelled about 125ks in one hour and are about 40 k’s from destination.
11pm- I change into my stage clothes in the back of a car doing some video game type speed while Chinese Gent excitedly starts repeating, ‘we are almost there Rock Star Alan, I can hear them shout your name.’ his knuckles white on the wheel.
11:25pm-turn off highway 43 for Whitecourt and pull up beside tour bus. Tour manager Andy is waiting, grabs the gear and says ‘perfect timing..the Fleetwood Mac Tribute band is on their last song.’
11:30pm-I thank my driver who tries this best to refuse my tip as ‘it was his honour’ I jam some cash in his blazer pocket as he comes up form his final bow. ‘Thanks man. The honour is mine.’ It was, too. What a Gent.
11:32pm- I’m led to a hockey rink kind of dressing room where Kendel, Cory, Kris, Shehab, and Todd, cheer my enrtrance. ‘Never doubted you for a second’ someone said.
12 midnight- walk onstage in Whitecourt Alberta to a well lubricated Sold Out crowd who have been much on the go. They seem legitimately glad to see me. Nowhere near as glad as I am to see them. I walk to the mic at Midnight Mountain Time which is 3:30am Newfoundland Time. I sing the first notes of the show 24 hours after my alarm sounded in St. John’s, which seems a long, long time ago in a far, far away place.

Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day.