Hold on. Before we move on to Montréal, let’s backtrack a few destinations. We’ve had some, er, confusing feedback from Toronto:
Hi Rene, thanks for writing in. To answer your question, I guess the best place to start is here:
We didn’t have a bus in Toronto.
We really didn’t. I could come up with more excuses, but I think that one is conclusive enough. With that out of the way, let’s get back to the story.
This is the first time we’ve ever seen a US airport with no queue. We were early, but not ridiculously early. The “this shows how many people in New York want to go to Canada!” jokes were inevitable. The flight time was fairly short in the scheme of possible flight times, and the time in the immigration queue seemed like an awfully long time to have to stand in a queue, though they were probably about equal. We drove straight out to the festival site (another island festival – no coyote warnings in sight though) from the airport, and realised we had quite a lot more time indeed to wait around before our set started. We were shown to our trailer (more of a compartment, really), and we dumped our luggage out of the vans. This took up all available couch space and two layers of floor space in the trailer, and we quickly realised there was no room for anybody to stand or sit in the trailer. We would have to find other places to sleep, or find ways to stay awake. Luckily, Ricky dished out meal tickets, drink tickets, some sort of VIP pass that would get us free sunglasses, and pointed out the catering area. Check out the salad situation:
Not only can they turn any of those ingredients into a salad (you have to be the sort of person who gets excited about the very idea of asparagus to be impressed by this) but they were also okay with giving you NO DRESSING. After four weeks on a continent of dressing-heavy salads, this was a godsend. Nobody else seemed as excited as me about the salad situation. But hey, each to their own. Some of the other guys were excited by the juice situation, which is something I don’t really get into. Aside from these, there was also a coffee situation, a taco situation, a poutine situation, and even an oyster situation to come to grips with. Situation-wise, this festival had it all. The drink ticket situation was less godsendy, only redeemable for those weird aluminium bottles that you only ever see at big festivals. Presumably they are preferable to glass bottles, which people can bottle other people with. But consider this: if you bottle someone with an aluminium bottle, it won’t smash. You can just bottle them again. Ouch.
In what must have been a scheduling error, The Black Keys played before us, on the same stage. Once we got out there, our lack of sleep didn’t seem to matter. Hello Montréal:
Crikey. We spent the rest of the day watching Snoop Dogg (amazing drummer, and blinged-out microphone), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (who made everybody else look pretty amateurish), Sonic Youth (I missed their set, but each member of the band seemed to have a series of files and rasps to, presumably, attack their guitars with – very 20th century), Devo (who didn’t let you forget for one second that you were watching Devo – it was the Devo-est hour of music you could imagine), and Weezer. Well, I didn’t hear much Weezer. We were pretty ready to leave by then, and were on our way out of the festival during their set.
RYAN: Man, I hope they don’t start playing something I want to hear right now.
WEEZER begin playing Say It Ain’t So
ROSS: You shouldn’t have said it!
Harry, Ross, Kieran and I took Steph’s advice and took the train home. Predictably, the trains were full of people from that festival. A few people asked Harry for a photo, and he took the opportunity to ask them for directions in return. Yes, having one French speaker in the band does come in pretty handy. I got a bit worried when I looked at the map after our first train-change, as it seemed we were heading away from where we needed to go.
“I thought you said we were going to Place-des-Arts?”
“No, I got it wrong, it’s Place-d’Armes.”
“Oh. But there is also a Place-des-Arts on the map.”
“Really?” He took a look. “Oh, I guess we’ll just walk. It looks pretty close.”
Gulp. “It looks close on the train map, it must be close on foot,” have been many travellers’ famous last words. Luckily Montréal is one of those cities designed with winter in mind: you can get around the city pretty easily without having to go outside. We may have gotten off at the wrong station, but it didn’t feel like it. We just followed the signs to Place-des-Arts and found the hotel without incident, other than Kieran smashing a fluorescent light after kicking the footy in a confined space (who knew?!). And remember the luggage we left in the trailer? It was all in storage at the hotel. Wow. That’s the Ricky difference.
Next: Australia! More specifically: Darwin.