Tour Diary – Napa, CA (May 1, 2013)

Pete's ipad sketch of the Montreal Forum

…and all of a sudden it's summer. We arrived in Napa yesterday morning, stepped off the bus and melted….less than a week ago we were freezing up in Whitehorse, now we are longing for the shorts and sandles that we left back home. But if it's 85 degrees outside it must be hockey playoff time. For the first time in nine pathetic years the Toronto Maple Leafs have made the playoffs and they just happened to be taking on Jared's Bruins. Last night we watched a few of the Western conference matches and realized that our home team couldn't come close to matching the intensity and skill level of those teams….then, tonight, we watched the Bruins dismantle the Leafs and all of our wishful thinking about a sustained playoff run went up in smoke…oh well, they are a young team and with a little tinkering they could be good for a few more years to come. We are just hoping for an over-all better showing than tonights game.

Napa is a strange little town. It's the center of the wine-tourist trade and there is obviously a lot of money flowing through the area. The town looks like it gave itself up to a ski-resort developer, some of the beautiful old stone and brick buildings have been completely overshadowed by a string of faux-period buildings that line main street. Despite that, the Napa Opera House is a beautiful sounding little theatre. We had another very good night.

JASON LENT FOLLOWED OUR TOUR BUS BACK IN 2011 AND SUPPLIED US WITH HIS TOUR DIARY. HE WILL BE DOING THE SAME FOR THE COMING WEEK. HERE IS JASON'S NAPA DIARY

A much needed day off allowed for a lazy 466 mile drive down into Napa Valley. Mt. Shasta, dressed in snow and ice, stood as a beacon for several hours of the drive before we descended into the warmer California air. Exit signs for Redding and Chico flashed by stirring memories of tours past. The years start to run together with all these tours but there's always the music that brings it into focus. Once upon a time in Chico, the band ended a Northern Cali tour with a droning "Highway Kind" on a dimly lit stage that was as haunting as any performance they have ever delivered.
 
A night off in Napa meant some wandering around downtown and the first night of the NHL playoffs highlighted by Jonathan Quick's "what the hell was that?" moment in overtime. Oops. The Napa Valley Opera House has become a regular spot for Cowboy Junkies. It's a classy affair in an immaculate theater with sound that is more pristine than it is powerful. That shifted the focus a little more to Margo who delivered stirring takes on "I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side" and "See You Around" early in the night. Her phrasing on the latter captured the off kilter brilliance of Vic's songwriting. Unexpected turns with the set list ("Shining Moon" and "Ring On the Sill") gave tonight its own identity and the audience started to come alive towards the end. Some of us ended the evening on a rooftop bar overlooking downtown Napa as an endless array of IPA's were explored. Hard to top such moments out here on the road. Next stop, San Francisco. 

Created with flickr slideshow.

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