Posts Tagged ‘Agoura Hills’

Tour Diary – Agoura Hills and San Juan Capistrano, CA (June 12 & 13, 2014)

Monday, June 16th, 2014




Agoura Hills, CA 

I'm not sure what it is about Southern California, but I anticipate this part of any tour itinerary more than most. I think its because I've yet to figure out what Southern California is…a paradise by the sea or a glimpse in to the decline? Every time I'm here I can smell the rot, but I can also smell the sea and the blooming Jacaranda trees…what is it about this concrete encampment that is so enticing? I love it I hate it I love it I hate it daughter sister daughter sister (a Chinatown reference for those of you not up on your American Film Classics)….Our visits here are always fun and weird…two important ingredients of any successful tour. And the audiences play against type and are attentive, demonstrative and usually show up in large numbers….another important ingredient….and you can't beat the weather.

We started in Agoura Hills, an area where we haven't spent much time, about 50 miles up the highway from The Staples Center. Because of the time difference Jared, Jeff, Pete and I woke up early and went for a drive. We found a couple of beaches and a vista or two to gaze upon. This part of the region still has some natural beauty, but you can feel it being pinched. We played a venue we've never played and had a respectably sized audience who were keen and energetic. They allowed us to work through some first gig jitters and kept us buoyed with their energy. A nice start.


San Juan Capistrano, CA

Its when you finally make it south of the Staples Centers, that humanity in all our Glory (yes, that means you too) have really put our stamp on the territory. Lots of concrete, highways, foundations…the blunt force of human presence. If you were to arrive here as an alien anthropologist you would probably assume that the car was the dominant species….because it is. Mile upon mile of concrete infrastructure all to the service of the automobile. It's not that I'm not use to traffic (my beloved city of Toronto is choking itself to death with its traffic) it's the scale of it down here that is stupefying.

We played the Coach House tonight. This club was an early home of ours when we first started coming to Southern California. We have always had great crowds here and tonight was no different. It would be good if the club could spend a bit of money on upgrading their PA system…their patrons deserve it. We had a great night. Backstage, we watched the Kings lift the Cup on an old vacuum-tube TV (remember those?)…and then we had a very good night on stage, helped along by an excellent audience.

The 2014 World Cup kicked off to coincide with the tours kickoff (I'm pretty sure FIFA planned it that way). We watched the opening game in our Agoura Hills hotel lobby. It looked like someone had paid someone to make sure that the host country, Brazil, won in a convincing manner…I figure that all one needs to do is buy a ref and a goalie to influence the outcome of a soccer game. As we waited for our rooms in San Juan Capistrano we went to a local bar and watched 2010 finalists, Denmark, work out four years of pent up rage as they dismantled the 2010 victors, Spain. It has been a great start to the tournament with lots of goals and lead changes. I've decided to adopt Argentina as my team. I'd like to see Messi ascend to the pantheon of soccer greats and the only way he will ever be allowed entrance is if he brings home a world cup. Game on.



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Tour Diary – Agoura Hills, CA (June 12, 2014)

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Jason Lent will be following us and the World Cup over the next 10 days. We'll be mixing things up by posting his diary as well as Michael's diary (whenever he can pull himself away from watching futbol).



by Jason Lent


It's a familiar feeling after all these years. Waking up at 4am to catch a flight, reconvene with old friends, and head out for a Cowboy Junkies show in a new town. As the years pile up, the yearning for an afternoon nap grows stronger. But today was the kickoff of the World Cup so reaching Agoura Hills early enough to find a pub was the order of the day. Settled into a bar in one of the many strip malls that make up Agoura Hills, we watched the ref take down Croatia and preserve peace in the host country. 
The venue sat in a strip mall full of antique shops where one man's trash now retailed for $500. I never saw a home driving around the city but one has to believe there are some beautiful estates nestled somewhere up in the surrounding hills. The band spent the afternoon shaking off the dust in sound check as family and friends came and went including sister Cali Timmins who appeared in the video "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning" a few years back. It brought back fond memories of the band's emergence in the late 80's when I fell for the music, a feeling that has yet to waver.
Doors were at 6pm so we dutifully arrived at 6pm (for a 9pm show) as the many housewives of Agoura Hills began to fill the tables near the stage. The venue charges extra to reserve a table and then requires you to purchase a pricey dinner once sat. If cheap is how you feel, you can stand in the back or sit in a few rows of chairs to the side of the stage with a pole cutting the view into two. It allowed the west coast fans of tours past to seek each other out and reconnect as we wandered around the eclectic road house decorated with House of Blues leftovers. 
When the band took the stage, the set offered some wonderful surprises including a stunning take on "Spiral Down". As Margo sang about the slipping away of life, two young boys shot pool in a small room adjacent to the stage. Somewhere between the waning moments of life in "Spiral Down" and the innocent hope of being a ten year old playing pool sits the rest of us. As these tours pile up, I feel myself inching further and further away from that pool table and I'm reminded to cherish every step of the journey. The band played the rarely heard "Rock And Bird" in the middle of the set and I was full of joy that can only be felt when your favorite band plays a deep cut that you've waited a lifetime to hear. Moments like that are why you leave your bed at 4am and head out in search of the next show. 

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