Posts Tagged ‘Berkeley’
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
San Francisico has always been one of my favourite cities in North America. It's an extreme city, intense, truly urban. There is a lot of wealth here and there is also a lot of human tragedy and it all plays out on the streets. The street life here reminds me of NYC back in the late 1970's. It's a city where you always have to be slightly on guard and be aware of what's coming at you half way up the block; a city where the locals know which streets to avoid as a matter of course. Intense and vibrant.
We flew in here yesterday. Pete and John drove the gear. We all left LA at about the same time and seven hours later we all arrived at the hotel at the same time, which tells you a lot about the speed of commuter air travel these days. Jared, Pete, John and I found a hole in the wall Indian restaurant and had one of the best meals of the tour. We played the Great American Music Hall tonight. Its one of the few legendary halls left in the US. It's always a thrill to stand on a stage where Duke Ellington once stood. We had an amazing night tonight. The audience let us know from the second we took the stage that they were not about to let us get away with anything but an intense, focused, creative effort…and so we gave it to them. So. Much. FUN!
Yesterday the world champs, Spain, lost and were eliminated by a very strong Chile. Today we watched England go down to the mighty foot of the Uruguayan striker Suarez….which essentially eliminates England from the tournament.
This morning we drove two hours North and in to the interior to Grass Valley. We came through here about 18 months ago when we were in the area to play the Hardly, Strictly Blue Grass Festival in San Francisco. It's a cool little town that has a gold rush history. The town still has a hint of its gold rush roots, you kind of feel like you should be wearing your six-shooter while walking down main-street…although I suppose that wearing ones six-shooter while walking down main-street isn't such a relic of the past as one would hope it had become. In any event, this small peaceful, hippy enclave was a nice respite from the intensity of San Francisco. We had another very good show in front of another very good audience….I suppose I should be getting jaded about all these good audiences and the quality of our performances, but I never take that kind of stuff for granted…it's like a baseball team when the offense is hot, you ride the streak as long as you can and you keep your fingers crossed.
We watched a listless Italian side get beat 1- 0 by an inspired Costa Rica team and the French continue their rampage through the first round by beating the Swiss 5 – 2.
Before we left the hotel this morning we watched Messi put his Argentinian squad on his back and score the only goal of the match, with one minute remaining, to give the Argentinians a ticket to the next round. In the car we listened to the Netherlands vs Ghana match as we made the trek back to the San Fran area, to Berkeley. Soccer is definitely not the best sport to listen to on the radio (maybe the worst), but we got a sense of the game. It was a boring first half and then all hell broke loose: four goals in less than fifteen minutes and the game ended in a 2 -2 draw. This sets up a dramatic game for the US tomorrow against Portugal. If they win they will win their Group and move forward in to the elimination round. Sunday will be a busy day in the bars of the USA. We were at the Freight And Salvage tonight in downtown Berkeley, home of all things Left in America…at least that is its rep, I'm not sure what comprises the Left Wing in America anymore or whether those kinds of definitions are even relevant. In any case it was a very nice room, very airy and comfortable with a very good PA. We kept the good vibes rolling forward and had another excellent night in front of another excellent audience. We are absolutely exhausted but the audience infused us with enough energy to come through with another good show.
This has been an excellent tour. We fly home tomorrow with a great sense of satisfaction and a little money in our pocket (which is the ultimate combination when it comes to touring). A huge thank you to all of you that made the effort and paid your hard earned dollars to come to a show and especially to those of you that took in multiple shows (special commendation to Jason, Chris, Terry and Stephen who took in them all)….we truly appreciate it. We have a few shows throughout the summer and then we plan to take several months off the road. During that time we'll start working on a new album as well as few one-off recording projects. Please keep in touch through the website and through our Facebook page, that's where we'll be hanging out, drop in and say hello.
Monday, June 23rd, 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
The last day of the tour began in Grass Valley with one last trip to the record store to dig for vinyl after watching Messi create a miracle in stoppage time. Arriving in Berkeley later in the day, we were limited to exploring the streets around the venue. Downtown resembles most college with unlimited cheap eats from $1 ice cream scoops to countless Indian, Pakistani, Greek, and pizza spots. It didn't take much walking to figure out that Berkeley is adamant about establishing itself outside of the mainstream world. Counter culture is the culture. On the busiest corner, the religiously zealous performed music loudly as the panhandlers and homeless walked slowly by.
Freight & Salvage has an established history in this town and the staff could not have been more accommodating. There was a relaxed but organized attitude to the entire place that made for a peaceful final day on the road. As the Nomad set kicked off, the acoustics of the room sounded a little overwhelmed by the louder songs but "Fairytale" and "Renmin Park" were exquisite. The audience was polite and reserved which is a mixed bag on the last night of a tour. The insane energy of San Francisco was not to be found on this night but the band didn't let it hamper the second Trinity Session performance in three nights. After the show, Margo came out to say goodbye to the fans, more than a few who made multiple shows on this California run. The boys packed up the van as I headed for one last Holiday Inn Express near San Francisco airport.
The end of the tour seems so far away when you arrive for the first show and then suddenly, it's over. I've been through California often and I'm always blessed with great traveling companions, excellent weather, and beautiful concerts. I've never seen a day on the road with Cowboy Junkies where the band didn't take time out of their work to say hi to fans or work on a song request that holds special meaning to one fan. It's those actions that give the band special meaning to those of us who have followed their journey back and forth across North America. Thank you Mike, Margo, Pete, Al, Jeff, Jared, Ed, Farnes and everyone who came out to a show for another great tour. In the words of Vic, I will see you around.
Monday, April 1st, 2013
I'll be in Berkeley on Thursday night in conversation with the great Chinese musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou (who is featured on Renmin Park and wrote I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side). It could be interesting, it could be wierd, it could be enlightening, it could be uncomfortable, it will definitely be different.
So if you are in the San Francisco Bay area and are looking for something to do on Thursday night, drop on by and come up and say hello…..