Posts Tagged ‘Napa’

Tour Diary – Napa, CA (May 1, 2013)

Friday, May 3rd, 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.


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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Tour Diary – Napa and San Francisco (Oct 8 and 9, 2010)

Monday, October 11th, 2010


Napa, CA: A lazy day in Napa. We could only find one hotel room in this town because it’s the start of “Crush” week, or month or something…it has something to do with drinking wine. In any case we could only find a room for our driver so we spent half the day parked on a highway beside the hotel, while Marc, our driver, slept. It seemed like a good day to spend in my bunk, so I did. Napa is an odd little town. Its’ one visible function seems to be to serve the wine-tourists. A considerable amount of money has gone in to refurbishing some beautiful 19th century buildings on the main drag: tonight’s venue, The Napa Opera House is one such building. It’s a beautiful old building which has been creatively and lovingly restored. We had a pretty good show tonight, aided by an excellent audience.

San Francisco, CA: It’s Fleet Week in San Fran, and that, coupled with the Giants being in the playoffs, gave these usually intense, boisterous streets an extra edge of insanity. The sidewalks were teeming with sailors and baseball fans and the skies were screaming with the Blue Angels acrobatic fighter-jet team. The beautiful weather also seems to have enticed all of the locals into the streets….the end result is a type of controlled-mayhem. I love this city: a wholly unique and special place. Tonight was a new venue for us, Bimbo’s 365. Apparently the place is an old North Beach institution. It kind of has that 1950’s Gentlemen’s Club vibe, complete with painted Vargas style pinup girls on the walls and a signed photo of Liberace in the lobby. It’s a little on the funky side, but not a bad venue. We were worried about geese tonight because of the layout of the place, but the audience was excellent and attentive. A full house and a very good show from our side of the stage made for a great way to end this run. We head back to TO very early tomorrow morning and then it’s off to Europe for some fun with our old world friends. Tonight’s show was our last show in the US for a while. After the Toronto show on November 19th we plan to take an extended break from the road. Something may materialise for the summer and there might be the occasional one-off, but, in general, we plan to not do any extensive touring in 2011. So if you can make it to Toronto, we’ll see you there. Otherwise, stay virtual, maaan…there will be lots happening on the website.

Napa dressing room

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September / October Tour Dates

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

We’ll be in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California in late September and early October. Come out and say hello to us in Bellingham, Edmonds and Covington, WA; Vancouver, BC; Bend, Portland and Grants Pass, OR; and Napa and San Francisco, CA.

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