After getting considerably less sleep than I expected – not very good with hotels – I jumped out of bed early, showered and took in many of Montreal's sights. After returning to the hotel for a clean-up, cabbed it over to The Spectrum for the soundcheck.
As I arrived, Mark was setting up his drums, and Maf was working with a tech to get the Hammond and VK7 set (see illustration ... all the pictures on this page were taken at sound-check). Geoff welcomed me as he came into the room with Matt. Matt and I said hello. A few minutes later, The Commander came in and we exchanged cordialities, and Chris and I did as well.
This venue has club-style seating. It would be about 6:30 that the crowd that had gathered outside would walk through the front doors and race for the best seats.
As it turned out, the band and their crew of Tony – lighting, Graham – sound, Jules – stage Tech, and John – tech, and Chris – manager pushed the club to almost 7:00 to ensure that all of the details required for readiness were covered. That turned out successfully as the sound was excellent and the lighting was beautifully handled and sounded and looked crisp and clear all night.
The soundcheck started with Fellow Travellers as a Hammond test. Little samples by Geoff of Whisky Train, Simple Sister, A Christmas Camel, VIP Room, The Blink of an Eye to test the guitar sounds. The first verse of Fellow Travellers again. Mark tested the drum sounds with the beginning of A Robe Of Silk, or was it She Wandered Through The Garden Fence? Then Wall Street Blues. Gary, for the most part, soloed Imagine to test his keyboard and vocals and then This World Is Rich. Then a full band Simple Sister. Geoff tested the seagull effect for A Salty Dog, and then a full band Robert's Box. Gary and Graham then tested the surprise beginning of So Far Behind, and soundcheck was completed with a vocal test for VIP Room.
I moved to the lobby to set up the only two items for sale, tee-shirts of The Well's On Fire and A Salty Dog, the December 2002 tour. I have fielded many questions about how to get ALL PH albums and PH merchandise. I directed them to BtP and then to click the Amazon links (here USA, here Germany, here Canada, here UK), as well as to the Shine On page. But there were many disappointed fans who have had difficulty getting The Well and other items and had hoped CDs and other merchandise would have been available..
Surprise! Surprise! Palers arrive. George Lovell, now teaching in Montreal with Maureen McCallum, had just flown back from Guatemala. Then my biggest surprise, Salvador Ortiz from Mexico City, one of the originals from our all-night pub extravaganza in Guildford. He lasted until 6:30 that morning and was surprised to learn that we had breakfast at 8:30. Unfortunately, I don't recall immediately the name of his companion, but she bears mention for traveling such a great distance.
Gary and Maf left after the gig, and Chris shortly thereafter as we completed the repacking of the balance of the tee-shirts. The rest of us spent approximately the next half-hour backstage visiting with a few people and drinking as the instruments were packed into a van. We left for the hotel to drop off a few things, and Geoff, Matt, Mark, Tony, Graham, Jules, John and I ventured out to an Irish pub. Mark changed his mind as he and Gary were to attend an automotive exhibit today. I remember stumbling into my room somewhere close to 4:00 am.
Today is an off-day, a rest day. It's on to Boston tomorrow and to start again!
Au revoir to Montréal, a fine city with great Procol Harum fans!
--oe, the monocular one