A Great Show

Wow, post one (hilarious!) prank-y column and suddenly Grose is recruiting new columnists! I fear for my job security…and just when the dental benefits were kicking in! Ah, well – will soldier on ‘til the union rep tells me otherwise.

I’m in a great mood this week – just brought home a puppy – a gorgeous 8 week old cockapoo. Named her Woopsie Daisy, ‘cause it makes me chuckle. Turns out it may be apropos – as she’s already crowned herself a dozen times and has only lived here 5 minutes. Needless to say, the kids are over the moon, the husband is coming around and I’m besotted. But enough about the dog – I’ve sworn I won’t become a puppy-bore (but did I mention she’s wonderful?).

So, in honour of my buoyant spirits – thought I’d write about a great show. Obviously, the good shows tend to outweigh the bad ones, but the great ones are less common and such a joy because they are usually so unexpected. This one in particular.

A few weeks ago, I was booked to do a stag and doe to cover a friend who lined up a tour and couldn’t do it. I invited along a headliner that I admire, but didn’t know very well. My friend sent me all of the correspondence and info re: the show. The mother of the groom was the contact. From the outset, I was worried. The emails contained lines like: “the groom’s name is Erik Wilfred Anderson IV Esquire*, though his university cohorts call him Esquire. He’s quite a comedian himself!” *name made up…except for the “IV Esquire” part – no one could make that up.

There was a detailed description of the room layout and the “renowned” singer who was going to open the show (her sister-in-law). High maintenance client, to say the least. But the pay was okay and I had nothing else booked, so was going with the flow.

The gig was two hours north of Toronto, in cottage country. The headliner and I left in plenty of time to arrive at least 45 minutes before showtime. And we would have been 45 mins early, had the highway not been shut down – all lanes northbound – while we were on it. Crap. Double crap. Now, I’m an on-time person, maybe to a fault – and get very anxious at being late, especially for a show. But the headliner was a great, calming influence and I soon lightened up and enjoyed the trip up with him.

Once the highway opened up again, we worked our way north, but of course, got lost on the country roads. I had images of a county club ballroom, white tablecloths, the mother of the groom in her Chanel suit and pearls, frantic that we weren’t there. After many calls to the bar manager, we finally arrived, a full hour after the show was to start.

What a surprise when we pulled up to a rather run-down sports bar in the middle of a field. Inside the mother of the groom, while a bit distracted, wasn’t concerned in the least by our late arrival. Everyone was in jeans and t-shirts, drinking beer out of plastic cups and chips out of the bag. The renowned singer was just finishing her set of ‘80’s hits, then I was called up to a well-lit stage with a nice sound system, and proceeded to have one of the most joyful sets I’ve had in a long while. I did about 20, then the headliner went up for 40 and had an equally terrific set. We stayed for about 45 minutes after the show chatting with many of the guests – then headed back to Toronto. We got lost again, but at that point we didn’t care. All in all – a great show.

Why? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps because of expectations (train wreck) vs. reality (great crowd, room…); maybe relief; maybe just luck. But goddamn, I wish they were all that wonderful.

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