Tag Archives: Canada

HMV Signing in Toronto 1995 – Were You There?

April 4th has been a busy day in Duran history. “White Lines” was released in the US and UK on this date in 1995, as was Thank You. VH1 aired Behind the Music in 1999. In 1987, they performed on Soul Train. On this date in Toronto, Duran Duran held a signing at HMV. Were you there?

I have been to Toronto exactly one time, and it wasn’t that long ago.  Amanda and I decided to take the road trip to end all road trips (not really, because if the band announced a tour tomorrow I’m sure we’d be planning another!) to see several dates on the Paper Gods tour. Toronto was one of the cities we visited along the way.

Crossing the American-Canadian border was a new experience. While I’ve actually been through customs with Amanda before, this time we were in a car. (Always something new, I say!) It was a long drive, but when we finally made it into Toronto, it was nothing like I’d imagined. I’d describe it as very busy, with tall buildings on a beautiful waterfront. I can remember it being hot and humid (as were all the shows that summer).

Were you at the HMV signing in Toronto?  Weather for April can be iffy…if you were there, did you have to wait outside?! (Written like a true Californian, right?)




Sometimes You Have No Choice: Tragically Hip’s Final Curtain

I’m back from vacation, and I can’t even believe I’m already thinking about school for my kids. I don’t know about anyone else, but this was truly the shortest summer ever! I start ordering school curriculum this week, and our first parent meeting is on Friday.  Goodbye carefree days!

College application time begins for Gavin. He is a senior, and forgive me as I stumble over those words. As with my daughter Heather, I fluctuate between joy and sorrow. The time went by so fast. Yet, I’m also ready to let him use his wings and fly on his own. I can see that he needs to do some of the hard work to finish growing on his own without my constant guidance, and I’m ready for that.

Heather, my oldest, left with the rest of her things last night. It is time for her to settle in to apartment living. Today she begins her sophomore year in college. I know I’m going to blink and she’ll be graduating. Not ready.

Our vacation was wonderful. Two weeks spent in Arches National Park in Utah and then up to Yellowstone National Park. We did everything from hiking and horseback riding, to taking a boat tour and seeing a rodeo. (my first one)  I focused on family.  Writing and Duran Duran would wait.  Of course, that worked until my darling husband and brother-in-law mentioned “Hungry Like the Wolf”,  every day.  (Can’t get away even if I try!)  We arrived back at home on Saturday night, in time to read about Tragically Hip’s last concert.

In full disclosure, I don’t know much about Tragically Hip. I recognize the name, but that’s about it. They weren’t huge in America, but I suspect that if I listened to a song, I’d probably recognize it. I’m funny that way. Names don’t stick, but music does. In any case, all I knew was that the band was giving a final concert, and it seemed to me that all of Canada was going to stop and watch. And they did. But why?

Gord Downie, the lead singer of Tragically Hip, is dying from brain cancer. His prognosis is the absolute worst, and yet this guy decides to spend his last days doing what he loves. It’s almost a “fuck you anyway” to the cancer, along with a warm final embrace to the country he loves. You see, it wasn’t just ONE show as a good-bye. No, he’s been touring the country with his band. It was just this final show that was televised in town centers and on televisions, preempting the Olympics, and even had the PM in attendance.  It seems to me, as just an ordinary American, that for just one night, Canada was wrapped-up in fandom.

And I loved reading that.

Maybe fandom isn’t really much of a story. And maybe if I personally had my own juicy secrets to share it’d be more interesting, but you know, there’s this other side to it all that fascinates the hell out of me and I’m compelled to share. And maybe, just maybe, that fascination is happening to you too, dear reader.

An entire country put aside their lives to rejoice in the music and career of a band, along with the outstandingly well-used life of one man for just one night. It made me wonder if that could ever happen here, in the states.

Sadly, I found myself doubting. Do we even have artists we consider to be national treasures on quite that scale? Bruce Springsteen?  Madonna?  What about Michael Jackson? Prince? Sure, they’ve passed – but what about beforehand? Did we really think enough to love or embrace them before destiny came to call? I don’t know. I see America as such a throw-away society at times.

We hug really tightly (sometimes much too tightly), and then we cast aside in favor of the next big thing. Can anyone really see the US doing something similar for any performing artist out there?  Let’s face it, even if you can imagine an artist of that caliber, can you imagine preempting a sporting event in favor of performing arts of any kind?? And, if you can get past all of that in your head, can you see a vision of your town coming out to watch a broadcast of such a thing in your town center?

The Olympic Torch came through my town when I was about 13.  My family packed chairs and sat on Arrow Highway to see it go past. My entire neighborhood, if not quite all of the Charter Oak area, was there. And then there was Hands Across America. I remember standing and holding hands with strangers along the same street, but for the life of me I can’t remember why, or how I felt doing it.

I guess that’s the difference. Those events, while marked in my memory, have no reasoning or emotion earmarked with them. Fandom, on the other hand, is all about emotion.  All of Canada shared in those emotions with Tragically Hip this past weekend. Maybe there’s something to be learned here.

Remarkably sad. Incredibly uplifted. Hopeful. All things I feel when reading about that concert…and all things that music really gives. I am left remembering words that Simon said each night while introducing “Save a Prayer”— those of us who have hope cannot give in to the evil around us. He is right, whether that evil is a disease we cannot control, or potential violence that threatens us each day.




Molson Amphitheater Toronto Review

Well, these four shows went fast.  Last night I attended my final show before heading back home for about ten days before Amanda makes her way to California.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when you’re doing anything more than one show, I think the last show can be tough. On one hand, you’re excited to be there. I mean, it IS Duran Duran up there on that stage. Who doesn’t love that?!? On the other hand, it’s hard to force yourself to just live in that moment (or at least it is for me).  Last night was no different, although every time I’d feel a little bittersweet I’d remind myself that Amanda will be coming to California before I know it.

The show opened strong with Paper Gods, and I really don’t think there was any slowing down from there. The one thing I will say about this tour is that the show is incredibly tight. The band definitely has the setlist and production down, and most of the time they make the entire show seem effortless.  I can’t fault them for that, although yes—I suppose for those of us who are attending more than one show, it makes the night predictable.  That said, I can honestly say that I didn’t stand in the audience thinking “And ____________ is next” each night. I enjoyed each song as it came up, and didn’t think beyond that.

I’ve said it before and will say it again, MNDR has done an outstanding job. I realize there’s been some question as to how much of Nick’s part she’s really playing up there—I don’t honestly care—but she’s also very engaging with the audience. Granted, it’s not the same as seeing Nick’s knowing slight smiles and smirks, but she gets the audience clapping and seems to make eye contact as well.  I don’t know that they could have found a better person to fill the role in his absence.

Clearly, Simon and John were happy to be in Toronto.  Both made positive statements about the venue or the city and how it’s been one hell of a journey.  I’m no Canadian, but I must agree. Yes, yes it has.

Complete with confetti (by the way, Amanda and I were seated in front of the cannons last night, which meant that by the end of Pressure Off we were completely blanketed—and we loved it) and beach balls, the show was every bit as much of a going away party (for us) as it was a celebration of our 40th show.  We had a great time, and for a few hours, I really did forget all about the other stresses in life.  I’d call that successful.

So now, Amanda and I head back to the Chicago-area. I will head back to California tomorrow and attempt to detox myself (!) for the next ten days. Yes, there’s been quite a bit of debauchery on this trip. It has been wonderful to meet new friends, hang out with Amanda and Heather, and just breathe. I always hate this part, where I have to say goodbye to people I care about, but on the other hand—I get to do round two very soon.

One final parting thought: not long ago I had come to terms that this might be my final long trip away from home. It is very hard to leave, especially for this length of time. I thought I was done, to be honest. I love the band, but I’m at a point in life where something has to give. I can go away without being gone for the better part of a month, I suppose. I’m four shows in to the eight I plan to do, and while I know my situation with home and family hasn’t changed, I find myself wondering how on earth I’m ever going to survive without the trips, the touring, and my friends. This band is addictive.

Thankfully, I can file that thought away for a little while longer.