Canada: The Land Of Fluffy Towels And Clean Ashtrays

Hamilton Place
Hamilton, ONT
October 25, 1999

October 25, 1999: We managed to sleep right through our complimentary continental breakfast, and headed off for some lunch and ice cream in Toronto and then went to Hamilton and looked around the area near the venue. While in City Hall (*grumble*) I noticed an alternative music newspaper with a nice color picture of Al on the cover. Amanda and I made it our quest for the rest of the day to find as many copies of this paper as possible. We faired pretty well at a grocery store and the library.

We stopped for a little bit at this coffee Internet shop where Amanda checked her e-mail while I talked to a parking nazi. Canadians are generally very nice people, but as we found out, they take some things too seriously, and parking is one of them. Everywhere we went, there was a parking nazi giving people tickets. It was wild. Now, I live right outside of New York City, and work in Newark, NJ, both of which are notorious for parking, and I've never seen anything as bad as the parking nazis in every town we went into in Canada. It's quite a sight to see. It's as if they had built in radar.

Out of all places, the place that we ate dinner at had a poster of Al on the wall. We must have walked past it at least 5 times before I noticed it. They were nice enough to take it off the wall and let me have it for my collection. Our tickets were supposed to include a "photo pass" which would let Amanda take pictures. Due to a miscommunication, there was no pass. It took Amanda a while, but she finally straightened out the situation, not after we got a dose of the photo nazis. I'll take it that Canadians are very protective of their parking spaces and photos. It took a lot of convincing to allow Amanda to take pictures, and, at that, they limited her to the first 3 songs only.

WOW! This was probably my most favorite show of the 3 that we saw. Great show! Al and the band had so much energy throughout the show and the audience played off of it, and Al in return, played off of them. There were these guys with seats near the front that stood and cheered for almost every song. During "It's All About The Pentiums," they went wild and Al egged them on by waving his fists at them. It was cool. Even Steve threw his wig up in the air during "Smells Like Nirvana" and tried to catch it on his head. I've never seen that before. The crowd loved the two unreleased Canadian artists parodies, and, of course, sang along with "The Saga Begins" and "Yoda. It was a really fun concert.

After the show, there was quite a crowd of people to see Al. There was a woman giving out promo posters I hadn't seen before. They were up on the walls too, and before we left, Amanda and I grabbed a few extras. The posters had Al in his "Alakin" pose, but also had some Canadian concert information printed in a black bar on the bottom.

I was trying to track down Steve. I found him wandering around in the hallway and told him I had a shirt to show him. I think he really liked the shirt. He tried to take it for himself, but I told him it was my only shirt but I'd make him one.

Meanwhile, Rubén showed up. I had bought Rubén a piece of chocolate, marshmallow, caramel cake, but he politely declined it saying he was on a diet. So, I gave the cake to Steve instead, who said he would really enjoy it.

Amanda showed Steve some pictures she had taken and Jon showed up, still feeling a bit under the weather, but stayed around and talked to people for a while. There was so much going on that night that it was hard to know where to be. Jim showed up and chatted with me for a little while too.

I took some pictures for Beth. It was the first time I got to meet Beth Gothro. She had this great coat made up of all the songs on "Running With Scissors" and an appropriate picture to go with each one. After the pictures, I asked Al to sign one of the posters and posed for a few pictures. And I got to touch Al's hair!!! I think he was a bit confused, but he's always been a good sport and puts up with me. Alas, our time had come to leave. Beth, little Amanda, Amanda, and I talked for a bit out by my car.

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 ]