327. Fool’s Gold

Bart got me up at noon and convinced me we should go grab a bite to eat, and we walked over to a big market with tons of food stands selling everything from gourmet honey to every kind of sausage I could name (and some I couldn’t). We ate on picnic tables by a stand that specialized in Canadian food.

I actually don’t remember what we ate. Now I want to say it had maple syrup and Canadian bacon in it, but I think that’s me trying to fill it in with a believable cliche. It might have actually been some kind of lake-caught fish sandwich, now that I think about it more.

“I really liked what you and Ziggy did live last night,” he said, when we were done eating but hadn’t motivated ourselves to stand up yet.

“The only thing stopping me from putting us out on a high wire like that with no net in front of tens of thousands of people is I don’t want to stress Chris out,” I said.

“I see your point.”

“Am I too much of a risk-taker, you think? I mean, what can go wrong? It falls apart and we laugh about it. It’s not like someone loses an eye over it.”

“I can’t believe you’re joking about that.” He looked at me askance.

“My eye’s fine. And you know what I mean.”

“Sometimes people are more afraid of their ego getting bruised than the rest of them,” Bart said. “I never in a million years thought Chris would be the one to worry about that, though.”

“I know. But he even said it, the drugs make him paranoid and he feels like a steaming pile of dog shit when he’s not high enough to forget. But then he feels like shit for having taken the drugs. It’s a vicious cycle.”

“Yeah.” He rubbed his eyes. “Come on, let’s go before we’re late.”

When we got back to the suite to pack up and get out of there Magenta and Ziggy were just coming back from shopping, by the looks of the bags they were carrying. Ziggy had also stocked up on bargain bin CDs for us to make fun of later in the bus.

The show was at an outdoor fairgrounds by the lake (Lake Ontario, I’m told) in what was called a grandstand but was really a stadium. A somewhat run-down stadium. The Blue Jays had played there until recently when they moved into the shiny new retractable-roofed Skydome, next to the CN Tower. For those of you who don’t follow sports, the Blue Jays are a baseball team.

Run-down place or no, it was our biggest venue yet. During soundcheck I stood up there thinking the only reason it didn’t seem as huge as it was, was because it was empty. I put the eyepatch on because of the bright sun. By the time of the show, though, the sun had set, and then I put it on because of the lights.

I didn’t take a painkiller. Ziggy took the whole pill.

I made a point to catch some of the opening acts. The Blissmen were interesting. There was a kind of new psychedelia trying to happen in the U.K. so you could hear the threads of the Beatles in it, filtered out of the sixties into a kind of clean, electronic eighties version. I felt it was kind of like how granola had become the granola bar, repackaged for convenience and covered in chocolate for popularity. Plenty of people liked granola bars. I liked the Blissmen just fine.

Wednesday’s Child were on the darker edge, but not all the way to full blown goth, musically somewhere in the neighborhood between Julian Cope and the Cocteau Twins, brainy and ethereal at the same time. With some odd instruments thrown in. Their guitarist was named Giles and he was pretty straightforward, but then Topher played all kinds of things against him like the concertina and the zither. It didn’t always work, but it kept it interesting, anyway, and I appreciated that they’d take risks.

The crowd seemed to like them just fine. No booing them off the stage. Nothing like that. Thank goodness.

Crowd liked us better though. Which made sense. They paid to see us, mainly, after all.

Ziggy was a banshee. I mean, he always was, but that night he was especially banshee-like. I think he burned through his fuel quickly, though. We didn’t do anything too wild or different in the encore. It felt a little like after the one day break we had like we were starting a new tour tonight. I suppose we were. Bloomington was the real start of it, but we’d been so rush and so out of it, this felt most like we were starting fresh.

We lingered a little afterward, glad-handing more press and MuchMusic folks while the crew broke everything down. We left before they did. Six or seven hours to Toronto was Carynne’s guess.

Ziggy crashed hard as soon as we got the bus moving. I wrote a little ditty called “Out Like a Light.” Chris, and Bart, and I sat in the back a little later, and Chris said, “Who’s idea was it to be in Canada on the Fourth of July?”

“It’s the Fourth of July?” I asked.

“Well, it was,” Bart said. “It’s the fifth, now.”

“Canada makes total sense,” I said. “If we did a show in the States we’d be competing with all the fireworks shows and family picnics and stuff.”

“Huh, you’re right. Hadn’t thought of it that way.” Chris yawned. “Carynne thinks of everything.”

“Almost everything,” Bart said and yawned, too. “Quit that, it’s contagious.”

“I’m going to turn in.” Chris got up and made his way to his bunk.

I was tired but not sleepy yet. The plan was we were going to pull over in a truck stop if it had room around four a.m. and stay there until the equipment trucks caught up from a few hours behind us, then we’d all go on to Montreal together. It was a delicate dance. Sometimes you couldn’t park a tour bus on a city street outside a venue overnight. Sometimes there wasn’t room for buses and trucks. Stuff and people had to arrive at the right time. I knew all that in general, but I didn’t sweat all the details of each step of the way. That was Carynne’s job.

I’ll admit it. The amount of time and energy it took to arrange all the things that needed to be arranged to get everything and everyone in the right place at the right time was more than I would ever be able to handle. Well, okay, maybe I could do it if it was my only job, and I wasn’t also the artist on the tour. On a smaller scale, like our self-directed B-tour, that I could handle if I really busted my ass. But on this scale, it was beyond me.

It’s good to know your limits.

For the second night in a row I fell asleep where I was sitting, working on a song. When we got to the truck stop Carynne made me move into my bunk where it was safer.


  • Andrea says:

    it amuses me how Daron often compares bands to food, Nomad is bbq, blissmen is a granola bar, and they are the whole buffet :]

  • JB Starre says:

    Oh no! I’m all caught up now. How long do I have to wait for more chapters??

    All I want to read about right now is Daron and Ziggy. Together. Being in love and working together and smiling at each other and kissing and…

  • Joe says:

    “It didn’t always work, but it kept it interesting, anyway, and I appreciated that they’d take risks.”

    That, for me, is the essence of good live music. Any talented bunch can get up there and do the same song the same way night after night (and a less-talented bunch can do it the same way they did it on the album). But changing it up every night, taking risks, failing — that’s awesome. That’s why I’m a Deadhead at my core.

    I was actually very pleased by the improv in the last chapter, but I didn’t really know why until Daron and Bart talked. Ah, I wish I had that kind of talent…

    • ctan says:

      I just discovered the SiriusXM channel called “Jam On” which at first I worried was going to be all Phish all the time, but the couple of times I’ve listened they’ve played a really wide array of live cuts from acts all over the rock spectrum. I just found it last week, but it probably means there will be more conversations like that one in future chapters. 🙂

  • Bee says:

    “We left before they did. Six or seven hours to Toronto was Carynne’s guess.”
    I’m sure by now it’s been fixed but I’m going to mention it anyway, just in case. They just finished the show in Toronto. It’s six hours to Montreal from there.

    • ctan says:

      Nice catch! I think it probably isn’t fixed in the book versions, but I’m working on updating those for new editions right now!

  • Bee says:

    Forgot to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading Daron and Ziggy’s story. I read the whole saga when it was originally posted (after downloading the first Ebook from Amazon) but I’m on my third time through now, and always pick up new details. Always hoped those two would find their way back to each other. Jonathan is sweet but music doesn’t ignite his soul, whereas it’s Daron and Ziggy’s love-language.

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