Wow! What a crazy, crazy week. I just got back from Regina, when I had to start thinking about next weekend. A few months back, Al from Barndog Music Productions had asked if I would be available to work the weekend of the Juno's. I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but said sure.
On Thursday, March 29th, I showed up at Prairieland Park to help set up for Fanfare. I basically just helped out where needed, and also ran a few required errands. By the end of the day, we (the collective "we") had set up sound, lighting, video, and intercom for what would end up being one of the bigger events I have run sound for. (Several Sask Place gigs still eclipse this one, including the infamous Pentecost gig complete with pyro.)
Friday was quite a change of pace. I was at the airport at 8am to run sound on a stage there. The plan was to have some local performers do acoustic sets to greet people arriving in Saskatoon for the Juno's. There was no shortage of media or celebrities at the airport. When I got there, His Worship Mayor Don Atchison was already there. Lorne Calvert showed up shortly, and I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse of Jake Gold (Canadian Idol). A few others I recognized were Trooper (they were leaving, not arriving), Jian Ghomeshi, Zack Werner, Tom Jackson, and Michael from "Off the Record." There were many, many more celebrities, but not really being a celebrity-watcher, I couldn't tell you who most of them were.
Our stage was set up right beside the C95 "Live on Location" booth, where Zack Werner co-hosted the afternoon show for an hour.
On the stage, we started off the morning with Harrison James. Harrison played guitar and sang a variety of folk and blues.
After Harrison James, came Wyatt. It's sometimes hard to tell from an acoustic set, but I presume they are a country rock group. They played one acoustic and one electric guitar as well as a set of hand drums. Just to brighten up my day (okay, that's probably not the reason) they ended the set with "The Gambler" right into the theme from "The Littlest Hobo."
After Wyatt came the Straight Faced Liars. Now, these guys might be okay in a different venue (although, I'm not even so sure of that), but IMNSHO they were the wrong group to put on an "Acoustic" stage in the airport. SFL might hold the distinction of being one of Saskatoon's loudest bands. Their idea of an acoustic set was replacing the electric guitars with acoustic guitars and otherwise playing exactly the same. To add to the pain, their keyboard, 6 string guitars, and 12 string guitar were all out-of-tune with each other. At times, as much as a semitone. During one song, one of the vocalists was singing with the keyboard and another with the guitar. Generally I love pretty much any live music, but, to be quite honest, I couldn't wait for this set to be over. (Sorry guys... you seemed like a nice enough group of guys, but the music just wasn't there.)
After SFL, I had a bit of a break before Sarah Ostafie showed up. Actually, her guitarist showed up a while before she did. (Sorry, I forgot his name -- please contact me if you know, and I'll update this page.) I hooked him up and he doodled for a bit to get warmed up. I was already breathing a sigh of relief, as well as enjoying his acoustic guitar skills. Sarah didn't dissapoint. Her voice was amazing, as she belted out a number of originals, as well as a few recognizable covers. I enjoyed her set enough that I bought her CD. Sadly, it's a little too country for my taste, but I suppose I can rest easy knowing I have supported local talent. If you're a country lover, do yourself a favour and check her out!
Next up was Tango Sierra, which I had been quite looking forward to, but here is where my day changed gears.
My replacement showed up around 3pm, while I was just getting TS patched in. I paid my $8 of parking, and headed back to Prairieland to do a tech check, rundown and rehearsal for Fanfare, which would happen on Saturday.
Saturday was another 8am day. Chris had come back Friday night to finish up a few things, and now we were as ready as we would ever be. Fanfare is basically just a massive autograph session. The performers are introduced with loud music, video and lights, some are interviewed on stage, then they sit down and sign autographs for an hour.
The fans are herded through cattle pens based on what colour of wristband they got when they were handed out a few days ago.
We were all done and shut down (but not torn down) by 4pm. It felt kind of strange to walk out of a 6 hour long party, and see full sunlight and have a whole evening ahead. Too bad I was simply to tired to
go out again. Lucky for you... I had time to write this page for my site.