My journey really began Friday night. I was hoping I could get an earlier flight on Saturday to be sure I had enough time to check into my hotel and meet up with some people for dinner and drinks before the Fiction Plane show. The way I'd booked the trip, I knew I would probably get there just in time to see Fiction Plane take the stage. And I'd talked about it with my cousin and her boyfriend who live in Reston, Virginia which is only about a 15 minute drive to Dulles Airport. They offered to let me sleep on the couch at their apartment. Also, my cousin just purchased a Mac Mini after years of frustration with her Windows box. I had been persuading her to move to the Mac platform, so I offered to help set up her system in return for letting me sleep on their couch and giving me a ride to the commuter lot where I kept my car over the weekend which works great because a Metro Express bus goes straight from the airport to that parking lot and it only cost me $3.00 to get from the airport to the commuter lot when i returned instead of forking over the ridiculous $9.00 per day to park in the airport's friggin' "economy" lot which would have cost me well over $30.00 after all was said and done.
Anyway, we got up on Saturday and my cousin took me to the airport first thing in the morning, but being a major holiday weekend, I knew the chances were slim that I'd be able to switch flights. Sure as shit, I had no luck. I'd directed my cousin to hang out in the cell phone parking area, so she swung around to pick me back up and we headed over to a really good diner in nearby Herndon for a delicious breakfast. Then we went back to my cousin's apartment where I showed her a few OS X tricks that I'd neglected to mention the previous evening. Then, she took me back to the airport and I hung out there for a fewmore hours catching up watching episodes of Heroes that I'd recorded over the last few months but never had time to watch until now. I also read a little bit and people-watched for a while. Considering it was a holiday weekend, the airport wasn't as crowded as I expected. .
My flight left right on time and was pretty uneventful. There was an older husband and wife couple sitting next to me who seemed pretty pleasant, but I spent most of that time listening to some music from Spyro 4 that I'd recently obtained from another user on stewartcopeland.net and I really loved it and kind of zoned out it not wanting to really engage in conversation with them. It wasn't until about 2/3 that the woman who was sitting next to me asked me about my iPod nano. She was mainly interested in knowing if it could download audiobooks from the public library. With Digital Rights Management being such a pain in the ass and I'd never tried it personally since I prefer reading, I wasn't quite sure if it was possible with the iPod. And it wasn't long before we were having one of the coolest discussions that I've ever had on a plane ride . It turns out they were both retired Spanish teachers from near San Francisco and we began talking about South American literature. Two of my favorite writers are Jose Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also, the mother of my best friend who also teaches Spanish just finished getting her PhD focusing on South American Literature, so I'd had some pretting interesting discussions with them about South American lit. The couple on the airplane gave me some great suggestions for reading other South American writers. Naturally, the conversation progressed to South American travel, especially considering it's one of the few places where the dollar hasn't completely lost all of it's value. They've been there several times and were leaving again on Monday for another trip. Also, I'd seen an episode of Globe Trekker about a year ago that focused on South America and I really want to travel there after watching it, so that also made for some great airplane conversation.
After I landed in San Francisco, I had to go from one end of the airport to the other and didn't have enough time to finish a Portabello Mushroom burger before I had to board the plane to Vancouver. My seat on that plane was between two Asian women who didn't appear to be speaking to each other, so I wasn't sure if they were related to each other at first. In fact, I thought they might be sisters. During the first 2/3 of this flight, I continued watching Heroes episodes and I noticed the girl to me left who I kept catching out of the corner of my eye checking out what I was watching on my Dell Axim X3i while she was listening to her iPod mini. The girl to my right didn't really make much eye contact at first, but I noticed she pulled her makeup kit out a few times and did a little maintenance work during the flight. It was until after I'd gone to the use the restroom and come back to my seat and had difficulty finding my seatbelt buckle that I made eye contact with the girl to my right and realized she wasn't near the same age as the other girl and she asked me if I'd lost something. That totally broke the ice and pretty soon I figured out that they were mother and daughter and learned they were traveling to attend a wedding of some friends in Vancouver. The conversation was nearly as entertaining as it was on the first flight. They'd gone to Africa last year and had gone on a safari.
I never figured out whether the older woman was still married. She mentioned something about how weddings were so expensive and not worth the unbelievable amount of money that they cost. I remarked that I want to just elope and have a small party of close family and friends if I ever take the plunge. Then, the subject turned to focus on the Police and they were impressed how much of a dedicated fan I am considering all the trips I've made to different places related to the Police and Stewart Copeland, without a doubt my favorite member of the band. The lady even said she would offer me a ride to my hotel except they were going in the opposite direction of where I was headed.
So, we parted ways at the airport and I didn't have to wait long before I boarded the Aeroporter bus that would take me to downtown Vancouver. It was about 6:35 by time I boarded the bus. I called Chris (Copelandous D'Amour on Sc.net) and advised him that I was unable to switch flights and that I'd meet everyone at Plaza Club hopefully in time to catch Fiction Plane. Even though traffic seemed heavy and I realized I probably should have hopped off the shuttle bus before my scheduled stop as I would have gotten there faster on foot since my stop was one of the last ones on the route, but I got a quick tour of the city and a feel for it. By the time I got to the hostel, checked in and headed over the Plaza club two blocks away, I made it in time to catch the opening band just as they've started. Chris spots me right away and I soon see some familiar faces from the Whisky, namely Duckie and Michelle and it starts to feel like a reunion of sorts, since I feel like I practically know Chris from all his posts on AUI and SC.net. Miguel also recognizes me and introduces himself and another Catolonian who has also traveled to see the fan club show and Fiction Plane.
I kind of zoned out during the opening band's performance, but totally enjoyed FictionPlane's set. While I agree that the song writng could be improved, musically they have all the right hooks and there seemed to be a highly charged atmosphere at this particular show. Perhaps, they knew it would probably their last show in such an intimate venue. Perhaps, the audience knew the same thing. I found myself jumping up and down at times and getting into a woo-hooing match with the girl standing next to me. The audience for this show was just awesome and Joe even commented at the end of the show that he thinks it's their best one ever. Even though this is my virgin FictionPlane show, the vibe tells me he's right. Sting and Trudy looked down from the VIP section above several times. At one point, it looked like Stewart may have been up there, but it turned out that it is obviously not him after studying the shadowy doppleganger's movements and mannerisms that are unlike Stewart's.
Dirty Martini, Samburu Sunset and GinaSuperCat also arrive and introduce themselves and all is right with the world. After the show, I bought the newest FP CD for the almost obscenely low price of $10 Canadian and they boys even signed it for me. This trip is already turning out too cool to be true.
After the show, a few of us headed over to the Cactus Club for a late night snack, some rum and cokes with a toast to the great, late Ian Copeland (this ritual was repeated so many times during this trip I lost count!) and was followed with a drink Chris recommended whose name escapes me that is essentially a slurpee with rum, Peach Schnapps and some other adult goodies and made for a great dessert and end to the first in Vancouver and the start of wonderful weekend.
I got back to my private room in the downtown central hostel and quickly fall asleep despite the loud rhythmic thumping from the club next door. After I have breakfast and check my e-mails at the hostel the next morning, I headed over to Gate 10 at GM place. I arrived at about 10:30 and was surprised to find only 5 other people ahead of me. One was a couple that had traveled all the way from Scotand I believe. I forgot where the other couple came from and there was a guy originally from England who transplanted to California. He was really cool and even went to Costco across the street from GM place to buy snacks and water for everyone. A few minutes after I arrived, another couple arrives, but the husband kept havinig to leave to move their car around, so the wife stays behind and I wind up talking to her a long while about a variety of topics. She tells me here name is Dingo and they're from Olympia, Washington and she has a Catholic Schoolgirl outfit she is going to wear to the party. She tells me she's a grandmother but she hardly looks it. Then again, I'm not too far from being old enough to being a grandparent myself being only two and half years away from 40. The line slowly starts to get longer . The majority of the people don't start lining up until about 11:15 or so. I'm having so much fun talking to everyone in line that the time flies by. Soon I see Gina, Samburu Sunset and Dirty Martini in the back and DM takes a great picture of me in line. Maggie also arrived probably around the same time.
Conroy waiting by the will call window for the Fan Club show on 5/27/2007 at GM Place in Vancouver, Canada. Photo courtesy of Dirty Martini.
|After we get our tickets and yellow wristbands to the Fan Club show, we go over to the sidewalk and start lining up for the wristbands for the pre-Fan Club show party. Gina, Samburu Sunset and DM come over and hang out in line after they get their tickets as does Mercury Rising, but she decides not to wait in line but we chat for a while. For awhile, everyone debates whether to stay and wait for the wristbands for the pre-show party as we're lined up in a shady area and the breeze brings a bit of a chill in the air. I'm only wearing my Stewartcopeland.net Don't Care t-shirt and a fishing vest with lots of pockets for all my gadgets. Eventually, we all decide to wait it out and I'm glad because we had so much time bonding in line. Gert arrives with his film crew and starts interviewing the fans waiting in line. A little while later, I see Dirty Martini talking to someone whom I quickly surmise is the legendary Dietmar of whom I had been telling the others via e-mail for days and nearly take out all the other fans waiting between where I was standing and where DM and Dietmar are conducting business just so I can shake his hand as I've been in awe of his knowledge for a long time. His presence makes the wait even more enjoyable than it already was and it was a great time chatting with him and everyone else. Dingo comes back a few minutes later in her Catholic Schoolgirl outfit which turns lots of heads. I am introduced to more people later including Plutonic who is also from the DC area. Dingo's husband lets everyone borrow his Costco card so that we can take turns using the restroom and I get a few pieces of pizza and a cup of coffee from the food stand just outside of the Costco.|
At this point, Gina and Gert have left to find a Kinko's to make more copies of the release forms that everyone who is interviewed on camera has to sign.
While they are out, probably around 2:30 or so in the afternoon, a few people come outside and have a bunch of purple wristbands in their possession and announce in a British accents that they are going to start passing out the wristbands for the fan club party. One of them comes over to me and immediately recognizes me and calls me by name and introduces himself as Dave and introduces one of the other women passing out wristbands as Wendy and he shakes my hand. I am totally floored that Dave recognized me and am practically speechless at my notoriety. As they continue to pass the wristbands out, the girls frantically try to locate Gina. It doesn't look like there are 200 people in line and when Dave comes back around after passing the wristbands out, he still has quite a few left and asks if anyone else needs one. I explain that Ginasupercat has left and he out of the graciousness of his heart gives one to me to give to her.
So, we all decide to part ways and agree to meet back up at 5:30. I go back to my hotel and put on a collared shirt over my "Don't Care" shirt and debate on whether to meet up with others at Cillae's, but decided just to head back over to the GM place to hang out. When I come back, I find Dietmar and chat some more. A little while later, Stewart's son Jordan comes around and films the fans and interviews me and Dietmar. I say something that sounds like it came from a teenage fan's mouth, but Dietmar says something way more intelligible. The only thing I do at this point is lift up my outer shirt to sport the "Don't Care" shirt, ala Clark Kent changing into Superman in the comics. Jordan films the shirt (I hope Stewart sees the video!) and logo and goes on to interviewing others and mentions he'll be filming the fan club show party. Laz arrives from LA, but I don't think he made it there in time to get a wristband to the fan club party. I also start chatting with three lovely ladies and it turns out one of them who is a stewardess for Southwest is also from Northern Virginia. I tell her a bunch of people are planning to meet up after the show but I am never able to find them again in the sea of humanity after the show. If any of you gals happen to read this, drop me an e-mail. Everyone else in our group assembles and we are promptly let in to the GM place and told to go to Level four to the Brewhouse Grill and are given a coupon for a free drink. They also scan our tickets so we know this is also our entrance to the show as well.
I arrive to the bar before the big crowd of people, so I am able to quickly get a Canadian beer and meet up with the rest of the group. Dave and Wendy come in and announce the charity raffle. I buy 5 for $20, but don't win anything. However, SC.net's own Dirty Martini won a Message in the Box set signed by all three boys, including twice by Stewart as it appeared his silver Sharpie had mechanical problems when he signed it, which makes it a rarity in my opinion. I actually thought it was the coolest prize and I think DM deserves it the most in our group for her wonderful poems leading up to the show. We all have a toast to Ian Copeland's memory and go over and look down on the floor as we see people starting to come in and find their seats. We meet up with other cool fans. I give Maggie a big hug as I finally make into the show of my dreams.
A little later, we leave to take our seats for the big show. I'm in seat 18 of row 26 of the floor, which is an aisle seat. I am near the back, but I figure I'll be able to see the guys on the monitor. An older set of two couples sits behind me and they tell me they've flown up for Arizona for the show and they are very cool One of them jokingly starts asking people if they have any pot on them. A family of four comes and the wife and one of their kids sits next to me while the husband and other kid go elsewhere to get their seats. I start talking with the woman next to me and she tells me they're from LA where her husband works as a music composer for mostly obscure tv shows. It was because her husband was such a fan of Stewart's film scores that he got into the business. Since I am also a fan of Stewart's work, we talk about the business a little bit and she also tells me they attended the premiere of Holy Blood and the Crescent Moon, Stewart's first opera, in Cleveland which I also found very cool. I have never met so many cool people in my life as I did on the this trip!
I won't get into the details of the show itself as enough has been written about it already. My favorite moment is Stewart's now infamous slip trying to get to his percussion setup behind his drum kid during Wrapped Around Your Finger. I also love the rearrangement of Footsteps the best!
After the show, I also briefly met nancyrose who was very nice and I wish we could have chatted with her longer while waiting for Dirty Martini, Ginasupercat, Samburu Sunset, Mercury Rising, Gert and his cameraman as they wrapped up their fan interviews. Our next final stop was a pub across the street from DM and SS's hotel which we barely get there in time for last call. We have a wonderful conversation with Gert as he mentions his upcoming revised French book about the Police and his film (cross your fingers that it gets distributed in North America!) and call it a night.
On my way back to my room, I have a Roxanne moment. I'm walking along the
sidewalk on a side street by myself when an older car comes up next to me.
The woman driving leans out the window and asks me where I'm going. I see
whom I assume to be her pimp in the passenger seat and mumble something
incoherent and just keep walking. I know they have strict gun laws in
Canada, so the image that keeps coming up in my mind is that the pump stabs
me with a knife. I figured it must be my fanny pack that screams TOURIST
and why they chose me as their prey. They follow me for a few blocks and
eventually drive off. Later I tell people what happened and they all tell
me I should have started singing "Roxanne, you don't have to put on a red
At dinner, Mercury Rising offered to give us a tour of Vancouver, including the rehearsal site leading up to the tour, so we agreed to meet at noon. I spend the first half of the day doing a little sightseeing along the waterfront near Canada Place and take a trip up the space needle-type place and have sushi for lunch before meeting up with Mercury Rising, Samburu and Gina and we got a first class tour of Vancouver. Mercury first took us to the site of the Police rehearsals on the Squamish reserve, then we went got a spectacular view of a dam with the water rushing down that came from the melting snow of the nearby mountains that was incredibly refreshing.
The entrance doors to where the Police rehearsed in the weeks leading up to their Vancouver shows.
Ginasupercat, Conroy, and Samburu Sunset standing in front of totem poll next to the site of the Police rehearsals in Vancouver on 5/28/2007.
Police rehearsal site on the tranquil Squamish reserve just north of downtown Vancouver.
Next, we walked across a suspension bridge and along some trails stopping by a river before heading back to Mercury Rising's car. Our next stop was a lovely walk along the beach. The day was filled with wonderful conversation and great company, although we missed Dirty Martini's presence as she was getting rest in her hotel room trying to fight a cold. As we drove back to downtown Vancouver, we heard uberfan Maggie from LA and Bruce from Toronto being interviewed on the local classic rock station outside the GM place. They both sounded great on the radio as we passed through the beautifully historic Gastown. Mercury dropped us off at Samburu and DM's hotel and we all exchanged farewell hugs as I had a red eye flight back to Dulles and wouldn't be able to attend the official opening show.
Then I rushed over to the GM place hoping to catch Maggie. I talked with her a few minutes about the FC show and gave her a hug (I'll be meeting up with her again in Dallas on 6/26) and called Chris (Copelandous D'Amour) to meet for one last rum and coke to Ian's memory before gathering my luggage and heading out to the airport for dinner and my flight back home.
As I entered Vancouver International Airport, they CBC was airing a story about the Police tour. They showed the clip of Sockii's fantastic headbanging during Message in a Bottle at the Whisky show in glorious High Def (You totally rock, girl!). The report ended with speculation about why the "opening" show was in Vancouver even though it was apparent that Canadians weren't buying tickets as the opening show hadn't sold out at the time the story aired. First of all, there seemed to be a few things hinky with the story. They were interviewing ticket brokers who buy tickets and then jack up the price on speculation instead of leaving them for the fans to purchase, so it serves them right they had to slash the prices as low as $50 opening night. How about they interview Ticketmaster instead. Oh well, C'est La Vie, Outlandos d'Amour. Can't wait for Dallas to get here in just a few short weeks!
But before then, I just want to thank everyone whom I met (some for the first time and others met again) in Vancouver. This was an amazing trip. Big thanks for Mercury Rising for her awesome hospitality and proudly showing us what a beautiful place Vancouver is. Thanks to Chris for sharing in all the tributes to the late, great Ian Copeland one of the most incredible people I've had the pleasure of knowing personally. Thanks to Dirty Martini, Samburu Sunset, and GinaSuperCat for all the wonderful planning and the great company you provided throughout this whole trip. Thanks to Dietmar for being Dietmar. I'm so glad we got to share this momentous occasion with you, as you are the coolest uberfan I've ever met! Thanks to Dave, Wendy, and Tina for all the hard work you guys have done over the years to help make this happen! Thanks to Gert for the cool dinner conversation and good luck with your various projects. Thanks to Giovanni for having an online place to meet and be met and I wish you could have been there. If I've forgotten anyone, I apologize. But, most of all, thanks to Stewart Copeland for being Stewart Copeland. You have been the biggest inspiration in my life in ways you'll never know. I don't know how I can repay you for all the joy your body of work has brought to my existence except to share in it with all my other friends and peers I've met because of you.
Let us all do this again real soon!