September 9th – Victoria, British Columbia
Right before we take stage, the hotel concierge from next door runs into the green room of Club Nine One Nine and squarely spins me from my backstage pacing and grabs my shoulders, out of breath from her jaunt over and divulges these words with a wink, “Your Dad just called from Brugge to wish you a good show!” She’s ready to flurry off back to her desk and dreary work when she notices my confused expression. “Your Dad, okay?” she repeats it as if I’m a tender thickhead. “He wants you to have fun.” My face looks in her face for answers, “My … Dad? “ I’m trying to string it together when she realizes why I’m stumbling. “Oh no. Wait. I’m sorry,” she sees Dan mid conversation in the north east corner and points at him. “His dad. His Dad. Dan’s Dad wants him to have a good show. Okay?” Dan’s Dad. Of course! Pops! “Okay!” I wink back at her. I love Dan’s Dad and if I hadn’t been angling my way through pre-show nerves I would have been able to make sense of the situation a little quicker but, as per usual, Dan’s Dad is always able to surprise me. Delight me. And make me feel sentimental. It is just this tidbit that turns our crazy day of BC ferry travel and border-crossing nightmares and Bonny & Clyde style banking into a true hometown show for Dan. Dan’s Dad’s best wishes introduce us to the most heart-warming and redeeming show of the tour. We walk into the packed room and it erupts into hollering and Dan looks like he’s won something. Like the life he’d started here making music in his bedroom during his most angst-ridden times has finally amounted to his dreams. “I used to get kicked outta this place,” he laughs. “And even though it’s a different generation of no-necked security guards out there, I was nervous about getting into my own show tonight.” The crowd is his already. “This time, well, they smiled at me.” He flashes his wristband like a VIP gold card holder. “This way, Sir.” And it goes off. We hurl ourselves into every song with the same passion of the crowd below us, hurling themselves into every song, knowing every lyric and jumping and fist-bumping along. They are loose. And we are ourselves. I can’t help feeling proud. I look at this man who allowed me to be his and who continues to make me his and I see all the goodness of a man grown up. A hometown boy made good. Made very good. The ghosts of his past act as angels tonight. Old friends are with us. And true friends are with us. Family too. Old teachers. And new friends. So many new faces. Sweating as if he has just been reborn, Dan searches the crowd for a face he hasn’t met yet. He doesn’t even know what face he is looking for. She has been described to us only as The Communist with red hair. He is looking for Dan’s Dad’s girlfriend. He cannot find her but he dedicates a song to her. I swoon. Dan’s heart is full. Just like his Dad’s. And, for the second time tonight, I am surprised by a true and tender act of kindness and good feeling. I am an utterly sentimental romantic and I love the right man. Hometown boy makes proud. Very proud.
Besides all this gooey nonsense, we also had a spectacularly cinematic day and, though perhaps it is not the movie I would have hoped to personally star in, it was pretty entertaining. Along with our raddest friend and most genius pal, Scott Coffey, who acted as driver for the day, we escaped the clutches of border control and successfully “laundered” money. Our small ferry skirted the choppy waters and harbor seals and we arrived in quaint Victoria feeling pretty victorious really. We were windswept and feeling famous. Perhaps our thriving attitudes rubbed the customs agent the wrong way or perhaps it was smalltown boredom but we spent the next few hours trying to explain ourselves in the company of two long-bearded men and one actually insane woman also being interrogated. And the hilarious part was that we were hiding something. I can’t explain exactly why we were acting as criminals because I wouldn’t want to put myself into trouble’s spotlight but let’s just say we were very lucky they were looking for drugs instead. One of us had been arrested in New York when he was eighteen for using fake tokens in the subway. One of us had prescription drugs that looked a lot like tabs of acid. One of us had actually had border troubles before. And all of us looked a little sheepish by the end of it. How your youth can haunt you. But after some Google-searching, the customs agents returned with big grins and wishes for a good show. Running painfully late, we shredded our suitcases in the middle of a bustling downtown sidewalk, merch money and settlement sheets and the funds of the last few months exploding everywhere in a whirlwind. I dashed into the closing Royal Bank of Canada, having kissed my Clyde with red lips, and shrieked, “I need help,” to the first financial hostess I saw. I did not wait for the next available teller. Every single person in the bank stopped their counting and turned to me in terror. Presuming the worst. I was looking a little disheveled admittedly so they tended to me quickly, wanting to usher me from sight. A few hours later, we were amongst friends sipping perseco and eating fish tacos on a sunny roof-top bar, our adrenalin tapped but our spirits high, laughing at the hilarity of our life. What madness.
I love this madcap firebrand of love and in this band I get to score a film that is both a thriller and a romantic-comedy. I am, of course, too lucky.