Thursday, August 15, 2013

Out There

When I was a kid I saw the movie I Wanna Hold Your Hand.  It was on one of our then called Super Channels which was a 24 hour movie channel.  I've never watched the movie since but I remember how it showed the hysteria of the culture surrounding the Beatles and their fans.

When I was in junior high school I went through a whole 50's and 60's phase.  I made mixed tapes [remember those?] of music from that time period.  I borrowed records from the library and recorded them onto cassette tape.  I borrowed all the Beatles greatest hits albums and transferred them to cassette tape.  This was also around the time Duran Duran hit it big and I quickly transferred my obsession to them and the new British Invasion.

In a million years I would have never thought I'd ever have a chance to see someone of the calibre of Paul McCartney in concert anywhere near my home.  People like that only toured in the US and maybe had one or two concert dates in Canada.

As a piano "mackdaddy", I've taught many students to play Let it Be, Hey Jude, and Yesterday.  I've felt it is my duty as a music teacher to educate the up and coming about relative music.  I teach the songs and I try to teach the story behind it.

In 2012, I went to New York and saw the building John Lennon was killed in front of.  I walked through Central Park which contains Strawberry Fields and a memorial to John Lennon.

This year.  I got to go to Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan for an evening of magic with 40,000 other people.  I saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert for the final night of the North American Out There tour.

It was EPIC.

We drove into Regina about 4pm and checked into the Days Inn which has the highest beds of all time.  Seriously, when I stood beside the bed, it was hip high.  We couldn't find a restaurant so we had to get a quick and untastey burger at McDonald's before we lined up for the shuttle buses to the stadium.  We were there at what we thought was early.  Within a very short period of time the line traveled around the entire parking lot.  The buses could only take 45 people at a time.  There weren't enough buses.  Some people were opting to drive instead but the city strongly urged people to take the SGI sponsored shuttles instead.  So we stuck with the shuttles.

That wasn't the worst of it.


When we got to the block before the stadium there were streets blocked off with police everywhere.  The line up for the gate to our seating was a city block long.  The signage inside the stadium was poor.  It was hot and we had been standing forever.  Bottled water was $4.  So finally we found our seats and settled in.  I use the word 'seat' generously because it was a bench basically.  The guy on the isle got the worst of it by only  half perching on the seat.

Because it was taking such an enormous amount of time for fans to get there the concert did not start on time.  It started an hour after it's supposed initial start time of 8pm.  But something was happening and does tend to happen when 40,000 people are in a stadium together and the sun is setting making the moon [and I'm not talking about Jon Cornish here] over Mosaic a magical place. 


A spontaneous wave broke out.  Have you ever seen that amount of people participating in the wave?  I bet we set a record.


Finally, Paul appeared on stage and from there on out.....it was purely 3 hours of legendary music spanning 50 years.  We heard tributes to Lennon and Harrison.  We heard songs dedicated to two of his wives.  We heard stories of recordings and playing with Jimmy Hendrix and it was all incredible.  At one point he took a certain section of the stage to himself.  It was himself and his guitar, which he played about 5 different types.  McCartney talked about telling people how much you love them while you have the chance and how he didn't with John Lennon.  Then he sang a song about him and the stage began to rise up while water falls emerge on the screens below.  Paul wiped away a tear when he was done.


At another point in the concert, he took to his piano to sing Let it Be.  I've heard it billions of times.  This was the most emotional time I've ever experienced it as the entire stadium lit up with lighters and cell phones.  Again, Paul was clearly moved by the outpouring of emotion from the crowd.


The most mind blowing part of the concert was the rendition of Live and Let Die.  I can't even hardly explain the jaw dropping excitement as flames were shot off the stage and fireworks streaked into the night sky.  Wow.  Just plain WOW.


During the 1st encore Hubby pulled my arm and said we should go and catch our bus.  We were clearly leaving early as by the time we hit the bottom of the stairs Paul had broken into Yesterday.  So we stood outside on the street with tons of other people listening in the night.  When it was over we headed to our bus while more fireworks went off and could be seen for blocks around.
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Today we were lucky and beat the rush to the continental breakfast which was delish!  We needed it because we were sight seeing before heading home for the 3 hour drive.  The first place we went was the Legislature Building.  This is the massive building which our Premiere Brad Wall conducts all provincial business.  It is on the bank of Wascana Lake and features immaculate gardens, sculptures and walking trails.  There was a tour which takes a half hour but we had other places to get to.



Rider practice!!!!!  We got a little lost trying to find Leibel Field but finally found it.  It was 32*C so we didn't stay as long as originally planned.  It was fun to watch the team practice.  It was cool to hear the 'wolf pack' howl in unison a number of times.  I snapped a few shots before we left for lunch.


Lunch was at the Star Italian Deli.  The main objective was cannoli.  And yes, they did have cannoli!  It was really good too.  We also got assorted Italian meat sandwiches and an orange Boylan soda, another treat from our NYC trip.

Because of the heat, we decided to drive and eat.  We found the highway and zoomed off with enough vivid memories to last a life time.  I am still drinking it all in.  It is amazing to be Out There.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Wheels on the Bus Go.....Hot Diggety Dog!

Hubby was at the kitchen counter gulping down fresh cherries left and right when I wandered in.  I said, "You know, if you wanted to take your fancy schmancy camera and go for a walk I have an idea.  I've always wanted to go to the red double decker bus.  We can get a hotdog and wander through the park."

He looked at me.

Then he looked at his cherries.

Then he responded, "Well, I may as well eat the rest.  There's only 5 left."

So we hopped in the Honda and cruised into downtown Saskatoon and found a very lucky parking spot right down the street of the picturesque Bessborough Hotel and across the street from the Red Bus Refreshment double decker bus.  After perusing the menu we decided on the Riverbank Frank for $5 each.  We had a choice of  4 toppings.....I got the usual ketchup, mustard, relish and mayo.  Hubby had pickles, sauerkraut, mustard and salsa.  He is adventurous after all!

The back view of the bus.
We walked to the corner where there were several park benches and sat and ate our huge hot dogs.  The bus offers many things ranging from ice cream, frozen yoghurt, ice tea, lemonade, floats, popcorn and our dogs.  This is the first time that I've ever gotten something from the bus and yes, it was on my Sand Bucket List.

The view from our park bench.
When we were finished our lunch we walked across the street to the Bessborough Hotel.  The Bess was built as many were for the railroad.  It is an outstanding feature for our city.  It's known as the Castle on the River and is a major landmark.  It's a very interesting building and some say it has ghosts!  I tried to take pictures of some of the interesting architecture including the gargoyles sitting atop the roof.

Can you spot the gargoyle?
We walked along the paths of the park adjacent to the hotel.....it is the same place the Taste of Saskatchewan was.....but this time, being empty of food tents, it was reminiscent of the great lawn in Central Park.  I found a maple leaf on the trail and picked it up and carried it the entire way with me.  [I set it free before we left :) ]  In the middle of the park is a band stand that is dedicated to those who fought at Vimy Ridge.
Hubby's Hand, my leaf, the Vimy memorial & South Saskatchewan River.
Saskatoon is known as the City of Bridges.  In fact, we just had a brand new bridge, the South Bridge, open last week!  We ventured close to one of them, the Broadway Bridge, and snapped a few neat pictures.

Right under the bridge!

We meandered down the paths and found the ornate back gate open to the Bessborough Gardens.  I bet it was an interesting place back in the day. 


We continued on until we got to the spot where the skating rink is during the winter.  Hubby remarked, "No one is skating today."



Riding on the Prairie Lily is also on my Sand Bucket List!

By this time we were getting a little thirsty and a Tim Hortons was nearby so we went there.  I had a gift card to use.  I got an ice cap while Hubby got a raspberry lemonade.  On our way back to the car we walked by his work and a couple other business.

Street fleurs with church in the background.
It was fun and relaxing and made for a beautiful day!  I love where I live and I am so appreciative of the things we have here to enjoy.  In the words of my brother in law, I can't believe you have this here!