Great Lake Swimmers – North America pt 1

Great Lake Swimmers @ Southminster United Church
Lethbridge, AB
May 8 2012.
Photo by Brad Ferguson

So, we are just over a week into this tour. The routing on this tour is what I would call ‘very efficient’, with little to no time off, except for when necessary for long-distance drives. We’ve been through Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Nelson so far.

The bus is pretty full with 10 people, but it doesn’t feel too cramped. It’s a pretty well laid-out bus which allows me to keep a desk together. It may seem unnecessary, but it really does help me be more efficient not having to set-up and tear down my office setup two or three times a day.

I brought my hand-blender and some frozen fruit, milk, and greek yogurt on this run so every morning I can start off with a fruit smoothie. I usually follow with an all-bran bar, just to keep the body in check. After years and years of living on the road and eating terribly, I have finally figured out the correlation between eating well and feeling well. It’s funny how that works.

Usually when I start a tour with a new act I have a bit of anxiety, not knowing what I’m getting myself into. Despite not having worked with Great Lake Swimmers all that much (I had mixed monitors for them twice before this tour, and both times were in 2009), I had a pretty good relationship with everyone and wasn’t worried. They’re a pretty relaxed and easy-going bunch.

What’s interesting about this tour is that I’m not doing sound. I am strictly tour managing, and we are touring with a FOH sound engineer, and merch person. I have to say, being able to focus on being a tour manager only has really helped me focus on doing that job really well, and it has allowed me to relax a little bit while on the road. When you’re going 18 hours a day it’s hard to keep your head above water some days, but thankfully that isn’t an issue on this tour.

While in Chicago, I took a tour of Wrigley Field, which was amazing. If you know me, you know how much I love baseball, and to be in such a beautiful and historic baseball venue was pretty spectacular.

Being a tourist on Wrigley Field – Got a little bit wet though due to rain.

The day after Chicago, GLS had a Daytrotter session in Rock Island, Il. While we were on the way there, I looked at a map and realized that Rock Island is right next door to Moline, Il, which is where John Deere’s world headquarters is located. As you may or may not know, I grew up on a farm, and in 1988 my father founded a John Deere dealership. It’s been the family business ever since, and I was practically raised at the dealership. It was my first job and I started off by cutting the grass, and ended up selling parts, delivering lawn mowers, and managing the company’s computer systems. I’ve always wanted to go to Moline to see what it was like there, and I managed to call a cab and I finally got my chance.

1934 John Deere Model “A”

Once we crossed back into Canada, we had a night off in Saskatoon which allowed me to visit some family, which was really great. We are now rolling into Vancouver for a well-deserved day off, and we play The Commodore Ballroom tomorrow, before heading to Victoria and then south of the border to Seattle.

I look forward to sharing some photos of the left coast with you soon!


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