Backstage with Baldy
Ottawa – July 14th
Usually I have carte blanche to write about whatever I feel like writing about.
But Jerry & Mike went on a fishing trip on our day off in Ottawa, and asked me to write about it.
But you know what? I wasn’t there, so all I can say is that they chartered a couple of boats (Thanks John Anderson), went fishing, caught some big ugly fish, and came back to the hotel.
I went to Cirque De Soleil’s Totem show, so I can write about really fit people in tight clothing jumping and swinging all over the place.
Or I can just write for the 400th time about Alice In Chains playing a rock show.
When I woke up this morning and remembered where we were and what we were doing here, (The Ottawa BluesFest), I thought “What in the hell is Alice In Chains doing on this bill?
And why are they only playing for an hour at 5 in the afternoon?
And why was my room service meat loaf 39 dollars last night?”
None of this really mattered, however.
What mattered was the fact that it was 99 degrees out. (I actually don’t know what the temperature was, but it was humid enough to grow rice in my shorts, whatever that means).
For most of the afternoon leading up to Alice’s set, blues bands were playing on various stages throughout the festival grounds.
Which really got me thinking again, “What in the hell is Alice In Chains doing on this bill?
I did a little research though, and it turns out that this festival was filled with way more than just blues bands.
From pop to R&B to rock to DJs, all sorts of music was represented.
I started to feel a little bit better about the guys being on the bill, but I was still nervous because there weren’t a ton of people out there.
About 10 minutes before the band was set to play, we looked out and saw maybe a couple thousand people.
We were wondering if it was going to fill up, but being a blues festival, we just figured that maybe we were the odd man out after all and that blues fans in Ottawa weren’t going to care about the gloomy frown rock that Alice In Chains doles out.
Well, it turns out that Ottawans, much like the rest of Canada, appreciate good music regardless of genre, and maybe a little gloomy frown rock is just what people need on a scorching hot Ottawa day.
By the time Alice took the stage, the grounds were pretty much full, with people continuing to file in throughout the show.
And it was one of their best shows of this Canadian run.
Hollow was a crushing monster, Down In A Hole was brilliant, and the sound out in the house was amazing.
Meanwhile, as the band was onstage ripping it up, festival organizers were paying a visit to our intrepid tour manager Chuck and sternly reminding him that the festival had a decibel limit, and Alice In Chains was currently making a mockery of it.
This isn’t unusual (The decibel part. Not the mockery part).
Outdoor gigs, particularly festivals, oftentimes have a decibel (or db) limit because it’s in a public place, or to keep sound from bleeding onto other stages.
Well, the word never made it to our front of house engineer, so the 90 decibel limit was exceeded by about 15. Oops. Sorry about that.
What’s the difference between 90 dbs and 105 dbs?
I’d say that 90 dbs is a nice first date, and 105 dbs is going to get someone pregnant.
So congratulations Ottawa, you’re expecting!!
All in all we had a great time in Ottawa. Whether it was on a fishing trip or on a stage, the band had a lot of fun here.
Oh, and sorry about the decibel thing…Really.