I have no idea when Auberge started but it probably wasn’t too long before this. I also have no idea when I first attended Auberge but my ticket books tend to believe it was on December 31st, 1993, and though it seems to me that I started going to Auberge New Years Eve parties before then I’ve decided to grudgingly defer to the information I have in hard copy.
I guess there’s quite a lot I don’t really recall for sure about Auberge – which is understandable – like how I first heard about these epic NYE (and later Hallowe’en) parties that went down in rural Quebec and regularly featured the crème de la crème of Ottawa’s local music scene in toto, though I’m guessing that my friend Corey first suggested I go. I couldn’t possibly tell you how I got to or from any of these parties, but I’m pretty darn sure I wasn’t driving and I know that I never once took advantage of the shuttle bus that they almost always had arranged to bring people to and from Ottawa. Okay, maybe once, but for sure not this time.
Heck, I’ve never been able to consistently find the place even when I was looking. Though I’ve been there four or five times I couldn’t possibly tell you how to get there. Anytime I’ve been I arrived by accident of getting lost, and the rundown motel/brassarie always seems to rise out of nowhere when I do happen upon it, which is rather mysterious.
What I can tell you with certainty is that Auberge parties were out in the middle of nowhere in an old, authentic roadside dive bar with a half-dozen rooms to rent upstairs. Everyone I knew would be there and the rest of the house would be packed exclusively with people I saw whenever I went out to see one of Ottawa’s great local acts, which was often.
And there seemed to be no rules whatsoever. We were even allowed to bring in our own alcohol…at least I think we were allowed to. I’m pretty darn sure I’ve never once stepped up to the bar to buy a drink in the place.
And oh, the music! Of course none of these names will mean anything to anyone outside of the late ’80’s to mid-’90’s Ottawa music crowd, but let me promise you this lineup was stacked with talent. I wrote in my ticket book that I saw Spruce (which was a softer hippie conglomeration that basically pioneered Ottawa’s mini Haight-Ashbury street of peace, love, and music: Spruce Street), 4 Way Street (which was and I suppose still is a rather good CSNY cover band, but is not an actual street), and Fear & Loathing, which was an acoustic duo comprised of Beau and Mike from Freeway Band.
Which I suppose means that I didn’t see Freeway Band at this show, which is too bad. I don’t think there is enough mention in these ticket stories about the Freeway Band, and I would love to write more about them. Suffice to say that they were super-young and they had a sound that landed somewhere around The Allman Brothers but not even close to that, and they brought the Ottawa hippie kids out in absolute droves. My gawd, did we all love the Freeway Band. They basically coalesced a certain chunk of the Ottawa music scene during that era, and I saw them bunches and bunches and bunches of times.
But not on this night, so it seems.
Now, for all my guesses and maybes and wonders, I do in fact have piles of very vivid memories from this night and from each of the other Auberge nights too. I just don’t want to tell you about them.
(I see from this ticket stub that Auberge was a multi-night affair. If so, I tell you, this is the first I’m hearing about it. And with two holes punched out, this ticket would further suggest that I attended two nights in a row. I assure you this is not the case, or at least if so this is the first I’m hearing about it. Though the multi-night concept might explain why I only saw three acts at this show.)