July 22nd, 2013 was the date Phish selected to makeup for the Toronto show that had recently been cancelled due to flooding. Despite my desire to be at the Molson Amphitheatre with all my friends that night I already had a ticket to see Steve Martin and Edie Brickell in Minneapolis. Preplanning forced my hand, and I’m glad of it.
I had Pricelined a room at The Foshoy, a towering hotel in the middle of the city that looked like it came straight out of Gotham. The lobby was all hip and neon, the elevator was old and brassy, the rooms modern with great views, and a penthouse nightclub that was reminiscent of a classy yet stuffy private club, all oaken and empty. I warmed up with a handful of drinks before walking to the nearby theatre.
I had waited too long to get tickets to the show so m’lady and I weren’t sitting together…or were we? I had managed to score the same seats in two adjacent rows so she sat in front of me. I believe that was a concert-going first for me. It’s also rare for me to be late for a concert such as this but a lovely dinner across the street from our hotel made us so. We arrived halfway through the first song and waited to be ushered to our seats.
The theatre was grand and the show was great. I believe it was my first time seeing Steve Martin, a longtime comedic hero of mine, and my second time seeing Edie Brickell, a singer I have been smitten with since the late ’80’s. The show was everything it promised; Steve Martin’s chops easily keeping up with his stellar band The Steep Canyon Rangers, and featuring the airy wisps of Edie Brickell for about half the show. I was surprised at how well Edie’s voice fit into the bluegrass style, but her ever-smiling voice wound seamlessly with the Steep Canyon Rangers, singing homey tales of barefoot innocence in between Martin’s nearly-novelty lyrics and side-splitting wisecracks.* It was a match made in heaven; the crowd ate it up and so did I.
The next day I called down to the desk and asked for a late checkout and was told we were welcome to stay until 8pm. I was astounded – I’m happy when I get an extra hour. I spent the afternoon roaming through the city’s amazing sculpture park and bought lunch from a row of gourmet food trucks parked near the hotel while m’lady put in a full day of digitally nomadic work.
I had never been to Minneapolis before and I was shocked at how cool it was. For some reason I pictured it as an industrial city full of smokestacks and factories, like an American Saint John, NB. It was anything but with its urban greenery, ubiquitous bike paths and friendly people. Not to mention a pretty sweet theatre and a standout hotel!
*Here’s a smattering:
“What a joy it is to be here doing the two things I love most: comedy and charging people money to hear music.”
“In the backstage bathroom I noticed a sign that said ‘Employees Must Wash Hands’. Thank God I’m not an employee!”
“You may notice I have a lot of banjos onstage. They’re like my children, which means one of them probably isn’t mine.”
“Having Edie on the road has made for a subtle change on the tour bus. Instead of drinking and playing poker after the show, the other night we all spent the evening beading necklaces.”
“I saw Eric Clapton in concert a few weeks ago. He wasn’t very funny at all.”
And as he returned to the stage for the encore:
“Wow, there is a lot of commotion going on backstage; a bunch of police running around and the manager is going nuts. It turns out I am an employee!”