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Number 2


Observation 3.1.12

August 2, 2003

When I first found out that we had gotten tickets for a concert in Toronto, I was excited. Not only is Toronto a cool city (from what I've heard), but this would be the sixth time for me to see the legendary Rolling Stones. Of course, I was excited to also see some other bands that are favorites like mine - namely Rush and AC/DC.  

The more I heard about the concert, the more excited I got.  9 hours of music, 500,000 people - this was going to be a history-making event.  Early on, I hoped it wouldn't be another Altamont (if you don't know what this is, put the word in a search engine, and you'll figure it out).  Still, this would probably be my last chance to see the Stones (I've said that each of the previous 5 times I've gone to a Stones concert).

The group that ended up driving to Toronto was Me, Lisa, Sue, and my brother Kurt.  We all took a half-day at work, and Sue, Lisa, and I began our trek to pick up Kurt in State College, and then to journey to the land of Sars. We made it to State College at around 4:45 p.m., and Kurt had already picked up dinner for us - McDonalds (the beginnings of a great trip!).

Then, we proceeded to drive through the "hinterlands."  We agreed upon stopping in the "lovely" city of Buffalo in order to (a) rest, and (b) try some of their world-famous buffalo wings.  When we arrived there at about 9:00 p.m., we began to realize that Buffalo wasn't quite the kind of city we were used to.  First, we found that most of the restaurants and bars were already closed for the night (party-town).  We found directions to a bar/restaurant (or pub) that supposedly had good buffalo wings.  When we arrived at this bar, and had some of their buffalo wings, we came to the conclusion that (a) if this bar wasn't open, Buffalo probably wouldn't exist at all, and (b) that Philly makes better Buffalo wings (and has a better hockey team, football team, etc.).

The time to leave Buffalo couldn't come soon enough.  We were back on route to Canada.  As we were getting ready to cross the border, we started getting nervous about the border checks.  We didn't have anything to hide, but Lisa and Sue didn't have passports with them, and Lisa only had a copy of her birth certificate. As it turned out, the border "police" are a tad on the lax side, which surprised me.  In fact, all the "cop" asked us was where we were going.  We didn't have to show our i.d.'s, and we didn't have to be searched.  

We finally made it to our hotel in Toronto, and were at a bar across the street called "Hoops," by 12:30 a.m.  I was exhausted, but was thirsty for the Torontonian culture (and beer).  We got a seat at this packed bar, and the first thing I realized was that Toronto has a sports station that is like ESPN, but is called TSN.  It has SportsCenter, and all the graphics are the same, but they focus on Toronto baseball (I'm still pissed at 1993), and Canadian football (we have longer fields).

Next, I discover that there are more brands of Molson than one, when I order a Molson, and the waitress asks which kind I want.  I think my dumb response went something like this:  "Er......regular?"

We finally got back to the hotel around 2:00 a.m., and we all went to sleep. By 10:00 a.m., I was awake and ready to partake in this legendary event.  We ate breakfast at this diner called "Fran's," and then got on the subway to the concert.  We made it to the gate at about 1:30 p.m., but the line was huge, and we were moving at about the rate of sap coming out of a tree (probably slower).  By 2:45, we finally made it to the show, but Sue was so shaken by the large crowd, that she and Lisa decided to leave the concert and go downtown (not even Justin Timberlake's scheduled appearance could keep them there for some reason).

Kurt and I decided to tough it out and take-in the moments.  We noticed a lot of people around us smoking pot, and we were amazed that security wasn't doing anything about it.  We later found out that pot is now legal in Canada (I'm not kidding you). 

We got to see such bands as Sass Jordan (Canadian), The Isley Brothers, a special appearance by Jeff Healey, Justin Timberlake, and the Guess Who (they look mighty old). Then came Rush - and they were great.  They started off with "Working Man," and then played other favorites, and new songs.  One question I have is, why did they have 4 clothes dryers on stage that were actually drying clothes?

AC/DC came on next, and in my opinion, stole the show.  They played everything you wanted them to play (except Big Balls).  I've always liked AC/DC, but never realized how great a musician Angus was. They were loud, fun, crazy, and most of all, they were good. 

It was going to be hard for the Stones to top this act, but they gave it their best.  They came out to Start Me Up, then played Brown Sugar, and then other "Mass-popular" songs.  I guess I'm to the point now that I want to hear the Stones do some of their less popular songs, because I've heard them do the others so often.  Still, they probably had to do these songs in front of 500,000 young and old people.  What they didn't have to do is bring on Justin Timberlake to sing Miss You with them.  That was a hard pill for me to swallow. I was pissed when N'Stynk sang with Aerosmith at the Super Bowl a few years a go.  Now the Stones were selling out.  Mick even sang "Cry Me a River" in the middle of Miss You with Justin.  I thought I had died and gone to hell.  The Stones sort of redeemed themselves by bringing Angus on and doing a song with him, but it wasn't enough.

All-in-All, the concert was an awesome experience.  Toronto did a great job trying to accommodate everybody. Free water at the concert, a great subway system, and a very clean city.  It's a shame I didn't get to stay longer - I would've liked to have gotten a shot to see more of the city.  

On the way back, we stopped at Niagara Falls, too.  What a cool place, and what a cute "short vacation."

More house updates, and other funny stories coming soon.  Please keep reading!

Observation 3.1.1 - New Grieb Updates (new house, new job, new Grieb) - 3/17/03

Observation 3.1.2 - My thoughts on Iraq, the Basketball Tournament, and the Stones in China - 3/24/03

Observation 3.1.3 - Philadelphia Flyers playoff prediction, new house - 4/7/03

Observation 3.1.4 - Bull Durham - 4/14/03

Observation 3.1.5 - House update, Hockey playoffs, Philly Sports, Smokin' Steve - 4/28/03

Observation 3.1.7 - Summer?, barbecues, party - 5/27/03

Observation 3.1.8 - Pet Shop Van story - 6/3/03

Observation 3.1.9 - Sue's Shower - 6/14/03

Observation 3.1.10 - The end of an Era - 6/28/03

Observation 3.1.11 - New house update - 7/16/03

Observation 3.1.12 - Sars-Stock - 8/2/03