On the Road, Part II: Freight Train

Robertson Davies would love this. Last Tuesday, as detailed here, I happened upon Fred J. Eaglesmith playing up the street from our World HQ in Charlottetown. A good time was had by all.

On the way home from that night out, I found that I had left the door of my 1993 Eagle Summit ajar; should I have not gone out that night, I wouldn’t have noticed this, and the van’s battery surely would have worn down.

Two days later, I was busily making hotel reservations — at the last minute — for this big working vacation to New England when who should knock at the door by our friend Dental Don. It was late, and he was in search of night cap, his family having abandoned him, due to paint fumes, to Rocky Point. Don pointed out that, again, the door was ajar, and I rushed out to close same lest the battery run down, etc.

Once Don left, night cap happily received, I returned to my hotel quest, and quickly happened upon the hotel where I type this, the Seaport Hotel. So here we arrived, yesterday afternoon.

This morning we headed off for a day of Bostonizing and noticed that right beside the hotel there is a large temporary tent-like structure. We were intrigued. So we drove over and found that this was the FleetBoston Pavilion, a summer concert facility. Playing tonight was Lucinda Williams. I am a fan (mostly due to KPIG).

We debated for most of the day as to whether or not we could manage taking wee Oliver out for his first country/rock concert, especially in light of the green-tea wailing of the previous night. Once we managed to introduce Oliver to swimming for the first time without incident, earlier today, we decided that we had what it takes.

I wandered over around 6:30 p.m. to find good tickets still available, and at 7:30 Catherine and Oliver wheeled over to join me. And so began the musical adventure.

The first thing to remember about live concerts is that the level of the volume of the pre-concert ambient music pales in comparison to the level of the actual volume of the actual concert. We forgot this, of course. So there we were, 23 rows from the stage, happily listening to the Cowboy Junkies, thinking that wee Oliver would loll off to sleep any minute and we would sit back and enjoy the music. And it indeed looked like that was going to happen. Then Kasey Chambers, the opening act, bounded on, the volume went up (way up), and Oliver decided to have none of this. Catherine quickly bounded off with him to the quiet reserves of the expansive food/T-shirt court, and I hung around for another couple of songs before worry got the best of me, and I went out lookin’ for them.

For most of the Kasey Chambers set — she’s a plucky Australian country singer who does a darn good job of appearing natively Texan — Oliver went through various stages of hairy conniption, not really because his eardrums were perforated or anything (the kindly staff gave us earplugs to handle that), but simply because the carnival-like atmosphere provided too many distractions.

Finally, after Kasey Chambers left the stage, and after a long intermission, Oliver drifted off to sleep just as Lucinda Williams took the stage, and we were able to claim more prudent way-back seats with room for stroller. Oliver slept contentedly throughout most of Lucinda Williams’ first set, and we sat happily beside him as he did so (although, given the heart-wrenching nature of most of the songs, “happily” wouldn’t do the mood justice).

When Oliver stirred after 8 or 9 songs, we decided that we should count ourselves lucky to have made it that far, and headed off to bed.

Oh, and the last song that Kasey Chambers played before the intermission? Freight Train, by Fred J. Eaglesmith.