A SUNSET CRUISE ON LAKE ONTARIO
After our trip to the CN Tower, Laurie and Charles hopped out of the truck at the downtowon waterfront and got some brochures on harbor cruises, dinner cruises and stuff like that, and Laurie and I thought it would be great to get out on a boat over the water, especially since the weather had been really hot and humid the first couple of days we were there.
So after the romp in the streets at the pride festivities, Laurie and I freshened up and headed back downtown to take a ride on one of the river boats. We grabbed an ice cappichino (sp?) and a bottle of juice for the ride. The boat was okay,...like the kind in France and Belgium and Amsterdam...a glass enclosed boat that does nothing but leisurely cruise around with not a care in the world. We sat right next to the stairs of the boat, which was open to the air, and kicked back, had our refreshments and watched the scenery and enjoyed the cool air.
The boat guide didn't know much about the places we went by, which was typical...no one who lived there knew much of how to get about or whatever. I asked him what the water temperature was of Lake Ontario, and he couldn't tell me the answer, believe it or not. I couldn't reach the water from the boat, otherwise I would have had a rough estimate. He guessed it might be 10 degrees C, which I think comes out to about 42 degrees F, but I still don't know what it was. He did say, however, that the lake was very polluted and people don't much swim or play in it because of the combination of temperature and pollution. The trip was quiet...I half expected a tour-guide like microphone running narration of what we were seeing, but it didn't happen. I guess the captain of the boat didn't know where he was or what everything was either! Ha!
Anyway, the CN Tower faded away in the background, and we cruised out to some little islands about a mile or so away from the docks. There were no vehicles on the islands, about a dozen of them, but people had their yachts and boats and stuff moored there, and there were families playing, cooking and enjoying themselves. I think there was a ferry that took people there for day trips or something. The islands were like little recreational areas/park-like.
The sunset was a good one, the kind where the sun sets in a ball of blazing red fire, and we began heading back to the docks just as it was prettiest. Should make for some good pictures when I get them back.
Back on land, we were bummed the trip was over, but had to stay at the docks for a while more because it was so nice and cool. But it was getting a little late, and we had to meet the rest of our group at...........
THE ORBIT ROOM
Just a quick note for those who do not know...the Orbit room is a bar/room owned by Alex Lifeson and Tim Notter. It's located at 580A College Street in Toronto, and is the destination of any Rush fan who visits Toronto.
The Orbit Room is very low-key, so to speak. It's just a small stairway going up the a second floor bar...more like a room, and that's why they call it the Orbit Room! Outside is the name of the bar written among small black, shiney tiles, with the street number right above the name. The bar area upstairs is probably only 15 or 20 yards long at most, and the place could possibly hold, oh, maybe 100 people at it's most craziest. The Orbit Room isn't a crazy party place, though. It plays host to many different types of live music and musicians. The best way to describe the atmosphere there is small, quaint, personal and cozy and well-kept. With a REALLY good looking waitress!
The tables are all aluminum on top, shiney and textured, and very small, probably only a square yard each. Our group probably occupied about, eh, at least 10 of these tables put together, which just happened to be right next to where the Dave Murphy band was playing, a regular for Sunday nights. There were small blue candles illuminating each of the tables. I really liked...hmmmm..how to describe...someone shaped sheets of steel into round, tall, hollow cylindars, and used a torch to cut out shapes of stars and planets and stuff. And there were green/blue lights inserted into the cylindars, so that the light shined through the shapes of the stars and planets...which was cool, and completed the ambiance of the Orbit Room to it's true name.
The band was absolutely exceptional! These guys totally rocked. They were a combination jazz/rock fivesome, with a lead guitarist, a keyboardist/lead singer, a drummer, bassist and saxophone/backup keyboardist. Man, these guys just ripped, and ripped loud. They joked about playing some Rush, if only someone would write down all the words to the "Spirit of Radio" on a napkin or something, then they'd attempt to play it.
About three songs later, someone from the audience gave him the full lyrics, and off they went! It was funny, because they really didn't know how to play it all, just parts of it. Half way through it, the keyboardist threw the band into a raggae mode, and was like Bob Marley..."The spirit, the spirit, the spirit of de radio....the spirit...the spirit...the spirit of de radio...shatta de delusion of integreeetee..." it was quite...awesome! In addition to playing some incredible tunes from Supertramp's Breakfast in America album, they blazed through tracks like the Who's "Won't get fooled again/Quadraphenia (I think), Some stuff off of Sting's "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" and some other tunes I just can't remember right now. But what I do remember was stepping out on College Avenue to cool down, and running back inside when they started playing "In the Mood." YEAH! Needless to say, our group was rockin', drinkin' and having a ragin' great time. The band played three sets that lasted to close to 3 a.m.
What else can I tell you about the Orbit Room? Well, everyone there got take-home paper menus and business cards! Everyone ordered something to eat, and the most popular choise seemed to be the tostada, due to the large contingent of Texans, Californians and South Americans among our group! In addition to this, there's salad, vegatables, seafood (shrimp), chicken wings, pizza and burgers. Dinners offered included ribeye steak, salmon, cashew chicken, and daily specials of some sort or another. Most of the fare was party/finger food, probably just like Alex likes. Prices ranged from $5.95 to $12.95, completely reasonable. And of course, enough brands of beer and alchohol to satisfy even the most pickey American visitor.
The evening ended with the crowd pleading for more encoures, and the band came out and did two extra numbers and called it quits. They definitly earned their pay on this night.
STUMBLING UPON THE BAND'S HOTEL Since Charles and I were rooming together, we took off back to the hotel, but with it being dark, and being somewhat...disoriented due to all the excitement and what have you, I managed to get lost again in the city. We went up and down quite a few different streets trying to get back to our hotel, when all of a sudden, there appears in the desserted street at about 4 a.m., these strikingly familiar large busses all parked next to the back entrance of a posh hotel that will remain nameless. Needless to say, we had to stop and check it out, and sure enough, before we even got close, Charles and I were like, "Nah, that's not what we think it is, is it?" Yup, it was. Somewhere near the corner of Younge and Temperence streets were the recognizable tour busses. We were stoked!
An evening at the Orbit room, the concert merely 15 hours away, in a foreign country, lost in the middle of the night, and a glimpse of familiarity pops up spontaneously! We were fired up and stoked, re- energized, and found our hotel within minutes of the hotel. We contemplated going back during daylight hours, but that pretty much wasn't mine or Charles' style. We were just happy in the knowledge that we had chosen a hotel randomnly in the city that just happened to be 10 minutes from where the crew and band was based!
Well, that was definitly an eventful day.
***NEXT TIME*** Rush, June 30th, 1997, first time ever at the Molsen Amphitheater, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (will be a very long post!)