KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
I flew out to Kelowna the morning of the 23rd. Kelowna is a beautiful-looking city, I guess, but what it mostly was to me was *spread out*. I caught the shuttle to the bus depot and purchased a return ticket to Salmon Arm, where the show that night would be. I passed time chatting with Sylvia, a hiker from Switzerland, who was on her way to Penticton.
The Salmon Arm bus took me through some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. I guess. I was asleep, dreaming that I was watching Noam Chomsky teaching a fish to talk. (Spend too much time around Fruvous and your dreams get *very* odd.) The bus finally stopped in Salmon Arm and I hauled my fatigued self off of it.
Salmon Arm is *beautiful*. There are no two ways about it. Phrases like "nestled in a valley in the Okanagan" are cliches but they become cliches because they're so obviously *true*! All around me were tall mounds of verdant green, calming and tranquil to look at until I happened to point my gaze in the direction of the burnt tracts that were where this summer's forest fires had happened. Salmon Arm had been evacuated for a few days because of the fires. Nature's beauty contains its own vengeance.
I walked down the access road to an A&W for some food. I ordered a root beer and it arrived in a *mug*. A chilled mug. This was one of the coolest experiences so far this trip. But not the last!
(Incidentally, it's named for a bend in the river where there was good fishing. No mutated piscine punks.)
The Salmar Theatre is beautiful. It is an old theatre house where arthouse movies are normally shown, but it also has a nice, shell-shaped stage for performances.
I wandered Salmon Arm's downtown (which, sadly, is a bit more impressive than the downtowns of some *cities* I've been in) and had a blueberry-flavoured Italian soda at a java place across the street, and a bagel at the place next to it (with some bagel chips - a neat little snack!). While I munched my bagel, two girls walked by. One of them indicated the marquee of the Salmar: "Those guys are famous musicians! Do you remember King of Spain?" (We bat .500 at least....)
The Frubus arrived about four hours after I did, and I finally got to see inside the thing. I am amazed! They pack all six of their own selves *and* the equipment in that? I asked Mike the secret, and share it with you now: "Jenga."
Salmon Arm has a wharf upon a lake. I don't know the name of the lake; I just know that the wharf is astounding looking, and the caw of seagulls made me homesick.
Waiting outside the venue were *dozens* of people an hour before the show. I chatted with a fan named Adrian, who was wearing a Wood-era shirt he had purchased at the last Salmon Arm Fru-show. Down the line, two girls were harmonizing. A lot of families had come.
Dayna opened again that night. She is so cool. But then, you already know that and are currently racing to the stores to buy _Volume I_, her first disc, right?
The Fruvous portion of the show was strange, because the keyboard wasn't properly configured for Sahara. The crowd, already a little goofy and impatient, went a bit nuts when Cal came out to check it. :-) It hadn't been patched properly. Then the battery failed on it. Then the keyboard started acting up. By then, Cal was actually drawing bigger applause than the whole band had gotten during the introduction....
(Cute interlude: during this delay someone in the audience shouted out "Come out, we won't bite!" A girl behind me shouted back, "I will.")
We eventually got Sahara, and a comment from the band afterward that the whole thing was really Spinal Tap. "Then the inflatable dog failed to inflate...."
The boys decided they wanted a new introduction now that they were back in Kelowna (crowd goes wacky), so they called a little girl named Sarah up from the audience to do it. Sarah had a sudden shyness attack and nothing the boys could do, whether it was asking Mike to talk to her instead of Dave, or singing a song about her, could convince her to open her mouth. Eventually, they asked Murray to do the introduction lest they be there all night. "Ladies and gentlemen, Sarah's third favourite band, Moxy Fruvous."
After the introduction they cut into BJ and Horseshoes. Jian commented on the crowd's attractiveness. Of course, just having come from Alberta, that could have just been a relative comparison.... Boss followed, and then the story of the one man who can help you if your pie burns, or you get a paper cut, or a meteor is about to destroy all life on earth - Peter Mansbridge!
Nah. Wouldn't fit into the meter. Really Spidey, who introduced the new dance sensation - writhing on the floor - that would take the world by storm. After Sad Girl, the band discussed Peter and the way he foolishly threw away Wendy Mesley for Cynthia Dale. (Trust me, Americans, this is the A-list material.)
Pisco and Moon. A buzz erupts in Jian's vocal mic. Sentence fragments make reviews chaotic. Mike picks up on the buzz and declares it is the official soundtrack for writhing. This time, at least, more than seven people in the audience got to see it. :-)
Minnie, Car, and Kids followed. Jian commented on the response for the Quebec line - in nearly every other province, the crowd screams out "NO!" In Alberta, half of them were screaming out "YES!" but at least they were right on top of things. In B.C. ("not to stereotype about you people"), the crowd waits for about six seconds (Jian mimes taking the joint out of his mouth) and then says "Oh man, are they asking us a *question*?"....
I Will Hold On followed, and then Murray's rather nice, and somewhat poetic, introduction of Tureen, interrupted by Dave's coughing fit. "Don't you mean the present time in *Michigan*, Murray?" I was on the floor.
After Michigan Militia the topic of conversation turned to Burton Cummings and his famous objectivity. Well, not his famous objectivity. Let's just say there are rumors about his head.... the boys discussed a recent documentary on Burton where his ego was quite evident, and Jian related the story of being at a dinner held in Burton's honour because they had the same agent, where Mr. C would say things like "There's nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing the sun shining off twenty-three gold records." (Mime: Jian turns to his next-seat neighbour to share a laugh.... smile falls as he sees that this isn't a joke.... turns back with stunned face, clapping mechanically with everyone else.)
("But we don't want to turn this into a slag-Burton-Cummings show--" "Oh yes we do!" - Mike and Jian.)
They cut into American Woman at the drop of a hat, with the lyrics somewhat rewritten for the occasion, Mike on lead. The crowd was a-roar.
Finally, after all that, we got Tureen, Saucep'n, and Message. Kingreen and Potion closed out the set, and Authors was the first encore. The two girls who'd commented on the show earlier that day, and had been harmonizing outside, started jiving to the song. It was just the coolest moment of the night. But only to date, for then someone in the audience shouted out "Drinking Song!" and Jian smiled.
"Well, normally we do close with the Drinking Song, but seeing as we're in such a great theatre, we thought we'd do something different...."
Gulf War Song. Off mic.
*Gulf* *War* *Song*. Off mic.
My God, it was Gulf War Song.
And though other things happened that night, I think that's a perfect place to close.
More from B.C. soon.
-D., Vancouver, British Columbia, 11:22am 9/24/98
Some other tidbits from the performance include: