It was the summer of ‘83 and I was working in Banff, AB at The Banff Springs Hotel.
Living in Banff is so much fun but we’ll save those stories for another day.
One of the perks of working for a hotel was the discount at other hotels in the same chain. I think at the time the Banff Springs was a CNR Hotel later bought by CPR who later bought the Fairmont chain.
Anyway a group of us decided to go on a road trip to Edmonton to see David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight Tour. Rooms at The Hotel MacDonald were booked with a late arrival, or so we thought and we piled into the rented van and took off. Honestly I don’t remember much of the trip there, I wasn’t driving so the party was on. We rocked that van all the way to Edmonton.
We arrived at the hotel hours past check in time but we had stated a late arrival so we thought we were good but oh no, front desk says no mention of late arrival was stated so our rooms were given away. So picture a van full of wasted people going WTF you gave our rooms away we just drove all this way you have to have a room. We made a point of saying we would be late your mistake not ours. I piped up “we’ll just sleep in the lobby until you find a room we don’t care”. We were pretty defiant actually. And you can imagine that the hotel is rockin’ as everyone there is there for the same thing, the concert the next day.
Well the hotel can’t have drunk kids sleeping in the lobby so they gave us a banquet room to sleep/hang out in until they found us a room. They did supply us with linens which was kind. I grabbed a sheet and lay down on a banquet table for a quick cat nap.
I was awoken from my nap, it was time to move to a room. Oh my lord what a room it was! It was a huge suite with grand bay windows overlooking the river. The only deal was we had to be out at check out time and then they would have a room for us to check in to for the next night after the concert. Since we didn’t have to be out of the room until 11 we partied until the sun came up then went to sleep for a few hours until we had to get ready to go to the concert. Remember I said this was a suite, we found one of the girls stretched out, sleeping in the closet in the bedroom as we were gathering everyone together to head out.
The concert was to start at 3pm and as it was a general admission open air concert at Commonwealth Stadium having to leave the room pushed us to get to the concert grounds early and because we did we were in ‘row 5’. Back in the day general admission was such a great thing, especially at an outdoor venue. You could lay out a blanket, claim your space and hang out until the concert started and nobody jostled for your space or to get to the front. Even when the concert was on and you had to stand as more people flooded the infield we remained in the same spot and this concert is in my Top 5 best concerts ever. There were 60,000 people at this concert it was if I recall 30degrees plus that day and it was the best possible day.
The line up was The Tubes, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. The reaction to The Tubes was fun to watch as I don’t think anything quite like them had ever been seen in oil and cowboy country.Peter Gabriel was next and as much of a fan of Bowie as I was at the time Peter Gabriel rocked my world that day with his performance and I became an instant fan! Shocked the monkey right off my back awesome show.
David Bowie was amazing of course, he played for 2 hours and took us all on a rock n roll odyssey. And there we were in the front in the thick of it all at the largest capacity concert every held at Commonwealth Stadium.
We made our way back to the hotel after the show and the place was off the hook. There was an open door party going on on every floor, people wandering the hallways, bouncing off the walls. I always welcome a wall when I have had to much to drink otherwise I’ll fall over. I have a hard enough time when I am sober to walk straight let alone drunk.
I wouldn’t have wanted to be a guest in the hotel having to deal with the rowdiness. It was so much fun though but extremely hard to get up the next day to drive back to Banff. The ride home was somewhat more subdued then the ride there. If I was true to form I slept the whole way home and there my fable ends as I can’t remember anymore.
Until next time
Series: ‘A Rock and Roll Fable’
Series title in honor of my favourite movie Streets of Fire.