STEVE MARTIN – MY BANJO HERO

October 21, 2009: Barry Cauchon

banjo-9580

Hi all: I have a fondness for Civil War history and the melodic sounds of the banjo. To me, the sound of the banjo and images from the Civil War go hand-in-hand. I’ve always associated the two together. Years ago, my appreciation for the banjo came from an unlikely source …  comedian Steve Martin. He was my first influence to this great instrument.

So last week (October 15), when Steve Martin brought his banjo playing tour to Toronto I had to be there. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is the second Steve Martin concert I’ve been to in 31 years.

The first was at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in August, 1978. Steve was supporting his hugely successful comedy album “Wild and Crazy Guy” and was performing at arena-size venues. I was a big fan of both Steve’s comedy and banjo playing and so I bought a ticket in the nosebleed section. That night Steve came out in an all pink suit and proceeded to entertain about 18,000 of us. Three things from that show stand out in my memory.

The first was when Steve announced that he would perform a magic trick called “The Amazing Disappearing Dime Trick” in which he held up the dime for all of us to see and then made it disappear. Performing a ‘close up’ magic trick to an arena-size audience was nuts, and a true Martin-style comedic moment (if you don’t get the joke, well you just had to be there…sorry). I loved it.

The second thing I remember was when he performed his hit single “King Tut” at the end of the show (an Egyptian icon that I would personally become involved with two decades later when I became the Sr. Project Manager for the 2005 King Tut tour).

Finally, I remember his banjo playing. This was not a big part of his comedy act that night but nonetheless I was really impressed by his playing and decided that I had to have one for myself. I bought my first banjo a short time later. And although I didn’t keep it for long, eventually selling it at a garage sale, the seed was planted for my future.

Banjo-Cat

Now, roll ahead twenty-two years to the year 2000 and I get the urge to play banjo again. I’m older, wiser and now more dedicated. I’m also experiencing a lot of stress in my life at this time. I buy another banjo along with lots of ‘HOW TO’ books and videos and proceed to teach myself in earnest how to play this thing. I even take a few banjo lessons. Within a month, I upgrade that banjo, exchanging it for one that is “really nice”. My stress levels plummet and I realize that the banjo is also an incredible relaxation instrument.

And then things change. The one thing that any musician will tell you about learning to play a musical instrument is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. And I did. But one has to remember that when practicing in a shared household (with my family) you have to be cognizant that what you are hearing in your head is not necessarily what your family is hearing. So I was nicely, but firmly asked to “go practice somewhere else”. Crushed, I felt like a leper being sent away to a reclusive colony. I had to find a place where no one else would hear my ‘plunking’. And I did. I moved myself down into the basement (cold, dingy and dreary) and started practicing there. I soon found that I was I starting to find my rhythm, my pace and the feel of the instrument. And I began to develop some speed in my playing (which is pretty critical for the banjo). I was happy.

But being in the basement (remember – that cold, dingy and dreary place) took its toll and I soon found that my banjo was spending a lot more time in its case than in my hands. Eventually it remained there and has been so for the last three years. I was unhappy.

STEVE MARTIN GIVES ME ‘BANJO REBIRTH’

Steve Martin's new album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo

Steve Martin's new CD called "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo"

Now let’s jump ahead to 2009 and I hear that Steve Martin has released a CD of banjo songs that he wrote himself. I’m intrigued and buy it. The CD is called “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo”. It has sixteen songs of which Steve composed fifteen. I am pleasantly surprised when I listen to it for the first time. Like most fans of this man’s work, I expected a good deal of these to be novelty songs. However, only one song can be considered a Steve Martin novelty song, and personally, that one is great called ‘Late for School’. But the other songs are genuinely wonderful banjo compositions, featuring not only Steve Martin but other exceptional musicians and singers. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire CD.

When I heard that Steve was going to do a limited live concert tour to support the CD and that Toronto was to be one of the stops, I jumped at the chance to see him. This time I was not in the nosebleed section but just a few rows from the front … center stage.

To open the show, comedic writer Dave Barry came out and introduced Steve and did a 15 minute ‘one on one’ interview with him. Odd, but this was a Steve Martin concert after all. I did hear Steve mention that it was ‘fill’ (which could be true as his back up band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, was running late) but I know they do this ‘on stage’ interview at all his concerts. Whatever the case, we got to sit and listen to Dave and Steve chat for a bit and then Steve played a song from his CD . For those folks in attendance that night who were expecting Steve to do a stand up comedy act, I think he won them over when he showed them just how good of a banjo player and composer he really is. Steve is so good in fact that in the past he has shared the stage with banjo greats like Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka to name a few. His banjo compositions are solid and entertaining and I personally went to see him play these songs. What was fun for me, and the audience, was that Steve is still Steve and he injected humor regularly throughout the night resulting in a ‘variety show’ rather than just a straight forward musical show.

Steve’s last encore of the night surprised me. He did a bluegrass version of ‘King Tut’ (which sounded quite similar to the original). For me, I didn’t feel he needed to add that to the repertoire. His banjo songs clearly held their own and if I had any complaint about the show at all was that he didn’t play one of my favorites from his CD called Pretty Flowers. But show business is show business and I guess you have to give the people what they want so King Tut was in and Pretty Flowers was out. I tip my hat to you, sir. Your work is solid.

As an aside, King Tut is in my life again. The second exhibit from the King Tut touring franchise is scheduled to come to Toronto from November 24 to April 18, 2010 and I’m giving talks to students at local schools to help prime them for the exhibit. I call the presentation The King Tutorial. Steve sings King Tut again and I’m giving Tut talks. WEIRD.

So Steve and I again cross paths. It’s all very strange to me. Is it meant to be? Is it fate? I may never know but I still wonder about these kind of things…LOL.

Stewie from "The Family Guy"

Stewie from "The Family Guy"

I think it is safe to say that my ‘Banjo Rebirth’ took place due to Steve’s (not Stewie’s) new CD and concert. My interest is once again peaked to play the banjo. So tonight I will take my banjo out of its case for the first time in over three years and I plan to get really ‘comfy’ with it. And as I do, I will think of Steve Martin and the influences that this man has had on my life over the years. He has influenced my sense of humor. He has influenced my interest in the banjo and strangely, he may have even influenced my involvement with King Tut. For all this, I want to say “Thank you Steve. You’ve brought joy to my life not only in the form of music and humor but also with your personal thoughts on the rights of Australian bushmen to be allowed to smoke in their own huts without reprisals”. Fascinating stuff for sure.

If there is anything I can request from Steve Martin, should we ever meet, it will be to grant me one wish from my own personal bucket list.

BUCKET LIST ITEM #4: Get a FREE banjo lesson from Steve Martin.

Please Steve. Grant me this one wish…please…for FREE!     

Life is good my friends. Have fun and find your joy.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

KING TUT TOURS ON THE MOVE AGAIN

June 17, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: In 2004-2005, I was the Sr. Project Manager for the current King Tut exhibit (which I affectionately call Tut 1). And although I am no longer working on that project, I do keep up with the folks involved and see how things are going from time to time. So I thought I’d give you an update on what is happening. The two King Tut tours are on the move once again.

Tut 1 called Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs will open on June 27, 2009 in San Francisco at the de Young Museum. The exhibit  is currently scheduled to run until March 28, 2010.  The city is abuzz with excitement about having the exhibit back in town. The de Young Museum was one of seven museums in the United States that hosted the original King Tut exhibit back in the 1970s. 

king-tut-bust

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs first opened in Basel, Switzerland in 2004, followed by a run in Bonn, Germany. The tour was then taken over by a group from the United States (Arts and Exhibitions International, AEG Live and the National Geographic Society) and opened its first show n Los Angeles in June, 2005. The following cities have hosted the exhibit:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • London, England
  • Dallas, TX
  • and now is headed to San Francisco

Tut 2 called Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohswill open on June 27, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Childrens’ Museum of Indianapolis. It is currently scheduled to run until October 25, 2009. From there, the tour will continue to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and run from November 24, 2009 to April 18, 2010.

JE-60689_250

This tour began in Vienna, Austria at the Volkerkunde Museum Vienna and was on display from March 9, 2008 to September 28, 2008. It was exhibited under the name Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs. After that, the show traveled to the United States and now is named Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs. The exhibit has, or will visit the following cities:

  • Vienna, Austria (ended)
  • Atlanta, GA (ended)
  • Indianapolis, IN (opening June 27, 2009)
  • Toronto, ON, Canada (opening November 24, 2009).

Both Tut 1 and Tut 2 each have over 130 objects from a variety of Egyptian sites including 50 of which come from Tutankhamun’s tomb.

What these exhibits ARE NOT displaying

Two of the biggest misconceptions about these two exhibits are that the following artifacts are included and on display:

  • King Tut’s mummy
  • Golden Mask

This is absolutely not the case. Regrettably, neither of these artifacts are included in the current tours. In fact, Tutankhamun’s mummy has never even left its tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt since its discovery in 1922. And although thousands of people visit the tomb annually, the mummy was never on public display there until November of 2007. It was then that King Tut’s mummy was put in a special climate-controlled display case inside the tomb where visitors are now able to view it.

Picture 475

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) stands over the mummy of Tutankhamun now on display in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt.

The Golden Mask is also not on tour with these two exhibits. It remains on display at The Egyptian Museum in Cairo. However the mask was part of the original exhibit Treasures of Tutankhamun that toured in the 1970s. Many people remember that blockbuster exhibit because of the Golden Mask and they assumed that it would tour again with these new shows. Unfortunately the Egyptian government stated that it would never again allow the mask to leave Egypt as it is considered a national treasure and must remain safely in Egypt.

The icon often used in the current advertisements for these new exhibits confused many people because it looks like the Golden Mask but in fact is a “golden canopic coffinette”. The coffinettes (4 in total) were used to hold one of Tutankhamun’s internal organs after the embalming process was completed. They are amazing in detail to see in person. They have similar features to the Golden Mask but are tiny in comparison. The head and shoulders of the Golden Mask is 54cm high (21-1/4″)  while the height of an entire canopic coffinette only measures 39cm high (15-3/8″). Each exhibit has one of these coffinettes on display.

Golden Mask

King Tut's Golden Mask is not on tour and remains in The Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Canopic coffinette. Each touring exhibit features one of these wonderfully intricate artifacts which are only 15-3/8" tall.

Canopic coffinette. Each touring exhibit features one of these wonderfully intricate artifacts which are only 15-3/8" tall.

To buy tickets to the exhibits, go to www.kingtut.org.

Best
Barry

BUSH-CLINTON “A CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENTS” EVENT IN TORONTO

May 30, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Courtesy of Reuters

May 29, 2009 - President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton in Toronto during the moderated section of "A Conversation with Presidents" event. Courtesy of Reuters

Yesterday the city of Toronto, Canada was host to a unique and first time event. President George W. Bush (43rd) and President William Jefferson Clinton (42nd) met publicly for the first time since President Bush left office in January, 2009. They were in Toronto to have a ‘moderated conversation’ in front of an estimated audience of about 5500 people. 

I am a senior volunteer for the Power Within (co-producer of the event) and a real fan of sharing what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, I’ll fill you in on how the day went and a little bit about how events like this come together. For the record, I have been volunteering for the Power Within since 2007 and have enjoyed working  their events and interacting with the audiences they attract. 

As a brief introduction to the public speaking event industry, the producer of the event is responsible for pulling the show together. They may come up with the concept themselves or coordinate it on behalf of other parties. Don’t be fooled. This is not a simple task. This is show business. And what it takes to ‘put on the show’ is a massive coordinated effort. Hopefully in the end, the audience sees a seamless and enjoyable presentation. In the case of yesterday’s program, two ex-Presidents of the United States shared the same stage together and talked for about two hours on 21st century world issues. On the surface, that is what the audience came to see. What went on behind the scenes prior to the event is what this article is about. 

For any event, once the program is defined and the talent (in this case the Presidents) contractually confirmed, then the show itself has to be pulled together. A venue is selected, the solicitation of sponsors begins, PR & marketing kick into gear and the early stages of logistics ramp up. Once the basics are in place (the who, what, where and when), ticket sales are started. I’m making it all sound simpler than it is. In reality it is a highly coordinated effort with many disciplines interacting with each other. As many of you know, I was the Sr. Project Manager for the King Tut exhibit that started touring the United States in June of 2005.  The process for that, and most other well-coordinated shows, is almost identical to this. You will notice that when I mentioned the ‘who, what, where and when’, I left out the ‘how’. Well, that’s what ‘logistics’ is all about.

Logistics involves thousands of details being planned and executed. To name just a few of the basics, you need to deal with transportation, lighting, audio-visual requirements, staging, staffing, venue coordination, food and beverage, washrooms, tickets, seating, VIP considerations, speakers and their staffs’ needs,  sponsors and their needs, medical and EMS requirements, fire and safety, and of course security.

With regards to security, you can imagine that to protect not one, but two Presidents of the United States in one location is a logistical nightmare. President Clinton and President Bush each have their own Secret Service details. Then there is the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police who protect all government officials and visiting dignateries to Canada), local police and venue security staff. All parties work hand-in-hand to protect the Presidents and make the event secure for the people attending. 

Please let me state that in no way am I personally involved with any of the arrangements mentioned above for the Power Within or any of the security forces mentioned. As a volunteer I have my own ‘job to do’. I just wanted to make you aware of what goes on in setting up such an event like this.

Now let’s get to yesterday’s event.

The event had about 5500 paid attendees ranging from about C$200 to C$2500 per ticket. Now before your jaw drops about the higher priced ticket, this was for people who desired to attend a private luncheon and photo session with the Presidents before the event. 

The location of the event was the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The doors opened to the public at around1:00 pm with the event scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm. A volunteer orientation meeting was held the night before where 70+ recruited volunteers attended. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the logistics of the event and visit the room where the event will take place. They volunteers learn what their job will be the next day (doing everything from working as a ‘greeter’ in the lobby to assisting at the photo op with the Presidents and their special guests. I’ve worked all these positions at one time or another and frankly love them all. Yesterday, my job was to coordinate with two other Senior Veterans and manage about 40 volunteers assigned as “IN ROOM USHERS”. IN ROOM is the term we use for the actual room where the event takes place. Our job was to get all 5500 people seated and ready for the show and deal with any problems that may arise. Seating 5500 people is no easy task. Events of this type attract dignitaries, celebrities, CEOs, Presidents, sponsors and groups, the general public and people from all over the world. There are different ticket prices and you need to be sensitive to everyone’s needs and requirements. In the end, you have to have everyone seated and ready to go when the event begins. Yesterday went fairly well. Typical problems usually involved people sneaking into sections they were not supposed to be, people saving seats for others, impatient attendees wondering when the event would start, etc, etc, etc. No big deal. In general, this audience was really great and once everyone was seated and the lights turned down, the show began and everyone forgot any issues they may have had earlier in the day.

The event:  I won’t get into all the nitty gritty of the actual content of the event as news stories have been run in all the major publications, news services, MSNBC, CNN, television and radio news, and has been fodder for Jay Leno and David Letterman.  But here are my impressions.

The stage was set up with one podium on the left side of the stage. To the right of this were three big comfy green leather chairs with tables between each holding water bottles and hand microphones.

After being introduced, President Clinton was first to come out and spoke briefly in his usual easy going, confident and charming way. I have seen the President speak five times now and his natural charisma just captures and holds an audience’s attention. He joked and spoke about what he is currently doing as an ‘ex-President’. He humorously bemoaned the fact that of all the things he has missed since leaving office was that during personal appearances they no longer play ‘the song’ (Hail to the Chief). He really misses that. The crowd ate it up. After his short 10 – 15 minutes talk, he took a seat in one of the chairs on stage.

Next President Bush was introduced. Where President Clinton has been a consistent visitor to Toronto and a good friend to Canada, people were apprehensive about how the audience would respond the Mr. Bush in his first public appearance in Toronto. As expected, protesters were camped outside of the venue with signs and chants showing their disapproval of President Bush’s policies and involvement in the war. Also, there was the perception that the President might struggle with his public speaking. Well, all those fears were dispelled very quickly as he stepped onto the stage looking relaxed, stress-free and confident, and then launched into a series of ‘one liners’ that had the crowd laughing and quickly on his side. His jokes were often self-deprecating and genuinely funny. He mentioned that like most A-type people he needs to stay active. Now that he is out of office he is writing a book, which was a surprise to many, because they figured he has never even read one! This also got a great laugh from the crowd. Whether well-coached or genuinely looking and feeling relaxed, President Bush came off as enjoying himself and thoroughly having fun with this event. I felt that the audience really enjoyed it too.

The next phase of the event was where Frank McKenna, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States in 2005, moderated a series of questions as they all sat in those big green comfy leather chairs. Early on, both Presidents joked that the audience had come to see the event in hopes of witnessing fireworks between the two of them. For the most part, although the questions were moderate in nature, very few differences of opinion came from either gentleman. In fact, both President Clinton and President Bush backed each other when a policy issue or international event was discussed. 

When President Clinton took personal responsibility for not reacting fast enough to the genocide in Rwanda (800,000 were killed in 9 days), saying that in hindsight he should have sent troops into Rwanda to stop the carnage and perhaps save 300,000 to 400,000 lives. He was defended strongly by President Bush saying that it’s not easy being President. You just can’t send 20,000 troops into action. There is a process that is required. Approval from various levels of  the US government, other governments and the UN. Then there are the sheer logistics of mobilizing 20,000 troops and their equipment and weapons, transportation, food, etc. It just can’t happen in a short period of time.

All in all, I believe the audience had an enjoyable and entertaining time hearing these two former world leaders speak. Regardless of everyone’s politics, the presence of these two men had everyone hanging on their every word. 

From a personal point of view, I really enjoyed this event. But what I liked best of all was the fact that several audience members I met had brought their teenage kids with them to see these two world leaders. So few proud Americans, let alone their kids, will ever get the chance to see a President speak live. As a kid, I was lucky enough to see a speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the late ’60s that my father took me to. I was with the Cub Scouts at the time and I’ll always remember how amazing it was to see the President of the United States speak in person. I carry that same feeling to this day. And I’m glad that these parents were able to find a way to bring their kids to this event. I truly think it will stay with them for the rest of their lives as it did with me.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

PRESIDENTS BILL CLINTON AND GEORGE W. BUSH TO MEET MAY 29, 2009 IN TORONTO, CANADA

May 26, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Bill Clinton   George W. Bush

On Friday, May 29, 2009, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush will meet face-to-face for the first time since President Barack Obama’s Inauguration on January 20, 2009. The event will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto, Canada in front of an estimated crowd of 6000 people. The two Presidents will discuss the challenges facing the world in the 21st century .

In the last two years, I have volunteered for events like these…and so I will be there again. Previously I’ve worked at four speaking events with President Clinton and actually met him at the last one. It was an exciting and proud moment for me. Although I do not expect to meet either gentleman at this event, I am thrilled to be a part of it once again and help out the folks who produce these shows.

To be clear, it is not my intention to report on the content of the meeting (that would be inappropriate as I am not there as a reporter) but I will comment on how the day went and if there were any highlights.

I like seeing our Presidents. Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, loved or hated or even if they were considered as good or bad politicians, these men held the top position in the country. They were the Presidents of the United States and history was made by them. And you know I’m fascinated with history.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

HURRICANE IKE RUINS A PERFECTLY GOOD WEEKEND

September 13, 2008. Barry Cauchon

Well, here I am, writing this report to tell you that I never did make it down to Springfield, Illinois for the “Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois-Bloggers Meet Up” event (see posting from Sept 12, 2008 entitled “Blaze Your Own Trail in Springfield, Illinois”). Despite my best efforts, Hurricane IKE was an unexpected factor in my travel itinerary, and I never even got off the ground.

The organizers of this event had gone way out of their way to make me feel special. They had set me up for two nights free accommodation at the State House Inn in Springfield. As well, a reporter from the local newspaper, The State Journal Register (http://www.sj-r.com/) (Illinois’ oldest newspaper), was writing a story about the event and asked to interview me (why, I’m not sure but it would have been nice to find out). All I had to do was show up…and that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the plan fell apart.

My strategy was to drive from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Buffalo, New York and then fly from there to Chicago. I had a rental car set up at that end which I would use to drive the additional 3-1/2 hours south to Springfield. This would all have been done yesterday so I could be fresh to spend the day at the event on Saturday.

“Oh my, how these things can go astray”! LOL.

To start with, my drive from Toronto to Buffalo, which is normally about 1-1/4 hours took almost 2 hours due to the weather (rain, rain, rain), road construction, rush hour and Friday evening traffic. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I also followed the ‘wrong’ airport signs that are posted just beyond the Canadian border. I was headed for the Buffalo Niagara Falls International Airport. However, these signs (symbols only) directed me to the Niagara Falls International Airport. Sorry folks from Niagara, but I can’t figure out why your tiny commuter airport is called an International one? It was not only very small, but the doors were locked and no one was there (except for cars in the parking lot). What’s all that about?

So it was now 5:00pm, with no map in hand, and being lost somewhere on the backroads of Tonawanda in Erie County. My flight was scheduled for 7:07pm. So much for checking in two hours prior to my flight!

I placed a call to a good friend that I knew was still at work. She looked up my location and the real Buffalo Niagara Falls International Airport. It turned out that I was only about 15 miles away. I still had to fight standstill traffic and rainy conditions for the next hour but eventually I arrived at the airport just after 6:00pm (1 hour before my flight). At check in, I was invited up to the counter by some very tired looking United Airline reps. It seems that air traffic all across North America had been affected by IKE and their airport was no different. They had been run off their feet since 11:00 that morning. Then they gave me the news that my 7:07pm flight was delayed until at least 8:45pm. So, all my rushing and panicking to get there on time meant …. SQUAT!

I passed through security easily with no waiting (go figure!) and then proceeded to wait it out. The flight was listed as delayed (and that never changed). By 10:00pm, I checked on it one more time and was told that the flight would not be happening tonight. Hurricane IKE had personally cancelled my flight. Bastard!

The airline did offer to fly me out first thing in the morning. However, if I took that one I would never make it to the event in time and would have ended up missing at least half of it. At this point, I pulled the plug on the trip, tipped my hat and bowed in defeat to the Mighty IKE! He had won the battle for now. However, it was comforting to know that in just one-weeks time, Hurricane IKE would be but a sprinkle of its former self and end up dying a slow death somewhere out over the North Atlantic. So with patience, let’s see who gets the last laugh! Ha ha….ha ha haaaaaaa! Bastard!

I’d like to mention one nice act of kindness that happened for me this morning. I had informed everyone that I would not be attending and I received an email back from Mr. Thomas F. Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian who was scheduled to give the opening remarks today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I had particularly wanted to meet this man and enjoy a good chat. He told me that his wife’s travel plans had also been affected by the storm. She was stuck at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport most of last night and didn’t get home to Springfield until after 2:00am. Thank you Tom for the note. It was very much appreciated and made me feel a little less isolated by the circumstances.

To sum up, I am sorry that I missed this event. Everyone that was involved made to feel very welcomed and I would have loved to have met the organizers, fellow bloggers and of course, Thomas Schwartz.

Despite my disappointment, my story is of little consequence compared to those who have actually been affected by the storm itself. Thousands of people have had their lives turned upside down by IKE, and other storms like this. My problems are miniscule compared to theirs. So don’t forget them! Many of these people need our help so do what you can. Mostly, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They need to be our priority right now.

Stay safe!

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

—————————————————————–

  

If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

—————————————————————–

ROCK BAND ‘HEART’ PREDICTS THE WEATHER IN TORONTO (sort of)

September 8, 2008 – Barry Cauchon

I know, I know! Talking about a Heart concert on a history blog may be considered ‘uncool’ but hey, such is life, it was a good concert and in the end, it’s my blog. So there….Hah! LOL. Just havin’ some fun with you all.

On Friday, September 5, 2008, I attended the Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey concert at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The weather prediction for the night was rain. But by the time the show began at 7:00pm, with Cheap Trick leading off, the skies were looking better and the first set went off without a hitch.

The second act featured Ann and Nancy Wilson’s band HEART. This was the band I really wanted to see and I was pumped up about it. I had already seen Cheap Trick before and would have loved to see them again, but traffic was brutal and we missed their entire show. Journey was good but I wasn’t as familiar with all their music. Still they were fun to watch.

Without getting into an in-depth concert review about Heart, I will say that they were terrific from start to finish. These ladies and their band mates can belt out the tunes!

It was about half way through the show when an amazing thing happened for me (and about 15,999 other fans in attendance). Heart launched into a cover of “Love, Reign o’er Me” from The Who’s 1973 Quadrophenia album. Sometimes the song is referred to by fans as “Love Rain on Me”, “Rain On Me” and “Rain”.

As Ann Wilson started singing the words (and she did a great job!) to this ‘plus’ six minute song, the skies opened up and it began to rain on the crowd. It rained on us, no kidding, for the entire song and then stopped for the rest of the night. One song, one rain shower. Rain on me! Rain on!

So whether it was “Love Reigning O’er Me” or “September Showers Raining On Me” I can’t be sure. But for those few minutes, something magical did happen, and in my opinion Heart became a far better weather forecaster than 99% of the meteorologist out there today.

Yes, I know it’s a stretch equating REIGN with RAIN but at that moment in time it was pretty cool. I guess you just had to be there……AND … oh, didn’t I say … I WAS! Ha ha! Yippee skippee!

The night was filled with great entertainment and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m 50 and grew up with these bands. Like many parents there, I took my daughter (age 16) to the concert and she loved the show. Age makes little difference when the music is good.

The concert is now history (hence why I can include it on my ‘history’ blog without feeling guilty).  And now, all I have left are my memories and soggy running shoes to remember it by.

Strange by true!  ♥♥♥

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

PS. Here is a clip on YouTube that was posted from the concert. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmbfV6J3Qvk

END