September 4, 2022

RGB Tour: Winnipeg

Living in the southeast U.S. comes with a certain "niceness" stereotype. You've probably heard the phrase "southern charm," and if you've ever been to a small town down here, you'll eventually realize that we smile and wave at anyone who drives past on a country road, regardless of whether or not we've ever seen you in our lives. Of course there are always exceptions, but I got a similar vibe from Winnipeg and wasn't surprised to learn that the slogan on their license plates is "Friendly Manitoba."

My interactions were minimal, but everyone was incredibly kind. This could partially be due to the fact that the venue doubled as a church that Sunday morning and most of my interactions with Canadians were people inviting me to the service, but inviting the sleep-deprived disheveled looking girls on the street to church rather than side-eyeing them is extending a bit more grace than some southerners do, so I'm still giving them credit. My favorite moment was a guy in buffalo plaid balancing two armloads of Tim Horton's who strolled right up to us and asked if we were waiting for the concert tonight, "eh?" and used "eh" roughly three more times. It was the most adorably Canadian thing I have ever seen in my life, and like I said, some stereotypes exist for a reason.

The line was surprisingly the hottest I waited in all tour, including North Carolina and Georgia in July, but that's because having shade makes a big difference. At one point before the show, Zac walked out and said "You could not be in more direct sunlight if you tried." Thank you, Joey Tribbiani. I responded maybe a bit too enthusiastically, "Yes, but there's a bench!" (What I probably should have said is "Too bad that shade you're throwing isn't actually helping with the sun.") I don't think he understood my bench excitement, but come on, how many times have you shown up to wait in a line and found built-in seating exactly where you need to be, and it will fit all of your friends? My answer was zero until Winnipeg. For what it's worth, instead of fangirling about seating, other Holly managed to counter his comment with a song request for "World Goes Around," but I'll let her tell you about that. 

Moments later, Andrew came out to set up the fan club banner, and we rigged it to act as just enough shade for the two of us sitting there. Thanks, hnet, for the unexpected SPF membership perk. 

We had a reporter and M&G in our car, and the other three of us were first in line, so everything worked out perfectly so that we all wound up in the front together. I loved that Hanson opened with "Waiting For This," I got irrationally excited about "Crazy Beautiful" like I always do, and it was a weird adjustment seeing Zac back on drums for "Don't Let Me Down" after two shows of frontman status. I guess it got progressively tamer each time I saw it on this trip. Isaac played "For Your Love" as his solo again, only this time he split the crowd participation into two parts down the middle of the crowd. He said "This is the first time I've ever done it this way," and I couldn't help but lean over and joke to my friend, "This is also the first time Isaac has ever said 'this is the first time' and it was true." Jokes aside, the crowd participation was strong and it was a great moment.

I'm really surprised to admit that the best song of the night, though, was "Wake Up." I'll be honest here. It's a fine song, but I don't really connect with the lyrics, so it's not my favorite from the album or even my favorite from the Blue section. So when I say Zac's performance of this song absolutely blew me away, I really mean that with no favorite song or rare or stage antics strings attached. It felt like he put every ounce of everything he had into that performance, and it sounded absolutely stunning. Towards the end I was angry that I hadn't started recording when I realized just how special it was, but I was too busy picking my jaw up off of the ground. As soon as he finished singing, someone screamed "Are you KIDDING ME?" and honestly? Same. How could I ever stay home again with them out there sounding like THAT in random cities?

After the show we waited to say goodbye, but Isaac was the only one who came out. I really don't blame them since they had just completed four shows in four days, and I'm thankful the show was as good as it was when they must have been completely exhausted. Also same, but at least all I have to do is show up.

I Don't Want To Go Home

My friends were all driving back down to Minneapolis the day after the show, but I paid a little extra to fly directly out of Winnipeg instead so I wouldn't have to take off an extra day from work. That backfired spectacularly. While waiting at my gate in Winnipeg, I got a notification that my flight was delayed two hours. My first layover was exactly two hours, so I was going to miss all of my connections. In the end, there was literally nothing that could get me home that same day, so I figured I might as well drive back down to Minneapolis with my friends and just fly out of MSP instead of being stuck alone in Canada overnight. This was incredibly hard for Delta to grasp and they kept trying to reroute me from Winnipeg to Vancouver to Minneapolis before I finally got them to understand that I was GOING TO MINNEAPOLIS IN A CAR and I didn't want a single flight from Canada, period. After five wasted hours in the airport, I had a new route home, my friends came back and rescued me, and I managed to see a bit more of Winnipeg than I originally planned. I also got to witness the laughably terrible rendition of MMMBop that Border Patrol asked us to sing to prove that we really had been in the country for Hanson.

When I finally landed home around 9pm the day after I intended to be back, I could not get to my car in the airport parking lot fast enough. As soon as I backed out of the space and headed towards the exit, I heard an unmistakable rhythmic "thunk thunk thunk" sound from somewhere in the back. Fantastic. I pulled into the closest space, inspected my tires, trunk, and under the car, and saw nothing wrong. I made it about a mile before I knew I couldn't continue driving with that sound and reluctantly pulled into a Walmart parking lot to inspect it again. This time, I discovered that the locking lug nut from my rear right tire had been stolen. I don't know enough about cars to know if the sound I was hearing could even possibly be due to that little missing piece (I only heard it when applying the brakes), but I knew in any case I shouldn't drive it sounding like that, so I called AAA around 9:30pm and was told it would be an hour wait.

During that hour, I dug in my glove compartment and found not only my wheel lock key, but four spare lug nuts. An hour and a half after my quoted hour, I watched a youtube video for how to properly secure a lug nut, dug out the tools in my spare tire compartment, and fixed the thing myself. A quick loop around the parking lot confirmed that that was not the source of the noise, and a second call to AAA provided me with "We're looking into finding someone to help you." At this point I called my mom and she suggested that she could drive the 45 minutes to me and then follow me to my dealership which happened to be just a few blocks away. We'd drop the car there, put my keys in their after-hours drop box, and she would just drive me home and I could call the dealership and explain in the morning.

At 12:30am after three hours of being ghosted by AAA, my mom finally made it and followed me to the dealership, which I turned into only to find a locked gate fully blocking the entrance and no way to leave a car. I burst into tears at this point, because literally what else could go wrong? Left with no other options, I slowly drove it 30 miles home and prayed the whole way, then stayed up to rent a car online because I had to be at work the next morning and my mom had to go out of town in six hours. On five hours of sleep about five minutes away from being dropped off at Enterprise the next morning, I got a call saying that they're sorry but they're completely out of cars. Not the type I asked for, just cars, period. My options are a minivan or a truck, because of course they are. I opted for the minivan and 100% expected to find it stolen after work at this point.

The end of the story is I finally got my car looked at and was told that they never heard any noise, and they took all the tires off and put them back on and didn't find anything wrong. They suggested that perhaps the sound I heard was a water bottle that was trapped in my spare tire compartment. I made sure to let them know that the water bottle got trapped in there AFTER the noise started when I went digging for tools, and thanks for mansplaining, but I did not rent a car for two days and panic that my brakes could go out because I had a freaking water bottle in my trunk. As soon as I took it on the highway I DID hear the noise again, but it went away and I haven't heard it since. At this point, I'm not even going to ask questions; I'm just happy to be home.

This definitely tops my list of worst travel experiences ever, but I am so grateful it happened going home instead of trying to get to the shows, and I'd endure it again if I could go back and record "Wake Up" from the beginning. I'd also do it again for "Rambling Heart" with a side of pierogis.

I'm always hoping that the sand meets the sky, but inevitably sometimes the s*** meets the fan, too. Fortunately, as I heard in Winnipeg, "the world goes around." ❤