Monday, September 17, 2012

A Canadian Adventure

Hello everyone! I'm so sorry that I'm a bit behind in my posts, but I can't skip over the INCREDIBLE time I had last weekend!

I am a HUGE Jason Mraz fan, and my best friend Sheila has always loved him too. Her cousin, Mike, is his drummer for his current "Tour is a Four Letter Word" tour. Over the summer, the two of us had checked to see if we could get tickets at a location near us, and when we found out that they'd be playing in Montreal while we were at school, we began planning a trip!

I was so stoked to be going to see one of my favorite artists with one of my favorite people in a brand new place! I have been to Canada before, but only when I was very young. Montreal was going to be the experience of a lifetime!

So last Saturday, Sheila and I hopped on a Greyhound bus. It was only about 45 minutes to the border, where we got off the bus and went through customs. It was a rather quick process, and very painless. We weren't staying overnight, so we had packed light with only our purses and jackets. We had our passports ready; they were checked and then the officer just asked us a few questions, like why we were crossing the border and how long we'd be staying. After that we went into a smaller room where we waited for the other passengers to finish up and we all got back on the bus. Then it was just over an hour to get to Montreal!

Once we got off the bus, it took a few minutes to get ourselves accustomed to a different country. We went to an ATM and withdrew some money. We found later that most establishments in Montreal accept American money anyway, but it was still pretty convenient to have Canadian money on us. After that, we looked up where we had to be on the maps that Sheila had printed out on Google that morning. We decided that taking the metro would be smartest, since it otherwise would have been a 40-minute walk with somewhat confusing directions. We were a bit nervous about using the subway system, since it's so easy to get mixed up, but our Google map gave us exact metro instructions so we were fairly confident. We followed the hallway from the bus terminal to the metro terminal, bought some passes, and found the right track. The metro in Montreal is very clean and even more efficient--we went through 3 stops in under 5 minutes! It was so fast that it almost felt like we weren't moving.

Sheila took this "tourist-y" picture of me before getting on the metro.

Anyway, we got off at our stop and went up to street level. This is where things got a bit complicated. We had to get to the Centre Bell, which was the venue that Jason Mraz was playing at and where we were going to meet Mike before the show. However, there were many different versions of the directions that we had, and several addresses. We had no clue which one could be right. We headed off in the direction of the one that we thought could be it, but about ten minutes later when we came upon the location, we saw that it was definitely the wrong Bell--it was some sort of company store. We had to retrace our steps and start again, but soon enough we finally found it!

It was a HUGE stadium!

After arriving, we claimed our tickets. We still had some time before meeting up with Mike, so we walked down the street to a restaurant. After all of that traveling, we were starving! We ate quickly and got back to Centre Bell.

The second problem was that unfortunately, Sheila's phone wasn't receiving service. Mike was expecting a message from Sheila to know when we were there, and she was so excited to see her cousin but had no way of communicating with him. We told a security guard our problem, and he directed us around the other side of the building to the security office. As we were explaining what we needed to the guard there, someone from sound check was signing in. He told us that he would find Mike for us and let him know we were there, but sound check was running a bit late, so he wouldn't be able to come out right away. We sat at the security office for a little while, and finally we saw Mike coming out to greet us. Sheila was so happy to see him! He was such a nice guy, and I was glad to have the pleasure of meeting him. Then, to our astonishment, he brought us backstage!

Sheila's cousin, Mike, and I on his tour bus.

IT WAS SO COOL!!!! Can you tell that I was amazed? Mike brought us out onto the stage and let us sit at his drumset. We looked out at all of the seats and imagined them being full during the concert. It was so surreal to see the view that the band members get from the stage. I felt so small!

Christina Perri was opening for Jason Mraz, and Mike brought us to meet her drummer, Elmo. He was really cool! He told us that he likes to call his mom after a show--we thought that was so sweet! We also got to meet the other band members, including Jason's horn players, and also Mona, a percussionist. She was really nice, and she ROCKED during the concert!

Speaking of rocking during the concert, I haven't even begun to tell you about the best part. Our seats were so close to the stage--only 6 rows back! We had an amazing view. Christina Perri was phenomenal, and she seemed so amazed at the packed venue. It was easy to tell how grateful she was for this experience. Then, after Jason Mraz & co. came onstage, I don't think Sheila and I sat down once! We were singing and dancing along to all of the songs. It was such an energetic show!

Sheila and I in our matching Mraz tee-shirts.

Mraz and Company playing one of their finale songs. Mike is on the right side of the photo, playing behind Jason.

The whole trip was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. Sheila and I were proud that we were able to navigate through an unfamiliar city--although I'll admit that I couldn't have done it without her! We had such an amazing time at the concert, and it's definitely something I will never forget. Montreal was such a beautiful city, too, but unfortunately we didn't get to see too much of it since we left that night! We decided that we definitely want to go back for a weekend sometime!

Show Mike some love by "liking" his Facebook! :

Here is a video from the concert (I found this on Youtube, it wasn't taken by me or Sheila). Enjoy!

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