Takin’ Rock n’ Roll Train to get Thunderstruck in Montreal

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Well hello there inter-nauts! This is just another short little post to assure you all once again that there is more to ActiveSteve than just training and racing 🙂 Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Montreal with some friends to catch AC/DC in concert at the Olympic Stadium. That’s right, as with most things ActiveSteve, it’s go big or go home. Why go to a little show here when I can catch the venerable rock legends from the land down under? I’ve never been a super-big fan or anything, but I knew that these guys would put on a kick-ass show. After all, any group that can last over 30 years and still be rocking hard well into their 50’s is worth seeing, right? Of course, as with all my blog posts, I invite you all to check out the pictures and videos that I took over the course of the weekend. Once you’ve had your fill, come on back and read the rest of my post.

So, basically, the ticket that I used was never supposed to be for me in the first place. I actually was pretty apprehensive about spending over $100 to see a band that I wasn’t dying to see in the first place. So, I had turned down the initial offer when Rob and Matt mentioned it. They bought a bunch of tickets, and as the date got closer, someone canceled, and I decided that I’d snap it up to make a fun weekend of it. The other part of the weekend was how we would get down there. I’m the one that came up with the brilliant idea that we should take a train to Montreal. VIA (after their brief strike) had a sale with all tickets at 60% off, so it ended up only costing us each about $40 per round trip. I figured it would be far easier if no one had to drive, or deal with parking, etc. Also, we’d be able to party on the way up, and all sleep off the hangovers on the way home 🙂

The Saturday of the show rolled around, and it was party time. Before heading to the train station, I had planned to squeeze in a run, but unfortunately I’d been sick the past few days, so I instead opted to have a little bit of extra rest before the big weekend. Alix drove Matt, Jeff and I to the train station to meet up with the rest of the gang. We boarded the train, and before we knew it, the party was in full (quiet-ish) swing. We were not the only people heading on the train to the show. In fact, at the back of our car, there were about 16 of us all heading there. So as you may imagine, the mood was pretty fun. One person had portable speakers, so we were listening to AC/DC the whole way down. I should also mention that within 1 hour of leaving Ottawa, the train was out of beer.

Of course I hadn’t been drinking any of that. I had instead chosen to enjoy a few whiskeys instead. Yum. By the time we hit Montreal, we knew that it would be a fun night. That’s unfortunately when things went a little south for me. Somehow in the shuffle, I lost my wallet and blackberry on the train. I think it happened when I cleared my tray table (where I had those two things sitting). I set them on the seat with me, then in the excitement of arriving, I must have just gotten up without grabbing them. Sadly, I didn’t notice I was without them till we checked in to the hotel. Crap! Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much for me to do, so I pretty much just rolled with it. I reported them missing to the train station, and went about canceling my cards. Then, I borrowed cash from Rob, and went about my business. I was super-lucky that I’d kept both my train and AC/DC ticket separate from the wallet (probably part of the reason I didn’t realize I’d lost it), so at least I wouldn’t be missing the fun.

Our next stop was Brewtopia for beers and supper. From there, we hit the Peel Pub for a gi-normous pitcher of beer while we waited for the right time to hop on a subway to the stadium. We got there around 7:30, and by the time we’d made our way through the crowds to get into the stadium, it was 7:45, and we could already hear the opening band playing! Crazy. Good thing we didn’t wait any later to arrive. We climbed higher and higher in the stadium, till we reached our designated seats in the nosebleed section. I kid you not, I think our sight line was literally 1km from the stage! Luckily, they had a huge sound system as you well may imagine, so we could hear the music just fine. Unfortunately for the opening band, they didn’t have any big projection screens or anything, so we couldn’t see them at all. Furthermore, I wasn’t really blown away by them. I’d say they were a bit Zeppelin-esque, but they didn’t capture my imagination. By the way, the band was “The Answer“, which you can now read about should you choose to.

Once those guys were off the stage, it was time to re-set things for the main attraction. Of course, we took the time to re-lubricate. Sadly, the price of libations in this joint was astronomical. The price was $7.75 for a little glass of beer. Boo. On the plus side, it would mean we’d keep our intake in check, lest we were to spend our last dollars on the mead. After all, we still had high hopes of heading out after the show. Speaking of which, it was time for the big show. AC/DC took to the stage as the sound of a train filled the massive stadium. They started off with Rock n’ Roll train and never looked back for basically the next 2.5 hours.

In the time that they were on stage, the lads burned through a ton of their old as well as new material to the delight of everyone in the audience. Speaking of which, this show was huge. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’m lead to believe that the crowd nubered between 30 and 35 thousand people screaming for more at every song conclusion. It was pretty awesome to be a part of that. Every time it seemed like the show might be slowing down a bit, they would find a way to crank it back up to 11. For a moment, I turned my attention away from the stage, and next time I looked over, there was 50 foot high blow up doll on stage. Rosie! Craziness. Of course, the piece de resistance ironically only came about at the end of the show, when the band was gone. I’m not sure if someone was asleep at the switch or something, but at the very very end of the show, a huge fireworks show went off. It was amazing, as the fireworks arced perfectly in the stadium without any troubles.

As the show wore on, the rest of our group started making our separate ways. Rob and Jared had somehow made their way to a lower level in the stadium. Joe and Sara had actually ducked out a little earlier in the night, leaving Matt, Jeff and I up in our seats in the heavens. Of course, that meant that any plans we had of meeting up later were now in jeopardy. I managed to corral the other two clowns through the crowds until we made our way to the subway and eventually to downtown Montreal. What was up next was the question. Earlier, we’d all talked about bowling after the show at Sharx. I’d never heard of the place, but Rob and Matt had been there before, so Matt hoped we’d find Rob there. Of course, he took us the wrong direction on Ste Catherine to start, leading to a much longer walk than any of us were hoping for.

Luckily, we found a pizza joint in our travels, which helped fuel us once again. Yum. Once back out on the street, Matt, Jeff and I ironically bumped into someone we knew. Rob! He had been at Sharx hoping to find us, and had just about given up and was heading to the hotel. The term needle in a haystack comes to mind as there are about a thousand ways we could have missed each other, but instead, we found him. So, off we went to the bowling alley for a string of bowling. Of course, at this point, my game was crap, but we gave it a whirl anyway, before heading back to the hotel. Well, some of us. Okay, just me :-). Rob decided to meet friends at Hurleys, Matt and Jeff decided to hit another place, but due to my cold, I opted to head back for some sleep. Sucked, but I really didn’t feel good enough to stay out all hours. Plus, I had no ID and was low on ‘borrowed’ cash.

Next morning, Rob and I got up early enough to head to the pool deck for a swim and a soak in the hot tub. Just what we needed to get going again. Once refreshed, we met up with the others at a restaurant for a nice breakfast before ultimately grabbing the train back to Ottawa. No word yet on my wallet or phone, which was a bit of a bummer, but what could I do? The trip back was very uneventful, and we’d actually all been placed in separate rows, so there was definitely no partying on the way home. But that was fine, since I was a bit bagged anyway. I just sat back and enjoyed the lull of the train. In Ottawa, Alix once again drove us home, and so ended the awesome 24 trip to MTL. And as a final good twist, on Monday, I got my wallet and blackberry back. All the cash was gone, but everything else was still in it. Bus tickets, gift card, and even cheques. Sweet. So that’s it that’s all. AC/DC totally rocked, and I wish you could all have been there, but since you weren’t, hopefully my little story and the pictures and videos will help you visualize it :-). Till next week (and next race), take it easy gang!

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