Series: Edenfest – Day Three
Edenfest Day Three
This is the day things fell off the rails. We were all tired, hot, dirty, and many people were likely hung over. Besides, how could any day compete after the hugeness of Day Two, with Live and the Hip (and Skydiggers and Buzzcocks, though I’ll never know) and all the other great bands taking us out on such a huge high?
Rumours continued to escalate about the Special Guest, as this was THE day it was gonna happen! It’ll be Beck! It’ll be Alanis Morissette! It’ll be WEEZER! No one knew, but lots of people had an opinion on it. Myself, I had no guesses. I’d wait and see.
This is also the day I recall the least, in some ways. I have a text out to Brian regarding whether some of the bands listed on this day even played. I’ll write-up what I can though (please forgive my shoddy memory).
Let’s give ‘er!
I really don’t remember these guys playing. They would have been playing for the Turn Me On record, but 1996 was the year they split up so… were they even there?
In 1998, we saw Pearl Jam in Barrie, and the band that rose out of the ashes of the Doughboys, All Systems Go, played at that gig.
We missed this set, if he actually was on stage, because we had taken a look at the sky, saw the impending rain, and decided it would be judicious to take the tent down early and lug the remains of our stuff out to the truck. This seemed to take longer than the set-up did, but that’s always the case.
We heard some of this set as we walked out (and back in) with our stuff. From what I heard, it sounded good – just like the album. Well, it was You’ve Got To Believe In Something, their third record, that was current. But I’m pretty sure everyone was just waiting for them to play the hits off of Pocket Full Of Kryptonite. I remember hearing Two Princes from afar, because of course they would play that. Anyway, we were nowhere near the stage while this was going on.
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
I truly don’t remember these guys playing. I think I would remember it, as I was a fan at the time. 1994’s Question The Answers was a big CD for me, but Let’s Face It (with The Impression That I Get on it) wouldn’t come out until the next year. I truly would remember this set. Wouldn’t I?
I do remember seeing this guy. Remember the song No One Is To Blame? That hit from the 80s? Yup, it was that guy. He sat at a piano and sang. His band was good, he did fine. At the time I thought it was an odd inclusion in the line-up, and looking back on it now, I still say the same thing. Good on him for showing up and doing his thing, but it wasn’t really his crowd (one would think). Maybe that could have been second stage and let the Skydiggers be main stage, yeah? Yeah!
Goo Goo Dolls
Again, I don’t recall these guys playing. I think I would have. A Boy Named Goo (with the song Name on it) had come out just the year before. I always liked the track Long Way Down from that album. I hope Brian tells me they played, I’d have enjoyed it, but right now I don’t remember anything about it if they did.
All I remember about this set is standing and listening to them for a while (we’d missed the start of the set) and asking the person next to me who it was. When they told me, I knew the name from a song I had on a CMJ compilation but I didn’t own any albums. We were right between Happy Days and Adam And Eve albums, apparently, so I hope they had fans in the crowd who could tell us all about it and that it was great. It didn’t leave much impression on me, apparently, though. Also, Wiki tells me their singer is Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)’s cousin.
Now, recall that a Special Guest had been promised all weekend. Rumours had spread like wildfire. Just about any big band you could think of in the mid-90s, somebody in the crowd had guessed that they’d be the Guest. What happened next disgusted me on a couple of levels.
After Catherine Wheel played their set, everyone was standing around waiting for the next band, and a guy (I can only presume it was the promoter) came out on stage to make a few announcements. Eveyone held their breath, here we’d find out about the Special Guest!
It was not to be. There was no single special band that would be arriving. Apparently, their big idea had been to make a super-group, singers from these bands, guitars from those, drummers from these bands, and so on. I have no idea who they had in mind. But it didn’t matter. Bands had to move on, many of them were on tour and could not stay around that late on the Sunday afternoon. They needed to be on the road to the next show. So, there would be no special guest.
Oh! But never mind that! Here are the Watchmen!
I loved (and still do) the Watchmen. They consistently made great record after great record. They were one of the hardest working bands in the country, gave it everything they had. That they weren’t absolutely HUGE in this country (and in the States) – to the point that they could have kept rolling along right through to icon status today, has always baffled me. There really was nothing else they could do. They had everything in place, they were built to last, so what happened… gah.
But to have to walk out onto the stage after all of THAT bullshit, where there had been a crowd of many thousands in front of the stage up until the announcement and then, by the time they got to the stage they were was less than half of the crowd as everyone got pissed off and left… well, lesser bands would have felt the air let out of their balloon. They’d have, at best given a desultory performance. Some would even have refused to go on. But the Watchmen?
Bless their hearts, they stepped right up and gave the performance of the festival. They rocked HARD. They owned that place! They rose above all the crap and the diminishing crowd and gave their all because they were there to play and that’s what they did! I already loved their records, but this performance forever cemented this band in my memory as the best of the whole weekend. Brand New Day was their current album, which is awesome, but they had the incredibly strong In The Trees and McLaren Furnace Room to draw from as well, and it was one helluva set. Thank you, Watchmen, for getting it done, and for doing it up friggin’ BIG!
After that wonderful set, I was done. That was the final statement. It had been a long weekend, full of great music, huge crowds, tiring and hot, dusty days, and several adventures besides. Besides, it had started raining, and our decision to pack up our stuff in the truck early had proven to be a wise one. And for one more reason:
Pissed off at the announcement of no Special Guest, several smaller-minded and brutish concert-goers took it upon themselves to take the news as license to start destroying the place. Remember when I said it was a good thing we got out of the way? A garbage fight had started on the hill. It was disgusting. Yes, actually throwing garbage at one another. Ridiculous. Some people stole a golf cart from the grounds and flipped it. Fires were started, even somebody’s tent got tossed into the flames. It was a true mess. And all because of no Special Guest? It would have been easy to lose faith in humanity, that afternoon, except that it certainly wasn’t everyone involved. In fact, most people just packed up and headed for the parking lot, but those who were involved truly should have known far better.
We high-tailed it to the truck. There were rumours of cops flooding the grounds, through the trees, and we wanted no part of any of it. I have no idea if that was actually true, we were in the truck and rolling towards the gate by then.
One article I found online claims that, by and large, the event had been a success, trouble-wise. Given so many tens of thousands of people in the venue over the weekend, there were apparently only 5 arrests over the three days: two for trafficking magic mushrooms, one heroin possession, one assault, and one intoxication in a public place charge. In an oughta-be-classic quote, Durham Region Police Sergeant Henry Otter was quoted as saying “ I’ve had more trouble getting to church on Sunday morning.” Now, I don’t know what town he lives in, but it sounds like his church is on the wrong side of the tracks.
However, a quick scan of keyword searches on Google did not reveal anything about the ensuing events after the announcement. How weird is that? I tried Edenfest with ‘garbage,’ ‘violence,’ ‘Sunday’… but I got nothing about events that day. I don’t understand it. This had to have been, in large part, why the event didn’t happen again the next year (or for ten years, as the promoter intended). Where was the media, in all this? I wonder if somehow things were kept on the down-low, in an attempt to salvage the thing and have it the following year. Was the fix in?
One last thing, apparently, after the Watchmen played, there was supposed to be a set by Ani DiFranco, which I truly regret not seeing. I would love to have seen Ani. But we were well on the way home in Janet’s dodgy (was it a Dodge? who knows) truck, holding on for dear life and hoping against hope we all survived the trip. Still, we were buoyed by all the great music, the good in the experience. It was a great time, and a helluva birthday gift.
We didn’t see any of the second stage on the Sunday, but in retrospect I would love to have seen Holly McNarland (always loved her). Actually, the run from Blinker The Star onwards makes that one helluva line-up for a second stage. I would love to have seen all of those bands.
Rain Still Falls
Blinker The Star
Edenfest Series In Sum:
And those are my memories of Edenfest, as I can recall them at the moment. I’m sure, after I get all of this posted, I’ll recall more. That’s how my brain works. I also have contact from Brian that we might speak on the phone on the weekend, and he’ll fill in any other blanks he can from his own memory. If I get enough to make a post out of whatever comes from the rest of this, I’ll be sure to do so.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through the dusty halls of my memories about this event. It really was a great concert festival. Too bad it couldn’t have gone on for more years – I get the feeling that, generally, people were cool about it and it could have grown and become one of Canada’s biggest events!
One more post to go, on this subject…
Up tomorrow: Campsongs, the Edenfest compilation CD.