Our final rehearsal went really well. I’m relieved. I mean, I knew it would sound great in the end because I hired the very best players, but there’s always this niggling little bit of insecurity that I think all artists have. It invades the Achilles heel of your psyche and shouts “You’re going to suck in front of 45,000 people!” I have dreams about it sometimes. My recurring dream is always the same. Huge show – sold out – and for some reason I can’t get to the gig. The organizers are freaking out, and I look like a total fake, even though it’s not really my fault. It’s never my fault in the dream. But it’s always something very bizarre, and surreal as my obstacle. In one version my parents’ insane little Jack Russell has eaten my plane ticket. I’m tearing my hair out because my dad won’t discipline the dog, and my mom is pretending there is no crisis and why don’t I just stay for some lemonade and tea biscuits. Weird.
Once, I actually was about an hour late for a sold-out show in Ottawa. I was meeting the band at the venue and taking a train from Kingston because I had gone to visit my family. It was January, and the temperature was somewhere around 30 below zero. The switches on the tracks kept freezing (the switches direct the train so you don’t have a head-on collision with, say, another train). So we kept stopping while a team of workers went outside and unstuck them. I swear they must have been using hairdryers or something, because it took forever. I kept having to use the train phone – you know that one you swipe with a credit card and find out later that you were paying $89.95 a minute – to let them know I was still on my way. I eventually made it, and the audience was great. They hung in until I arrived and loved the show. Of course, many of them had used the extra hour to get thoroughly smashed by the time I got there…
We did make it to Thunder Bay, and the show was great. The set, which was the first time I’ve incorporated my older material, is as follows:
Baby Go Round
Handcuffed To A Fence In Mississippi
So Girls Do
Twisted/Odds of Love
Heart Shaped Whole
Peace On Earth
Whatcha Do To My Body
Do I Move You
Mysterious Ways/Metal Queen (medley)
The band played extremely well. Brad Turner (keys), Rob Hamilton (guitar), Dave Reimer (bass) and John Cody (my hubby – on drums). They all have great web sites that are worth checking out if you get a chance.
The new material meshed extremely well with the older tunes. Thunder Bay was a first. I’ve never blended the jazz/pop stuff with my rock hits. The new material seemed to assimilate seamlessly and was really well received by the crowd.
Despite offers, I refused to perform my earlier work for about six years, playing the jazz circuit instead, endeavoring to earn credibility as a jazz chanteuse. Tremendous pay cut, but worth it in the end. For the most part, people are no longer shocked that I’m capable of more than big hair arena rock. It was important to me to change that perception. There is an unfortunate stereotype that exists – especially in the industry – that posits that if you are a woman, and play hard rock you can’t possibly have brains. I spent the first twenty years my career being treated like an idiot, except by those that knew me well. I digress…
Wahoo. I loved it. The show was so much fun and it finally felt really right to be putting together a comprehensive set that spans my entire career. Plans to do more for sure…
So, our trailer was next to Heart’s, just as Chris had said. Spent some time blabbing to Nancy. She’s very sweet. We talked mostly about our kids. She has twin 6 ½ year olds boys with Cameron Crowe. We agreed that being a mom is WAY harder than being a rock star. A 24/7 job. With zero pay in which there is no way you can avoid coming into contact with poo. Not very rock-starish., but the most amazing thing at the same time. I was telling Nancy how I bought the Bebe Le Strange album in high school and immediately went out and had my hair permed in an attempt to emulate them. We laughed about how everyone destroyed their hair in the eighties with perms and hair product. Ice mist. Remember that stuff? It was like cryogenic freezing for your doo. Deadly.
Ann hung out in the trailer until just before the show. I did eventually get to meet her – for the second time. I reminded her of our first meeting backstage at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. I was in the Green Room cue – being super fan girl – waiting to shake Ann’s hand and flounder around for something cool to say. I was on hiatus from a long leg of the Some Girls Do tour, and the girl behind me starts freaking out. “Oh my God! You’re Lee Aaron! That’s Lee Aaron! I’m such a big fan!” Etc. Etc. Meanwhile, all I can think is shut up, please, you’re embarrassing me. By the time I reach Ann, she’s wondering what all the fuss is about, and I have to explain. Explaining to a really famous person, who has no clue who you are, that you are a sort of – kind of famous person … well, it goes down as one of my most humiliating moments. Ann said “Oh, well, you must be pretty good then.” I was speechless. How do you respond to that? “Well actually, I’m not all that talented, but I have a really good promo guy … Well, yes I am, how could you tell? I think I actually said “well, I have six albums out and some people like me…” I felt about ten years old. Oh well…
A similar thing happened to me in 1987 while I was on tour in Europe. We had a night off and our fellow Canadian comrades Glass Tiger were opening for Tina Turner at that Alabama Halle in Munich. So I’m sitting in the roped off VIP area behind the sound console when all these kids start flipping out. “Zuper fantastic wunderbar! Lee Aaron! Blah blah…” I was pretty popular overseas at the time. At that exact same moment I realize that I am sitting right behind Chrissie Hynde. She’s very petite in person and I didn’t recognized her at first. So I’m struck suddenly with the reality that I am sitting behind an icon – one of my heroes – and people are clamoring to get my autograph. I couldn’t focus. It was a total space cadet moment. I’m not even sure whose name I signed. And no one noticed her except me. Freaky. I was too dumbstruck to ask for her autograph – and too shy. But I did share a Kodak moment with Ann and Nancy, which was – in the words of my Euro fans – wonderbar.