We’ve been eagerly waiting for the May long 2-4 weekend (for months) so we could haul our camper out of hibernation and go camping. Bring on summer!!!

But then I saw this on Instagram:

My favourite band, Elliott BROOD, back in Dawson City!? How could I miss this?

Luckily (?) the lakes are still frozen, our new boat is not ready for launch, and we had dozens of tasks to do around the yard, so sticking around town worked out well for Jeff too.

The Midnight Sun hotel is finally reopening! It had been closed since we moved up here 8 years ago and for sale for years. It was just set to reopen a couple years back and then covid paused those plans. We’ve heard so many stories of this place from all the people our age who used to party there back in the day. Stories of people waking up the next day still on the bathroom floor, coke consumption right at the tables, this place has a reputation for drunkenness and debauchery.

I didn’t think there was a chance Jeff was going to go with me, so I was planning on heading there around 7pm and hoping I’d get in before the show started. But when we were walking our dog Hank by the Midnight Sun, our friends were heading in and they texted shortly afterwards to say “THEY ARE GOING ON AT 6:30PM – GET BACK HERE”. So we speed-walked Hank home and went back to the Midnight Sun. I was still in my casual dog-walking hoodie and cap but who cares!

And we made it! We grabbed a spot on a leather-esque sofa by the door – perfect spot!

Ready for the show to start! I hit the merch table early and got us each an Elliott Brood t-shirt, and I got a hat and a few stickers. I switched hats immediately.

I’ve been a fan of these guys for a long, long time. I first saw them play in Sault Ste. Marie back in 2006 (link to my blog post reviewing that show) at The Downbeat, a casual, and unfortunately short-lived bar in the Sault’s downtown. I remember them playing in the old storefront window area. I already had one of their albums by that point, and then that show hooked me!

You may remember that in 2018 Elliott Brood played here for the Dawson City music festival. It was just a few weeks after I had a life-saving surgery in Vancouver to remove the cancer that had grown throughout my abdomen, leaving me with a 50-staple-long incision. I was only able to see their first set of their two concerts that year, sitting on a bleacher at the back of the outdoor tent, but was just too weak to stay for more. Luckily we live a block away from the main stage so I stayed on my front porch and listened to the rest of their shows from the comfort of a deck chair.

Somehow, my cousin Kathleen had gotten in touch with the band and I heard them calling me to the stage on their last show! I was half-thinking I was hallucinating it, why would they be calling me!? But they were! I blogged about it here – Auditory hallucinations and a visit with the oncologists – and Casey from the band even commented on that blog post confirming the shout-out and wished me well. That was so kind of them!

My cancer treatment started 5 years ago this month, and it took a year, but I came through it. I don’t dwell on it much, and kinda consider some of the experiences and life lessons a bit of a gift.

But a few songs into Elliott Brood’s first set on Friday night, the music somehow put in me in a super reflective and appreciative state. Here I was, 5 years later. I’m alive. I’m thriving. I live in one of the most remote places in Canada (my utopia) and my favourite band is right here, in front of me! And my husband came with me to the show, sitting right beside me! Life is so good. I want all of my friends going through similar battles to get a moment like this after all their treatments are done. Life is going on, and I’m still here to live it. Every day, every moment, every opportunity is a gift, and I seize them all.

Then I remembered another time this music got me through rough times. A dozen years ago when we were living in Nova Scotia, I had a job I truly hated, that treated me poorly, and I knew I was capable of so much more. It ate away at me every day. But I wasn’t going to fail. I was going to show up at that place every day despite all of its misery. I had Elliott Brood’s Mountain Meadows CD permanently housed in the CD slot on the dash of my Dodge Caliber and cranked that album so loud, thumping that car’s little subwoofer, to give me the willpower to go into that job every day. If you’re ever in a similar situation, turn up W.I.A.D.F.Y. or The Valley Town. Just be cautious of the involuntary foot stomping that Elliott Brood’s music triggers. It’s a bit tricky when you’re driving, but it can be done.

After their first set on Friday, the place cleared out a bit and the band mingled. Our buddy Kyle was far too shy to get the band to sign the album he bought, but he really really wanted it signed. So Jeff grabbed it and went to each of them to sign it for him. Jeff’s fearless. Then I don’t know what he said to the lead singer, but he came over and chatted for a bit!

Thanks Mark! It was a pleasure to meet you! (Thanks Jeff for making that happen and for getting this picture!)

The second set was even more charged up than the first. The place filled up, and the thrill of having the sofa seats quickly was replaced with a solid view of people’s butts who stood in front of us blocking our view of the show. Bummer! But who cares, the music was what mattered and I was glad the place filled up so more people could enjoy the show.

It was Gold Show weekend here (if you’re in Ontario, think of a little plowing match – all gold industry vendors – indoors and out – tents, freebies, demonstrations, draws). It’s the first weekend that Dawson City really comes to life for summer. And Dawson has weathered the storm. We’re back to pre-covid times! The streets were full of tourists and gold miners and seasonal staff. Every store and restaurant is open. This is the Dawson we fell in love with and moved here for. Although now that we’re “locals”, the winters are what are truly special here, when the quiet dark days come, all the seasonal people have gone, and the sense of community comes out.

On Saturday I walked the town for two hours, visiting the Gold Show exhibitors, buying bedding plants for my flower pots, and took part in the annual Doors Open Dawson event – that one where a few old buildings are open every year for a rare peek inside.

I kept running into friends around town who were at the show the night before, all are parents who were grateful for their Friday night babysitters. They all said they’d go back again for the Saturday show if they could!

And I thought – I can’t think of one reason to not go back for their second show!

And this time, I don’t care if I’m the first in the building when it opens at 5pm, I wanted a seat that no one was going to stand in front of and block my view!

And Jeff decided to come with me again!?!!!! I was so surprised! He usually has a different idea of a good time than I do and I’ve learned long ago not to drag him somewhere he doesn’t want to be.

At 5pm Saturday we were the only ones in line to get in. HA! We got the seats we wanted before learning the show wasn’t going to start until a couple hours later than the first night. No worries! We ordered food and a couple friends came and sat with us.

I don’t hang out in bars much anymore since I quit drinking last fall, but it was actually pretty easy! I just sipped on ginger ale.

How about these seats!? We were crazy close!

I don’t usually take many pictures or videos of a show because I’d rather just soak it all in, but I had to take a little video to remember all the peculiarities, like the guy who sat with us for the last couple of songs to play his spoons, the lady who videoed almost every song, with the flash on, blinding everyone all night (and with her phone vertically!), and all the drunk people’s antics. A younger Lisa would have been several beers in and maybe even dancing the night away, but sober older Lisa doesn’t mind sitting and watching everyone else stumbling around having a good time.

And the reputation of the Midnight Sun lives on! After all the ginger ale, I just *had* to pee in their final couple songs of the night. It’s a small place so I zipped quickly to the bathroom. Someone was in the stall beside me, and then I noticed something all over the floor. She had a HUGE pile of mushrooms dumped all over the bathroom floor and she was backwards in her stall, with a Kokanee beer, trying to slowly scoop them up, but she definitely had all the signs of being high as f*ck and was unable to scoop them up efficiently. A few minutes later I watched her give a guy a bag of them on the dance floor, and I’m guessing he had no idea his shrooms were recently scooped up off the bathroom floor. 🤣

After the show, we went to Gertie’s for a bit (Jeff heard a meatball sub calling his name), and then had a brief stop at the Pit where Kyle had a full house for karaoke. What a couple fabulous nights out!!