Nothing could’ve possibly prepared me for all of the emotions that I would feel at Minus the Bear’s final Canadian show in Toronto on October 21. I knew I’d be happy, sad, excited, a little nervous, devastated … but I hadn’t anticipated how intensely I would feel all of those things. Two months post gig, and a week out from the band officially wrapping up their Farewell Tour (and ultimately career together), I still feel like I’m recovering from that night.
My night started off with a meet and greet with the band (which is where the bit about being a little nervous comes in). It was simultaneously the most awesome and most chill experiences I’ve ever had meeting people whose work I admire. They’re just a bunch of nice, relaxed, earnest guys who very clearly appreciate their fans and enjoy meeting them. They all shook my hand, introduced themselves, which I thought was kind of adorable because I already knew who they were obviously, but it was just a super sweet gesture. After introducing himself Jake asked my name, and when I told him both he and Alex reacted with recognition which I had not expected at all.
Some backstory is in order, I suppose! For the month leading up to the show, I was putting together a list of what I thought were the band’s best songs. Whether or not anyone had been paying attention to it I hadn’t really cared, it was just something fun I was doing because I felt like it. Earlier the day of the show, Alex had quoted a tweet of mine saying thank you for the list and that he loved it. As for Jake, he and I follow each other on Twitter and had interacted there a couple of times - more about politics than music, oddly enough. But I certainly hadn’t anticipated either of them knowing who I was when I was standing in front of them!
We chatted about the list I put together; Alex seemed to really appreciate that a lot of them were hidden gems that people don’t really get into when talking about their music, and Jake told me that he thought my posts about the songs were beautiful, which I don’t think I’ll ever be over. They signed my poster and their latest EP for me - I had only thought that they were signing one thing, but I’d put my EP on the table as well to free up my hands, and Jake asked if I’d like them to sign that as well. Far be it from me to say no!
They’d honestly thrown me off by recognizing me and talking about what I’d written, so it wasn’t until when we were getting our pictures taken together that I remembered what I wanted to tell them - how important their music was to me, how appreciative I was of the fact that they were doing this tour so that we could all say goodbye. And basically, just thank you for everything. I tried not to get too long winded about it, I didn’t want to take up too much of their time when there were other fans waiting to see them. They said that it was their way of saying goodbye to us too - at least in their capacity as Minus the Bear.
Pictures taken, they thanked me for coming out and I floated off to the bar to get the most well deserved $10 beer I’d ever purchased.
The general admission crowd hadn’t been let in yet, so I spent the time waiting for Brad chatting with some of the other fans and the fella who works the band’s merch table. When Brad finally found me (honestly still shaking - though whether it was from being cold or the adrenaline wearing off, I’m not sure), we checked our coats and my merch and went to the main area of the venue to find the stage. People were still kind of milling about, so there was the perfect opportunity to plant myself exactly where I wanted - right up against stage left. There was no way that I was going to be anywhere other than right up front for this show.
The opener for the first leg of the tour, Caspian, were absolutely phenomenal. I’d been listening to them a lot in preparation for the concert, but they are an entirely different beast live. An instrumental post-rock outfit from Massachusetts, they really helped to set the tone and vibe for what was to come. Layering, delays, and loops are exactly what that crowd was there for, and Caspian delivered that in spades.