We arrive in Edmonton and the van that has come to pick us up has a windscreen adorned by several huge cracks. Franksy voices his concern to the driver who cheerfully claims that this is par for the course here in Edmonton. Apparently, the roads throw up stones at a rate of knots, which means that an unspoiled windscreen is a very rare beast indeed round these parts. We’re not convinced. A windscreen with so much as a tiny crack is illegal to drive with in the UK. Our driver jokes that around here, they stop you just to make sure your windows are smashed up enough. We shrug and buckle up.
We’re far enough into the tour that soundchecks have pretty much become superfluous. This gives us more time in the hotel, but does inevitably mean that we’re heading to work just as the rest of the world is going home. We sit in rush hour traffic and slowly grind towards the venue.
The show comes around and Chris announces from the B-stage, that he has been in trouble with Will for referring to The Hardest Part as "the solo section of the gig", when he is in fact accompanied by Mr. C on harmony vocals. Chris explains to the assembled crowd that he needs to make ammends and would greatly appreciate their help. He asks that they give Will a monumental cheer when his backing vocal chimes in during the chorus.
They do just that….
An hour later, the show is over and we’re back in the van. We’re ten minutes down the highway, when there’s an almighty crash and the entire window beside Franksy (who’s up front riding shotgun) shatters into a thousand safety-glass pieces and becomes less of a window and more of a hole in the side of the van (and rather a lot of little lumps of glass all over the tour manager).
We’re all completely stunned. The driver however, seems positively excited. He responds in a tone like someone who has just been shown a particularly impressive skateboard trick. "Wooooah, I ain’t never seen that before". The bizarreness-o-meter then does a complete loop as he decides to head into the fast lane rather than the hard shoulder to pull over and check if Franksy is OK. This would be odd enough, except the fast lane appears to have three girls standing in it attempting to cross a six lane highway.
At this point, we’re all pretty speechless. The best we can do is offer up some incredulous swearing and confusion. I would close this blog by recommending that if you visit Edmonton you avoid window seats at all costs. We get on the plane for Vancouver, though, and a look at the view forces me to reconsider.