The Rolling Stones show at Burl’s Creek, Ontario, Canada, was an add-on show to the No Filter US Tour 2019, originally set to be sixteen shows. Then The Rolling Stones got an offer to play this one and only show in Canada, after the US tour was announced. So here we are, heading for a Stones show in Canada!
Wednesday June 26 I was happy with the two first shows of the Stones tour opening in Chicago. I left my downtown Chicago hotel more than three hours before departure to Toronto. With still 1:35 hours left, I went to the check-in machines, only to learn that I needed a VISA to enter Canada! New rules. Lots of stress. Open my PC, get internet, don’t find the immigration site, back to United service personel, get the right address, apply for VISA, get it by e-mail, then back to the machines, only to be rejeted, because there is now just 59 minutes until departure. I show them my Star Alliance Gold Card, which brings me immediate manual check-in service. I am through pre-approved security in five minutes. Ten minutes later I am boarded on the United flight to Toronto cheduled to leave at 1pm.
The flight from Chicago O’Hare airport into Toronto Pearson was smooth. Until we were inbound for landing. The landing wheels were out, I could see the airport buildings just below us, we were just seconds from touch down. Then our airplane suddenly took off with a steep climb. I knew something was wrong. This have happen to me very few times, and I fly a lot. Then the plane climbed, starting to curve, and the captain said: “There was another airplane on the runway. It should not be there” … We did a full 360 degrees curve, with the landing wheels down, and were on the ground ten minutes later, safe and sound, thanks to the excellent pilots of United Airlines.
The VISA stress turned out to be nothing as compared to the immigration complications, both into Canada, and four days later, back into USA. To cut a long story short, there are too many stamps in my passport, I have had it too many years. It is soon to be expired, I have multiple stamps of Cuba, Tanzania, China, Singapore, Peru, Colombia, every country from every tour over the past few years, many times Canada and USA, and with more international tentions, they bring me into more controls. No, I have never been to those other countries on that list, I am just here to see The Rolling Stones. How many shows? I have been to more than five hundred Stones shows, I don’t count anymore, sorry. I am not rich, I just work hard, very hard. Then one of them say “I envy you”. Approved.
I had originally booked hotels both in Barrie and Orillia, near the Burl’s Creek concert site, but both of these places are near, still far away, far too long to walk, so I would need a car or other transportation. Luckily good friend Jim, who lives near Chicago, asked me if I wanted a shuttle ticket from his Toronto Airport hotel to Burl’s Creek. He had a pair. Sure! I said. So then I booked at his Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre on 801 Dixon Road. Four days at an airport hotel…
It was a hot day, a long and stressful travel. As I entered my room, took a look out of my window, I saw something very interesting outside, across the street: Montana’s – a restaurant with outsite seating, something I had hardly seen when I was in Chicago. I was down there at Montana’s soon after, sitting outside, sun slowly going down, ordered an ice cold Molson Canadian beer, and all the travel stress left my mind as soon as I was sitting there. Montana’s would be my second home for the four days I was in Canada.
Next day at my airport hotel in Toronto I did lots of work with Chicago reports, and all the other work that I did not get any time for during the Chicago days. Then Friday, the day before the show, I took the bus, then a train, then the metro to downtown Toronto, meeting friends, and just seeing the city briefly. Toronto, where there has been rehearsals in the summer days before tours, club shows, SarsStock, and regular shows, so many great memories. But back “home” to my airport hotel and Montana’s.
I soon find out that my hotel – the Sheraton – is right in front of one of the Toronto Pearson Airport runways. Every two minutes there is an incoming airplane, the biggest one with heavy noise, right above our hotel. I am glad I am on floor six, and not on the top floor, which is nine or so, in case one plane does not keep the right path inbound, but I trust all landings are done through computers these days, they know what they are doing, and I am safe in my “runway path” hotel.
Show day, a last meal at Montana’s with my travel buddy Jim at 11:30am, then the buses start coming at 1pm. We are on one bus scheduled to leave at 2pm, there are several buses from several airport hotels, and there are blue vest “bus.com” people who assist with information. Our bus leaves shortly before 2pm, when it is full, and it is a smooth ride of 1.5 hours until we arrive into Barrie. Then it is more traffic, half an hour later we are parked right next to the stage. Perfect!
Then a long wait from 4pm, I try to rest in the shade, sitting and resting my legs. It is hot hot hot may be close to 90 F which is some 30 C. Not a good day to spend all day in the sun. Eventually the sun is lower, and I move into my position for the show. We get a great show, see links to the show with reports and pictures below.
The show is ending shortly after 11pm, and we walk towards the buses. I am surprised how fast the crowd is moving, knowing we are may be 70,000 fans on our way out of the site. Twenty minutes or so later we are seated in our bus. Then it takes may be ten minutes more until the bus is full. Then a long long wait, for an hour, while our bus driver is trying to position our bus into the single lane which leads out of the area, while there are so many other buses and cars aiming at the very same lane. We are back at our hotel by 2am in the night, not bad really. I hear later cars took hours and hours to get out.
Next morning I am on the move, another show, another city, next up is Washington D.C.
Reports and pictures from the show on IORR: