In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the singer-songwriter, Geneviève Racette, shares one of her stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
I chose to write about crazy tour stories because I feel very nostalgic about traveling and sharing my songs with people in real life. I want to tell you about a house concert tour I did in Manitoba right before the pandemic. I was booked for a 16 day House Concert tour in February-March 2020. 16 concerts in 16 days! 16 homes, 16 days on the road, 16 families, 16 different beds. I was excited! The way it worked was the artist played a concert for the hosts’ friends and family. The host provided dinner the night of the concert and breakfast the next day. The musicians slept over as well.
I hired a local musician, Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner, to accompany me on stage and on the road. I had met him back in 2012 when we were both part of a music festival contest in Québec called Festival International de la chanson de Granby. He was literally the only guy I knew who lived and played in Manitoba. Turns out he’s like…the very best! He plays guitar, banjo, mandoline, lap steel…anything you want really! I knew the tour was going to be fun when he put a Destiny’s Child song on during our first stretch on the road. This tour was designed for us to reach out to people who live in smaller communities that don’t necessarily have access to live music. We traveled through Manitoba and played very intimate, cozy concerts in people’s homes. It was such a humbling experience. We drove through long stretches in the prairies in the middle of February; it was COLD. Good thing Daniel knew the area because my phone didn’t have reception half the time and it really seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere!
I will not name anyone, but there’s one particular household that will forever be engraved in my memory. Let’s call the host Mister X. We parked in the back of this man’s house and we got ready to unload. Mister X opened the door and came outside to greet us. The first thing he said to me was “Can I bring your stuff inside or are you one of those girls who’s going to get hysterical if I touch your gear?”…as a strong feminist, I was already annoyed. I really dislike confrontation, and I was sleeping over at this man’s house, so I held my tongue. As we were setting up in his living room, Mister X was generous enough to show me how a mic stand works. Daniel felt the tension in the air and said something like “Don’t worry Mister X, Geneviève has been doing this for over 10 years, she’s a professional and she knows how to set up her own mic stand”. Thank god he said something because my blood was boiling, haha.
After soundcheck, we sat with Mister X and his family and ate dinner all together. He had cooked some pasta with meat sauce. I’m not the biggest meat eater and I don’t love eating before a performance so I had a couple of pieces of bread with butter and that’s it. Daniel had a giant bowl of pasta.
Mister X had a bit of a know-it-all lowkey misogynistic attitude. He also honestly seemed like he might have been on drugs. I’m so glad I wasn’t alone. He didn’t seem dangerous or anything like that, but he was definitely not my favourite person. As I was getting ready to play I decided to let it go and we ended up having a really nice concert. His guests enjoyed the music and I sold a bunch of CDs. After the show, Daniel and I packed our stuff and went to sleep in Mister X’s guest room. I was looking forward to getting out of there and getting back on the road the next day.
I woke up early to my stomach growling. I was getting excited for breakfast since I had only eaten bread the night before. We had a 5-hour drive ahead of us and I was very hungry. I opened the door to the bedroom and peeked out to the living room. I saw Mister X laying on the couch. Weird. He did not look well at all. His skin was looking gray and there was a bowl on the floor next to him. He proceeded to tell me that he and both his children had been up sick all night and that he might have left the meat sauce on the counter too long the day before. My inner alarm was ringing so loud. I wanted to get out of there NOW. I woke Daniel up and we quickly packed the car and left (without breakfast). Keep in mind, we were in the middle of nowhere Manitoba and there weren’t many restaurants or washrooms on the road. I had leftover stale Timbits for breakfast and poor Daniel drove for 5 hours with an upset stomach. It surely was the pasta sauce since I was not sick at all. I kept thinking of the size of Daniel’s bowl the night before. Oh gosh, what a strange experience. The rest of the tour was fabulous and we ended up laughing about it the whole time. It definitely brought us closer! The tour finished in March 2020 and we went straight to lockdown after that. I miss it. I can’t wait to get back on the road and possibly bring my own lunch.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
Jan 28: La Petite Boite Noire – Sherbrooke, QC*
Feb 13: MTelus – City and Colour’s Special Guest – Montreal, QC
Mar 05: La Chèvre – Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, QC*
Mar 10: La Boîte à Bleuets – Alma, QC*
Mar 11: Côté-Cour – Saguenay, QC
Mar 12: Théâtre du Marais – Val-morin, QC
Mar 14: Dakota Tavern – Toronto, ON
Mar 18: Le carré 150 – Victoriaville, QC*
Mar 21: Cafe Campus – Montreal, QC^
Mar 25: La Baleine Endiablée – La Pocatière, QC
Mar 27: Minotaure – Gatineau, QC*
Mar 31: Église St-Antoine de Lavaltrie*
May 18-22: Folk Alliance International, Official Showcase – Kansas City, MO