Day 3 – GOLD
So after Friday and Saturday’s HELLACIOUS weather… blue skies and good times are finally here. The day was one for the record books (in both the best and worst ways possible: the tourists are loving it, Olympic organizers not so much.) Word is that today was actually two degrees warmer than the 92’ Barcelona Summer Olympics. Brutal. VANOC has already cancelled thousands of tickets for the standing areas at Cypress Mountain, which is the venue for moguls and snowboarding. Fans are obviously none too pleased – after dropping $300 on auctioned tickets, many are only receiving $50 compensation from Olympic organizers. It’s unfortunate for sure, but as much as VANOC is trying to go green – it can’t control the weather.
Of course, for those of us not on the hills, Sunday was gorgeous. I caught the Skytrain downtown in the afternoon, getting off at Main St. Station to check out the Canadian and Russian houses. The entire waterfront, located across from the athletes’ villages, was buzzing with fans, tourists, and athletes from all over the world. After checking out the vibe (electric) in the area, my brother and I made our way down to Livecity Yaletown, one of several venues hosting free concerts for the duration of the Games.
We jumped into the already massive lineup at 6:00, two hours before North Vancouver’s own Mother Mother was scheduled to play. Twenty minutes later (security has been extraordinarily efficient so far,) we found ourselves wandering the grounds inside the fence, where there were attractions set up by corporate sponsors (such as Coca-Cola,) concession booths showcasing ethnic food (Greek and Jamaican being the most popular,) and about 5000 people milling about.
The atmosphere turned ridiculous as two massive screens flanking the concert stage were patched through to cameras at Cypress Mountain, where Canadian freestyle skier Alexander Bilodeau was preparing to take his final run. As is well-known and documented by now, he nailed it, vaulting him into first place with only one skier left to go. It was quite something to see as Livecity Yaletown stopped in its tracks and held its collective breath to watch the final run of the final skier, whose name and nationality escape me because frankly, he was of no consequence. When his score came in behind Bilodeau’s, Livecity erupted. It was literally an EXPLOSION of primal screaming and happy times as we all broke into an impromptu dance party to celebrate our first gold of these games (and first Canadian gold on home soil EVER!) before launching into a raucous rendition of our national anthem. It was diehard patriotism at its finest and I’ve never been prouder of the ole red and white than I was at that moment (including the fuzzy feelings I got at the end of blog post 1.)
The night only got better from there, O my brothers. Mother Mother came on and played an absolutely killer show, flipping between popular singles such as “Ghosting” and “Arms Tonite” with some of their lesser-known tracks. The set was extremely high energy as the North Vancouver band got to play in front of their family and friends for an hour and a half, setting the stage (no pun intended) for the other headliner, local surf rocker Daniel Wesley, who is a personal favorite of mine. Wesley mellowed the hype right out of Livecity Yaletown, turning the rest of the night into his own personal jam session. As dry ice smoke and Vancouver smoke* mingled together in the (surprisingly) crisp air, the moon and stars decided to come out and play, lighting the way for an evening that finished off in the most West Coast way possible – dub reggae, new friends, and some seriously righteous times.
*That’s the Mary Jane, kids.