David Bowie plays Kelowna Prospera Place

We all woke at about the same time. I was awake, though eyes closed, when I heard Tamara and Andrea whispering. I joined into the conversation, joined shortly thereafter by Dan. At that point, there wasn’t much reason to stay in bed, so I called first shower (I hadn’t had one since getting up “yesterday” in Japan).

The plan had been to go for Dim Sum for breakfast, at the Chinese restaurant across the road. Not being open until 11:30 proved to be a bit of an issue, however, so we opted for breakfast #2: IHOP. Unlike Calgary, there is an International House of Pancakes in Kelowna. And we weren’t the only ones who knew that. The lineup was clearly out the door, and not just by a few people. It would be a long wait before we got breakfast if we’d stayed. We opted for the much shorter lineup at a nearby Perkins.

It felt good to not eat Japanese for a change.

Having thoroughly packed ourselves full, we returned to the hotel and went for a walk down by the lake shore. We’d been trying to figure out what to do, and headed for a boat ride on the Fintry Queen, a stern-wheeler ship that runs out of Kelowna. As we would find out, it runs during the tourist season, which we weren’t in. The ship was closed down, and not operating. We turned instead to the boardwalk, and slowly walked our way north along the lake, past the condos, rounding the park, turning around only when we got to the estuary marsh. We walked back passing Propera Place (where David Bowie would play later in the day).

We started to look for a patio. We thought that we’d take advantage of the great weather (it was warming up very quickly) and sit out in the sun with a drink or two. Turned out to be harder than we thought. Unlike Calgary and Vancouver, which open patios at the first hint of a warm day, Kelowna’s stayed closed. We ended up at the Earl’s, instead. Not my first choice, but it wasn’t too bad.

Back at the hotel again, we were desperate for something to do. While Tamara, Andrea, and Dan perused the various pamphlets and brochures in a pair of racks in the hotel’s entrance, and searched the Internet. I took the opportunity to use a local call to give my relatives a ring.

Uncle David answered the phone, which I thought a bit surprising — I’d fully expected him to be on the golf course. Temporarily put down by a cold and a wrist injury, he was reduced to merely watching the Masters game on TV. Not the best way to get a golf fix, but it would have to do. We talked for a bit about the trip to Japan, the things we’d seen, and how much Jen had apparently liked the experience. We got onto the topic of what we were doing before the concert, and soon, we had our destination for the afternoon.

Knox Mountain is just north of downtown Kelowna. It’s not too high a rise, but is high enough that you can see quite a distance from the apex lookout. Almost the entire city if Kelowna is visible (some parts are blocked by trees and/or parts of the mountain). It’s an old mountain, having long since been worn down by the glaciers that were up to 7,000 feet thick in the area that now supports Kelowna. Now the mountain features many coniferous trees and a lot of daisies.

Having done our tour of the mountain, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the concert. Well, Tamara and Andrea were preparing. Dan and I were pretty much set to go. I ended up falling asleep on my cot. Not sure if it was jet lag, exhaustion from all the wandering around, or both. But it was a rest I needed.

When I woke, it was dinner time. We hoped to eat with enough time to get there before the concert actually started (last time, we were a tad late). After a quick discussion, it was off to Earl’s again. No dice — the stable was full. We looked at a place called Cattle Country, but the prices were a little out of our range. Luckily, we could get into The Keg. However, despite our fortune in finding a restaurant, we had issues with the slow service, and ended up having to eat quickly and set a quick pace to get to the concert.

Once again, the opening act was already on stage. We didn’t consider this a huge deal, since we weren’t really there to see them. To be honest, we’d never even heard of The Polyphonic Spree before. Quite an odd band — there are 25 members, including a nine-person choir, harpist, flautist, trombone, trumpet, two percussionists, bass and guitar, lead singer, and two keyboardists (one of whom plays the therimin). They call themselves a pop choir. I wouldn’t use the word “pop” to describe the music, though. It’s very melodic and very different. Out of our group, I think I was the only one who liked it, though.

During the break, I got a chance to know some of our neighbours. The couple sitting next to me were a bit older (the guy, whose name I’ve already forgotten, commented that he was glad not to be the oldest one there — he couldn’t have been older than late-30s), and very excited to see David Bowie. But they didn’t hold a candle to Tannis. She sat in the row ahead of me. I had thought I was pretty gung-ho for coming off a plane from Japan and coming out to Kelowna for a concert I’d already seen.

Tonight is Tannis’ sixth David Bowie concert since January. She went to the Calgary concert, and also the ones in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Seattle. Tonight is her last, though, having run out of both money and vacation time. But she was just as excited to see him this time as the first time. She epitomized the ideal “fan”. (Thankfully, not to the extremity of the freak in the bunny suit, a perfect example of someone taking it too far. She was staying at our hotel, too.)

Prospera Place is small — it’s a large community ice rink. It seats no more than 5,000 people. It’s got one level of seating, not counting the floor (where we sat). The place is so small that the stage set had to be slightly reduced. No-one seemed to have any idea what possessed David Bowie to play there.

You wouldn’t hear any of us complain.

The music changed on the sound system, and Tannis went crazy. Even I knew what it meant — no-one else around us did — this was the beginning of Bowie’s stint onstage. The lights dimmed, and the video showing the animated version of the band appeared on the video wall. It faded to video of the band, as the members walked on. The delay between the band entering onstage and starting the first song was much shorter than before — “Rebel Rebel” was soon starting, and as they’d probably practiced almost endlessly, David walked up the microphone just as he needed to start singing.

Andrea and I were on the left side of the stage, in the fifth row. (Tamara and Dan were in the eighth row, on the other side of the floor.) While our seats sound wicked, I actually prefered the seats we had at the Calgary concert — at least I didn’t have some completely unanimated gorilla standing in front of me.

I have to say that the Kelowna crowd was FAR more laid back than the one in Calgary. On the slower songs, they all sat down (as did Andrea — I think Tannis and I were one of a handful who stayed standing; Tamara and I would later comment that we should have stayed in the fifth row, with Andrea and Dan in the eighth … oh well), there wasn’t nearly as much jumping up and down, and not as much singing as I had expected. There was, however, a lot more pot than in Calgary (hey, we are in British Columbia). I should point out, however, that Andrea and I were among the youngest ones in our area…

The playlist had changed since Calgary, much to my delight. The second song up was “Modern Love”, one of my all-time favourites, and the song that got me hooked on Bowie in the first place. (He never did play “Space Oddity”, but I think I can live with that.) At this show, David dug out the oldies, playing a few songs I’d never heard before. He also changed up the beginning to “Let’s Dance”, to the point where I didn’t initially recognize it. If nothing else, the song selection just further proved Bowie’s artistry.

He also continued his habit of joking around, especially with “China Girl”. Unlike last time, Bowie didn’t make us sing. Instead, he tried to sing the whole song in Chinese. (Apparently, he’s done this — it appears on a DVD.) He made it two verses before stopping, unable to remember how the rest of it went. He restarted with the original English version.

The concert was much more intimate than Calgary’s, with David making lots of jokes with the audience (starting off with “What’s with ‘Kamloops’, anyway?”) and ribbing Kelowna about its history. He even brought out a little plush representation of Ogopogo, and started comparing it to the Loch Ness Monster. He claimed it wasn’t much to talk about, being only four inches long, fuzzy, and wearing a bowtie. He even pointed out the freak in the bunny suit. He nodded to Tannis — I think he was actually looking for her.

A little shorter than Calgary’s show, the Kelowna show was notably louder. (Although when it came to the “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” part in “Suffragette City”, you couldn’t really hear the audience.) My ears rang well into the night, and long after I went to bed.

I thought it was a great concert, though I have to admit it lacked the energy I felt in Calgary. Might have been partly because of the crowd, or perhaps because I’d already seen him. I’m still glad I went, though, because it was great to see him perform again. If he comes around in the not-too-distant future, I might go. But I won’t feel quite as much need as I have before.