Part of our Ongoing Series of Argonotes Grey Cup Memories.
The 2007 Grey Cup was the first one in Toronto since 1992 (and, thus, the first home grey cup for Argonotes, since the band started in 1995.) We were so excited we even had special collector’s edition lapel pins made up. See above! No, you can’t have one, I think I only have this one left. They were pretty popular.
We were particularly pleased to be joined by the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band, who, of course, manage somehow to go to every Grey Cup, whereas in Argonotes we could only muster the strength to go to the East Division ones.
As usual we played at all the team parties, including the fabulous Spirit of Edmonton event and their legendary Saturday morning breakfast. I recall that we’d established an official band beachhead at the Novotel downtown where most of us stayed Thursday-Sunday. That sure made it easier to get around without anybody worrying about what anybody had had to drink, if theoretically that were happening.
In a post appropriately titled What we learned while killing our brain cells, the legendary Boatmen Blog had these kind words to say about our performance at Saturday morning’s Spirit of Edmonton breakfast. (The whole post is worth a read but, well, if I had to pick one paragraph it’d probably be this one.)
It’s never too early for Steve Hayman to bring his A-game. As always at the Spirit of Edmonton Breakfast (which, as you can see, is really a goldmine for material), we were treated to an MC making assorted jokes that range from the corny to the slightly blue. For a guy trying to work a room full of drunks on a Saturday morning, he did a fair job. But he had nothing on the leader of the beloved Argonotes, who came equipped with a dizzying array of one-liners – among them a solid one about Saskatchewan poised to match the number of Grey Cups won by Sarnia and Queen’s University, and…well, truthfully, we can’t remember the others, on account of the nature of the event. But trust us, he was very funny. And we maintain that the Argonotes’ cover of BTO’s Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet is genuinely more enjoyable than the original.
strolling around Toronto
I’m lucky I didn’t get fired for having the band play inside the Apple store at the Eaton Centre.
The CFL Pep Band Summit
Just before the parade we hosted the Saskatchewan band for lunch at our favourite pregame hangout, Joe Badali’s which – what do you know – turned out to be the starting point of the parade. (Photos of summit to come, once I can find them.)
parade? what parade? who said anything about a parade?
There was no official Grey Cup Parade, which naturally caused a lot of sneering in western Canada about those high faluting Toronto hipsters who are too cool for the CFL etc etc etc – any Argo fan has been hearing this for decades – but that didn’t stop anybody. Naturally we got together with the Saskatchewan band, the Calgary Grey Cup Committee (who host the annual pancake breakfast and do the horse-in-a-hotel routine) and various fan groups and decided we’d all meet at the corner of Front and Simcoe on Grey Cup Saturday for the ..
the Not the Grey Cup Parade
The theory being that parade permits were super expensive, but protest marches were free, so it wasn’t a parade, it was a protest march objecting to the lack of a parade.
We started at Front and Simcoe, went west on Front (mostly on the sidewalk), turned south on John St over the bridge to Skydome, and wound up at the Convention Centre.
We may have tipped off the media in advance. Rob Leth of Global did a fantastic report.
Right at the start of that report, and again towards the end, you can see a Winnipeg fan hugging a Saskatchewan fan named June Trueman, who was a delightful member of the Saskatchewan pep band and who, sadly, passed away last month. June was a founding member of the Saskatchewan band and seemingly everybody’s favourite alto sax player. It was always a pleasure to seek her out and say hello. Thank you, June.
I remember turning around during the parade and seeing this incredible mass of humanity following along, which was pretty amazing for a non-event that we only started “planning” a couple of days before.
post parade performances
Here are a few Youtube clips of band performances that day
Post-parade, Super Tequila at the Convention Centre
Grey Cup Sunday, Surfin’ USA in the fountain outside Skydome
Geez, that fountain was a good spot. I’m glad nobody found the switch to turn on the pumps, though. We got a nice picture there, and then moments later the fountain was swarmed by Saskatchewan fans.
as a proud Canadian band, isn’t it a little weird that you keep playing “Surfin’ USA”
how about we call it “Surfin’ PEI.” Happy now?
did we get into the game?
Yes. The league graciously gave us some passes to get in, although we didn’t have any seats so we had to find obstructed-view unsold seats. The Saskatchewan band got in, of course; they always buy tickets. What? Buy Tickets? Who does that?
more photos and video
See more from 2007 on the band web site here.
was it fun?
are you kidding? it was the best. What’s more fun than getting together with your friends, even your friends from Saskatchewan, and making some music?
We never sounded better than we did playing in that fountain. I remember Dave Keith telling me “You know what, by the end of the season, we actually sound tight.”
Imagine what we would have sounded like if we’d ever had a rehearsal.