On Friday I was itching to go. I made a post here, critiquing my passenger Uncle Meat for wanting to stop at both Walmart and Value Village before hitting the Sausage Road. He’s a grown man and could be a little better prepared…but I too am a grown man who can admit when he is wrong. And I was wrong. The Walmart and Value Village stops were actually two of my favourite things that happened.
“I wanna stop at the Walmart up by St. Jacobs,” said Meat. Cool. I try to make a point of checking the toy section at every Walmart, because it’s the out-of-the-way ones where you can find the rare stuff. I made a beeline and lo! One, two, three, four, FIVE brand new Transformers figures. I grabbed all five and hit the checkout, so excited about my excellent find. These are toys that collectors are having a hard time finding anywhere. This led directly to…
“I want something ridiculous,” said Uncle Meat as we hit the T-shirts. Immediately, I spotted an Optimus Prime shirt waiting right there for me, the first shirt we saw. My size! I then found rather quickly a bright orange George Jones “The Living Legend” shirt. It had to come with us to Sausagefest. Finally, after going through just about every shirt in the store, Meat found it like destiny:
These two stops really set the tone for the whole weekend. They were:
1. Everything coming together perfectly, and
2. Dr. Dave Haslam’s hate-on for Optimus Prime.
I love when a plan comes together.
One plan that did not come together was my tent, which broke immediately just out of the box. Fortunately you can always count on certain Sausagefesters to always bring gorilla and/or duct tape. The tent weathered both nights.
The Countdown began promptly at Whenever O’clock and rapidly ticked down 50 + 2 tracks in one night, plus numerous bits and sketches. 50 +2?
We lost one of our own this year and Rush’s “Dreamline” was played in his honour. Many were decked in neon orange in honour of his old orange boiler suit. Troy was a truly good soul, a human being with a solid heart of gold. He always made me feel welcome from my first Sausagefest on, and many years before that too as we had friends in common. “Learning that we’re only immortal for a limited time” was a poignant lyric, but what really made it special was a tribute that Jeff Woods himself recorded for it. The Legend of Classic Rock participated in a sketch/tribute that made eyes wet and some bellies laugh. The tone was flawless and it is truly good to know what integrity looks like up close and personal.
“Dreamline” was not part of the official countdown, nor was a bit that I snuck into my own intro as a part of The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming”. I sandwiched my personal introduction into Jeff Russo’s “Main Title” from Star Trek: Discovery, a show I’ve been hyping all year long. Russo (of the rock band Tonic) composed a dramatic, striking piece working in elements from the original show. I’m glad to have a chance to showcase it in its entirety, albeit with a long interlude of my shit in the middle.
Don’t forget the two minutes of “improvised scatting”, precisely because Troy would have hated that kind of shit! And it was so funny that I couldn’t breathe for two minutes straight. The Countdown (all a blur to me now) ran from #100 to 91 (10 songs total) with no comedy bits, because Troy always said “Less talk, more rock!” They cut the crap and just played the tunes.
I can tell you that we heard Styx that night (“Mr. Roboto” and “Light Up”), some Five Alarm Funk, Beastie Boys, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Willie Nelson, and…a blur of songs and comedy. There were a few rap tracks this year, certainly a record number. Afroman and Cypress Hill made their debuts. A list is forthcoming.
50 more tracks to count down.
Uncle Meat was up early (for him) at 9:30, and in great spirits despite a bad back the night before. We made our way to Flesherton where Uncle Meat destroyed the men’s toilet at the Flying Spatula. Emerging from the washroom he announced to the world, “Don’t use the one on the left!” He annihilated the toilet again on our way out, and that of an outhouse on the way back to the farm. I felt bad for the next guy in line waiting to use the outhouse, but Meat made it out of there really quick.
But I digress. The Flying Spatula was a great ol’ time even though the Lamb Lord got mad at me for taking a picture of his food.
Back on the farm, we played a cool game I call “Knife Chucking”. It’s kind of like axe throwing, but more special because those daggers were hand-forged by our very own Chuck. And it was way fun! A knife actually got lost in the dirt, and then plowed over by mistake by tractor. But we found it as a team with a metal detector (for real!) and a rake!
I goaded Dr. Dave to rant some more about the Transformers. Man, he really hates the Transformers. Do not watch this video if you are easily butthurt!
The second night commenced with lamb, perfectly marinated and cooked to medium by our chef the Lamb Lord. It was gone so fast that Uncle Meat didn’t even get a slice.
The rock resumed. The Blues Brothers was #1…Clutch #2…and Twisted Sister at #3 with “Burn in Hell”. More Five Alarm Funk, Queen, Tool…just a blur of songs. But probably most impressive to some of us: “Grendel” by Marillion, in its entirety. A 17-minute track within the top 20, and yet momentum was strong.
I have a literal Meat-ton of a video to sift through, but with perfect weather and setting, Sausagefest 2018 was once again utopia on Earth.
And a big, big, big thank you to Jeff Woods, the real Legend of Rock and Roll, for helping us out this year. Meat sent you a personal gift as well. I know you’re about 40 kilometers downriver from us in the valley. Uncle Meat kept having to shit that day sir. Meat took a shit in the river, and his shit signal should be with you by now. Mr. Woods, you are a huge inspiration and truly a man among men.
And woman! One woman. Sausagefest has its first woman and she is one of the guys! A massive first that may have been overdue!
My sun baked skin is aching for the comfort of a shower. Enjoy the photos. Lots more to come.