The summer of 2003 in Ottawa, and a lot of southern Ontario, was one of rolling blackouts and energy chaos. The event was so “huge” it even has its own Wikipedia page.
While most people were swearing and angry about the extreme heat in August and having no access to air conditioning, I ended up experiencing an amazing event. The Bouncing Souls were scheduled to play on August 14, but I had to miss it due to football practice. The power was knocked out at Babylon for the sold-out show, so the band ended up playing an acoustic set in the backalley! Hot Water Music, who were touring with them, also played an acoustic set. I found this out and was even more bummed out that I missed out.
You are probably asking…where is the good news? Well a few days later, when walking by Babylon with my buddy Alex I saw that The Bouncing Souls were going to play an afternoon show to make up for their missed set. And the best part was they would be doing so in an hour. We pulled out our hacky sack and killed an hour in line super excited. Turns out the band played in T.O. on the 15th, London, ON on the 16th, and then drove back to Ottawa on their only day off in over two weeks to play an afternoon set on a Sunday. They then took off to Thunder Bay for their show on the 18th. Now that is dedication, and a way to make fans for life.
The show was amazing! Greg, the lead singer looked a little sluggish for the first few songs, but the band was flying through an excellent set. I think Greg fed off the energy of the crowd as all of a sudden he snapped back to his old dancing and joking self mid-set. I had an absolute blast singing and dancing all show. The show peaked when they played their encore and invited everyone on stage to sing “True Believer.” I was 14 years old and had never been up on stage with a band before. Sure there were a bunch of us, but it felt so special cause it was during my favourite song and it was with the freaking Bouncing Souls! Magical.
Check out an awesome excerpt I found from an interview published on Epitaph’s website in 2003:
Adam (interviewer): So who is your weirdest fan?
Peter (guitarist): This guy in Ottawa.
Greg (Vocals): He was AWESOME! Tell the story!
Peter: We were playing Ottawa the day of the blackout, and then the blackout happened and we couldn’t play. So we started playing acoustic outside, but there’s this kid with this giant red curly fro. He’s like screaming at us, like song titles and “YEAAAHHH!! OI OI OI OI!! I’M A HOPELESS ROMANTIC!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!” Like so loud, and we had no amplifiers. And it was awesome because there were all these kids sitting around us-it was a sold-out show and no one could go back in the club after the power went out. So we went out in the alley and us and Hot Water Music were sitting and playing acoustic guitars, and all the kids sat around. And this one kid was just SCREAMING.
Greg: FULL VOLUME SCREAMING. It was amazing to see, this kid.