This Isn't Kansas, Toto!
Jul 21, 2017
As Prism’s crew prepared the stage for the grandstand show at the Lloydminster Exhibition on the evening of July 13, talk backstage was we might see some prairie winds later that night. Looking up at the evening sun in the warm azure sky, the prospect seemed unlikely. Helix had just finished a stellar rocking set, and the two bands were clowning backstage with video selfies in front of the caravan dressingrooms.
The stage call came, Prism waited in the wings to walk out and start the first song, when a tornado struck like an explosion. In an instant the drums were blown over, microphone stands and anything else standing, too. The rigging and lighting trusses high overhead were swaying and rattling, as the huge backdrop broke loose and snapped in the wind.
The crowd in the grandstands ran for cover, some panicking. The entire Exhibition was evacuated, with instructions over the speaker system to enter the nearest concrete building.
This included entertainers and crew, but nobody was leaving without a hasty attempt to rescue equipment. For a couple of us that meant various guitars. The caravan dressingrooms were no safe haven, so everyone tossed precious gear into the trucks, in the hopes the trucks themselves wouldn’t blow away.
Voices heard shouting over howling winds that we might be able to resume the show when the storm passes were soon quelled as the venue went into blackout.
In the concrete sanctuary of the Exhibition corporate offices, clutching coffees and Red Bulls, we noted that in all the years Prism has dodged the bullets of touring, from near plane-crashes through flash powder burns and exploding gear, this was the first time we ever showed up to not play at all.
There’s a first time for everything … or nothing at all.