Herb Alpert and the Race To the GO Train

Peter and I have had some wonderful adventures in and around the city of Toronto, and we have been happy to share them with you. But sometimes things don’t go quite as planned.

A couple of weeks ago Peter saw an ad for a concert featuring Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass fame. Come on, admit it, you remember them from 50 years ago too. Their music was everywhere; on the radio, in movies, and on best-selling albums you could buy at Sam the Record Man. Anyway, Peter was intrigued and Herb was performing at Exhibition Place, only a one-stop ride on the GO train for us. So we found a date that worked, on a Saturday evening, and I went online to order tickets.

Tickets were scarce at this late date but I found a couple and signed up through Stubhub, a ticket site I was not familiar with. The tickets were confirmed. The next day we got a notice that our date had been changed from Saturday to Sunday. Perhaps the Saturday concert had sold out while my order was still in cyberspace. Or perhaps my very basic computer skills had failed me. But it didn’t really matter – we were free on Sunday too.

Two days before the show we received our virtual tickets. I checked the information: Sunday at 8:00 pm…in Hamilton? – oops! After my panic attack ended, I realized that actually we could still take the GO train – just more stops. The trip would be 75 minutes including a short bus ride, instead of the original 10. Peter suggested we go an hour early and have dinner in Hamilton before the concert. It would be an adventure!

But on Sunday the train was late arriving at our stop: it was packed with Blue Jay fans returning from the Rogers Centre. We arrived at the Hamilton stop 10 minutes late -thereby missing the bus connection. The short bus ride would not be starting for another hour! So the extra hour we had planned for dinner was spent at a deserted bus station with no restaurants, not even a Timmy’s, anywhere in sight. For our dinner we drank a bottle of water and ate some nuts Peter found in his pocket.

We did eventually make it to the concert just in time, and Herb Alpert, at age 88, played his heart out on his trumpet. We knew most of the songs: A Taste Of Honey, Spanish Flea, The Lonely Bull, and songs from the movies: Zorba the Greek and Casino Royale. He did some numbers with his wife, Lani Hall, including This Guy’s In Love With You. Hall, quite youthful at only 77, went on to sing several well-known tunes in her silky smooth voice. Many of us in the audience joyfully sang along.

The concert went on past 9:30, past Herb and Lani’s bedtimes, and ours too. We rushed out to search for a different GO station, where the final train for the night would be leaving for Toronto at 10:25. We didn’t want to miss this train: the idea of no dinner And no bed was wayyyy out of our comfort zone.

A couple of security guards near the concert hall directed us down James St. and they said we’d better hurry because the station was a LONG way. Utilizing our best hiking skills, we set out at full tilt. As we passed another couple, we wanted to confirm our route. “Is this the way to the West Harbour Go station?”

The couple were like fairy godparents. They told us that yes we were heading in the right direction, that their car was parked in the next block, and that they would drive us to the station. As they navigated their way on a route we would never have found by ourselves, they told us that they had been to the Herb Alpert Concert too. We shared our appreciation for those older musicians who still played and sang with such passion.

As we arrived at the station in time for our train, we also shared our appreciation for the lovely people in Hamilton who had saved us from a night on the street with no food. Even Herb Alpert wasn’t worth that price!


One of Herb Alpert’s best-selling albums.

4 thoughts on “Herb Alpert and the Race To the GO Train

  1. Great story. I have had many like it I attributed to older age😉😉. Latest example. I arrived in Venice yesterday with a 4 H drive to St Johann Austria. 91/2 hours later I arrived in the dark at this town in the Alps. ( many, many wrong turns). I slept 13 H last nite . Beautiful site when I got up at 2 pm.


  2. Great story. My Peter had some of his albums in his collection. My father adored him and his albums were well used on his Hi-Fi. Would have been a treat to see him. What an adventure to Hamilton.


  3. What an adventure – it made a great story. You tell it so well. You know how to turn an annoying situation to be fun for the reader and yourself. Online bookings are often not that easy.
    Your story ended well too. How wonderful that you got a ride to the go station.


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