The incredible, if not fortunate Juan José Padilla…
There was a brief respite today with the weather in Madrid as it rained. I’m not sure I recall ever seeing rain here. It meant that the temperature dropped to the very comfortable mid-70’s. No such comfort for the crew who were loading in after another long overnighter and the dust bowl that is the Malaga bullring. Our regular late Spanish departure from Madrid meant we arrived at the venue at around 7:30. Tonight’s show was scheduled for 10:30pm. The latest yet. We were all looking forward to seeing Chris Ortiz who is our promoter for the next two shows, but also Vicente Amigo who along with his son and a couple of friends was coming to the show tonight.
The first stop for the band was of course catering and I asked Georgie what I was going to have and she pointed without hesitation at the Calimari and Shrimp Squid Ink Pasta with white wine and cream sauce. Chris pulled me to one side so I could see him whip up this little bowl of heaven. It took all of two minutes before he handed me the dish. It was utter bliss. The Touring Cookbook has definitely been well received by the crew and band and it seems everyone is looking forward to trying out a few of the recipes at home after the tour.
Once I’d polished that off I headed outside and bumped into Vicente who was just arriving. Muchos abrazos. It was so great to see him. He bought along with him a guitar which he handed to Mark, as a gift. Mark was
as you might understand, overwhelmed. Vicente had commissioned four guitars to be made by a new luthier in Mexico and this was no.3. The luthier who made Vicente’s original guitar has retired from building but had told Vicente that this guy in Mexico was the best and the only luthier who should be building these guitars. It’s a beautiful instrument.
Pretty soon, showtime was upon us and the crowd had completely filled the bullring and were, as is always the case here in Spain, excitable. We took to the stage at 10:30pm exactly to an almighty roar and huge clouds of dust kicked up by the standing crowd and blown around the arena by the sea breeze which still had some punch. With the wind gusts audible on the vocal microphones we hammered our way through an incredible set which seemed to be utterly relished by this 9,000 strong Malaga crowd. A truly incredible experience that matched anything the band did in the days of DS in the 80’s and 90’s, the current line-up notched up show number 68 of the tour and it was as fresh in every way as the very first. What a band this is.
Our runner was slightly awkward as the roads around these bullrings can often be narrow and with about a million waiting taxi’s, semi-blocking our way the exit was painfully slow, then there were the traffic lights. It seemed like we waited an age at three sets before getting more than 30 yards from the building. Inevitably, we were spotted by a few exuberant fans who tried their hardest to coax us into signing autographs, with 9,000 people pouring out of the bullring, it was suddenly dangerous to remain stationary. With the help of a few quick thinking security guys from the venue and promoter, we were away and on our way back to the airport for the return trip to Madrid.
A day off tomorrow, the final one of this incredible tour and I could think of few better cities in which to spend it.