Italy continues to feel the high temperatures of an African anticyclone that has sent temperatures soaring. The remarkable heat is now reaching epidemic proportions and with no sign of it letting up, the next few days are going to be really tough.
The band will of course whinge and moan a little, grinning and bearing it but for the crew, it’s a little more serious. Their load-ins and set-ups will be taking place in the middle of the day when the sun is at its most devastating and today in Padova, this was clearly seen. By the time the band arrived, a few of the crew were suffering some sort of heat exhaustion. Thank goodness their buses are well air conditioned. Even by the time we took to the stage at 9:45pm, the temperature was in the low 30’s.
The Piazzola sul Brenta is a small municipality in the province of Padua about 45 km’s West of Venice which is where we flew in to today from our delightful overnight stay in the Swiss Alps. Last night’s hotel was a refreshing change from our normal city-based abodes and the air, naturally was clear and fresh, albeit warm. The thunderstorms in the area continued to rumble away and our departure time was pushed back which meant a sound check was cancelled. Just as well really as the afternoon temperatures meant any stage work with guitars would have jeopardised the well being of these precious instruments. I’m sure Mark’s National steel would have been unplayable in such heat and strangely, I felt sorry for the Hammonds. I don’t really know why as I’m sure many B3’s have whirred away in churches in the Southern states of the US in midsummer’s ferocious temperatures.
Keeping the B3 cool…
In catering, which was the same venue as it was two years ago (where I shot a lot of images for the Touring Cookbook) the temperature was unbelievable. Those boys prepare all the meals in these conditions. Just sitting down and eating was almost unbearable as sweat literally poured from the body.
By the time we left the stage, we were all completely soaked, so it was shirts off in the car during the drive back to Venice airport. Unfortunately, I neglected to put a dry shirt in the car so just a small hand towel sufficed until we arrived at the terminal. With few GA terminals in Italy, getting on board the plane is a typically lengthy process as we are transferred to buses which take us to a security check point and then onto the tarmac to the plane (much like ‘normal’ air travel..we all do it)… We landed in Rome and the process was reversed which included a long walk through the terminal building amongst some very tired looking late night travellers on bucket airlines waiting for their baggage. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was 3am. Tired wasn’t the word, although I still felt for the crew who I’m sure would relish the day off tomorrow.