Today’s short flight took us back into France after a glorious day off in Barcelona, one of our favourite stops on any tour, more on that tomorrow as we play there. Our final show in France on this fabulous tour was in the delightfully medieval setting of Carcassonne and its fortified city walls, within which the stage was to be set. The Carcassonne festival is one of the major cultural events in the South of France which hosts over 80 events in its duration.
The load in for our intrepid crew was obviously something to behold as our keyboard tech, Jules kindly sent me a couple of images from the eventful afternoon. Less ‘eventful’, more ‘waiting’ I suppose as the crew would have had to wait for each ‘pallet’ of equipment to be craned over the huge city walls.
The back stage areas were a complex array of underground rooms, some large, some small but all with original Roman walls. I lay on one of the couches in the dressing room for a while and my mind drifted back to a time of Kings, Crusades and Conquerers….and before, Roman times. This fortification clearly originates in Roman times but additions continued into the latter Medieval ages. Looking up at the complex arched stone ceiling of the room, I wondered how the architects of the time planned such magnificence. With walls at least ten feet thick, we’re talking about some serious stone masonry here. Even though we were treated to some of the finest Sushi on the plane journey here, all this thought about hard working Romans made me think of food! I decided to take a wander to Catering which was quite a walk back into the old city, through some public areas filled with tourists milling around with cameras. I found Dave, Chris and George relatively relaxed as conditions today were pleasant. There was a beautiful fig tree in the courtyard were the dining areas were set up. Dave, being Dave decided that Fig Tart was on the menu. Hand Picked and heavenly.
Show time was soon upon us and the weather stayed on our side. Apparently the previous night saw the most spectacular of storms right overhead with torrential rain and dangerous lightening. If that had happened tonight, as Kevin our production manager told me, our show would have had to have been stopped until the danger passed. No such tempestuous conditions, just a VERY warm evening and a wonderful setting for a show. The audience filed in swiftly and we took to the stage at 9:30pm. Not quite as raucous as recent crowds but every bit as appreciative and definitely more ‘rural’. A quite special evening. Our only issue was with the thousands of miniature flying ants which were attracted to Simon’s lights more and more as the evening progressed.
With our final apres-encore farewells waved to France, we headed back out of the venue in a most convoluted but well planned route and were ‘Range Rovered’ to the steps of the waiting plane within 15 minutes. A short hop back into the evening heat of Spain and we were at our Mandarin hotel doorstep by 1am. It’s a nice hotel, the Mandarin, typical of all Mandarin hotels but if truth be known…the beach-bum in me misses the beachfront Hotel Arts. Out of the heat and into efficient air conditioned room, I lay on the bed, pondered a drink in the bar but didn’t quite make it. I guess I was tired.