Lisboa has a rich and fascinating history which has been mentioned in previous diary entries from here. It truly is a unique city, the oldest in fact in Western Europe and has a strong connection with Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture, once attention is drawn to it, you see it everywhere. The areas known as Chiado and Bairro Alto are wonderful to walk through in the daytime and at night are the hub of city’s nightlife and exciting sub-culture scene. So different from when I first came here in 1981 and promptly contracted a horrible stomach due to my naivety about drinking local tap water. The food in Lisbon is reason for a visit alone. Seafood heaven! One other thing to mention for travellers, it’s dirt cheap. A holiday here is never going to break the bank and with a breathtaking coastline that attracts surfers, windsurfers and golfers, it’s high priority on my list for return visits. As I’m still in recovery mode from that bug last week, I opted out of any golf activity. I’ll just have to come back.
Show day and our venue this evening is to be a small football stadium 15 minutes to the West of the city centre. The temperature was in the mid 80’s but the wind, coming from the North was a steady 18 knots, gusting 40! word came from the crew that it could potentially be a problem for the show as the forecast was for no respite. The Ukulele went flying across the stage at one point (no great shame there, some will say) and soon after, Jim’s B3 lid actually blew off, breaking the wood. Now that’s wind. The roof structure had to be completely stripped of any wind collecting material and the lighting rig trimmed down. Microphone stands were practically nailed to the floor and guitars could obviously not be left on stands. Glenn decided against using the double bass at all as in this wind, it acted akin to a 2.5 sq. meter windsurfing sail unattached to a board. The whistle of the wind whipping through the netting at the rear of the stage was the predominant sound in the in-ears as I checked them out with Kerry in the late afternoon. “Batten down the hatches and off we go”.
Fortunately, about an hour before show time, whilst a few of the chaps were getting hair trims in the band quiet room…there seemed to be a reduction in wind strength. Sure enough, by the time we donned our ‘ears’ it really wasn’t all that bad, just the occasional gust which kept the front line boys on their toes. Mike and John did a sterling job with their ‘wind’ instruments and the in-ear mix to me sounded as good as any on the tour. You just never know in this game!
‘Lisboetas’ love a party, this is known but they are also known to be a very easy going people and the audience at tonight’s show, showed us both ends of their excitability scale. The venue was seated and there was no real barrier at the front of stage, just a few potted plants. As the set went on, it was clear they were very respectful of the music and each other. By the time we got to the encores however, they were up, still respecting the plant-barrier and by the end of the show, they were screaming and smiling as much as anywhere in the world. A truly fantastic night and a runner back to the hotel where the effects of the wind took effect and I slept as if I’d been windsurfing (without the muscle ache).
Only two more shows to go on this best of all tours. Where did the time go?