Having completed the ‘recovery’, today felt like a gym day. Well aware from past visits, I knew the gym here at the Four Seasons in Lisbon was a bit special and so togged up and headed for the top floor. It really is breathtaking up there, the gym, kitted out with every machine imaginable is located in prime position with an incredible view of the city. “no more calls, we have a winner:” This gym wins ‘best gym of the tour’ hands down. A tentative workout later and I was noshing on the usual granola, bio yoghurt, fruit salad and coffee in the room again. It was a relaxed afternoon as show time this evening was scheduled for 10:30pm. We ended up leaving Lisbon at around 4pm and flew North to meet up with the production at the Multiusos Fontes Do Sar arena. A familiar place as recollections from 5 years ago when we were last here were surprisingly fresh in the memory. To say the venue building was a ‘dog’ would be a glorious understatement.
The day in very basic, slightly obscure images…Rooftop at the Ritz (Four Seasons), The Briggs and Riley ‘winner-spinner’ TORQ case which I can categorically announce is the BEST suitcase in the world. Outside the venue…spare seating and three generators.
We arrived using local ground transportation. A quick word about this. We are wonderfully used to our team of ultra-fabulous German drivers who I must say exhibit driving qualities and skills the likes of which are VERY rare these days. Our drivers are smooth, efficient, fast, technically brilliant, professional and to top it all they are really lovely guys. Local drivers can be a lottery. Very rarely you will find a driver who is competent but it’s usually a perfectly nice man who is simply, shall we say, in the wrong job. Enough said.
We arrived unharmed and in one piece and walked into the venue as usual, escorted by Kevin Hopgood, our intrepid production manager. Kevin always walks us to the dressing rooms and today there was a lift option. Mark, Glenn, Kevin and I stepped inside. The lift was small, hot and the button panel was loose. A sign? The lift creaked and elevated very slowly. It stopped and a light flashed. Then, nothing. For quite a long time, nothing. We were stuck. The temperature rose alarmingly quickly. I called Tim, tour manager who was wondering where we were. He called for the local production ‘bloke’ who had access to another ‘bloke’ with some sort of key. After about ten minutes, the doors were prized open and we stepped out. The lift had given up the ghost about 12 inches short of its destination. Still, at least the internet wasn’t working.
There was only one thing for it…catering. We were early of course. It was 6:30 and food wasn’t ready for another 15 minutes as Dave and Chris slaved away in what can only be described as a sweet smelling sauna. I opted for a piece of blackened Tuna with Salsa and headed back to the dressing room with a view to killing the 3 and a half hours until showtime with something useful. I fell asleep only to be woken abruptly by some venue jobsworth with a ladder and a radio which blurted white noise directly into my left earhole. He set his step ladder up right next to the small chair I was sprawled uncomfortably on and proceeded to screw a light bulb in which shone brightly into my peaceful space. “Whoah, Hola señor”….”can you turn that off please”. “Qué?”. Richard and I resorted to sign language and he was soon up the ladder with his little radio, undoing his misdemeanour. OK, I’m awake now. It must be nearing the end of the tour, I though to myself.
Having said all this, the show was to be a wonderful, spectacular affair with the local Galician crowd doing exactly what they always seem to do here, have a great time. They were SO up for it in the sweltering arena and by the time 10:30 rolled along, I think we were all ready for a show. We took to the stage to an almighty roar and launched into our first number. The low end on my side of the stage was enormous, it felt like I was sitting on a giant earth moving vehicle at high revs. Strangely, where Glenn was, there was NO bass. This isn’t particularly unusual for these types of halls as anything can happen. We relax in the knowledge that Dave (FOH) would sort it out and the audience would be treated to at least a decent mix, tough in this venue for sure. Nonetheless, we all had a great, if not sweaty time up there and the Galicians were as happy and generous with their applause as any crowd in the world.
For the band, it was then a late night flight across the entire width of Spain in to Barcelona, finally arriving at our hotel around 3am. By the time the bags were delivered, it was 4am before sleep was upon us once more.