Budapest is the capital of Hungary, one of 48 land-locked countries in the world. That means, no beaches, no surfing, no blue horizon. But there is water from under the ground, hence the Hungarian connection with bathing in spring water. The water is packed with minerals and is consequently health giving. I know that a couple of the crew make a point of locating swimming spots on the days off and Budapest will have provided with no problem. For me and 4 crew boys, it was golf.
A day off in Budapest before the show is perfect for catching up on rest and relaxation and most of the band did exactly that. Bleary-eyed from a late night music session in my room with Graeme and Danny, I jumped in a cab and met the crew golfers an hour West of town at the beautiful Pannonia Golf and Country club. The hospitality when we arrived was wonderful and we were soon on the first tee in beautiful weather enjoying the freshest of air and a stunningly maintained course. We enjoyed a perfect afternoon in the Hungarian countryside and I even managed to get a lift back with Martin, one of our van drivers as they were en-route from Munich and their ETA coincided nicely. Back at the hotel, Danny was hankering for a bowl of Goulash and the hotel recommended the Rézkakas Bistro across the square. It was fabulous, not least because they had a great live trio playing, Fiddle, Cimbalom and Double Bass. The food was spectacularly good.
The next day, I was feeling the ravages of over exertion. I felt my age, for once, and decided the gym was not going to happen today, as it would have done 20 years ago. I rested ALL day at the hotel before it was time for sound check and show.
Having arrived at the venue, the usual routine, drop bags and head for catering where Steve was just bringing out the soup. French Onion with Croutons. Sound Check involved a modification of one of the segues (the interlinking of two songs), as improvements can always be made, even this deep into a tour, my god, we are 47 shows in! The arena sounded great, so we expected a good show. Dinner for me was a spectacularly good Atlantic Butterfish with Salsa and Zucchini fries. Then it was to the dressing room for more rest. The show was simply stunning. The energy onstage was great. The band just come alive once we get up there and the audience was near perfect. The attention and respect during the set and then the seeing the unadulterated joy on the faces of everyone at the end is heartwarming.