After a few days in Spain and France it’s back to Germany. The Spanish shows are always a little bit “seat of your pants” affairs, a lot of question marks going in. The Bikini in Barcelona was great, really good crowd. Very knowledgeable of rock and enthusiastic, this is true for most Spanish audiences. The crew at the Bikini was solid as well, house lighting guy Ramon helped me sort out their unique set of lights with a minimum of pointing, interpretive dance and mime and I think we were both pleasantly surprised by the outcome. On the down side, Steak a heavy rock outfit from the U.K. who were to open both shows in Spain had their van broken into after the show and lost a bunch of stuff and couldn’t do Madrid. Madrid is a beautiful city, I am not well versed in Spanish politics or society but to me Barcelona is more of an international city and belongs to the world, along the lines of New York or Paris but Madrid seems to be very Spanish. The place we play here is called Arena, we have played here a bunch of times and the name has changed more than once. Unfortunately the club itself hasn’t changed. It’s a large dank shithole that seems like it was built in the eighties as a dance club. A lot of tile and mirrors that’s now moldy,cracked, faded and sticky. The load-in and out is one of the worst on any tour, a black mark on a tour schedule. However, it’s always a great show (which I guess is the fucking point, isn’t it). The lighting guy, Ivan is one of best guys I’ve worked with. They don’t have a ton of lights but he makes all of them count and it’s the perfect spot for our video/op-art projections. And the audience, I can’t emphasize enough how great Spanish audiences are. So while the room is dismal, everything (except for the stage monitors) that goes into it makes it a great show. With Steak unable to perform, local band The Men on the Silver Mountain opened the show, a ten piece vocal outfit who did a cappella versions of Ronnie James Dio songs. It was interesting but I don’t think I could stand a steady diet of it, the crowd seemed to dig it though.
Then onto Paris, where we played a sold out show at La Flèche d’Or, a small place that used to be a railway station, another great crowd. Although Paco (merch guy, calming influence, living saint) said there was a couple of Parisians who were quite upset that he didn’t speak more French (he speaks enough to sell a shirt). It was also the return of Church of Misery, who played a few shows in Italy and Switzerland while we were in Spain. I’m glad these guys are back, it’s a blast to see them play every night and they’re really nice people. Nine shows left.
Some of my shorthand for what is programmed on the lighting desk, there’s usually 10 to 20 sliders and a few different pages.it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but it keeps things exciting.