Yesterday was a day off under Paris skies. I got up late, fell into a sidewalk café for an omelette fromage and cappuccino then walked for a couple of hours. It is a city that's quintessentially what you want it to be, beautiful, continental, sophisticated, vaguely arrogant, warm and breezy. It's the Paris you saw in the movies, the Paris of Life Magazine, the Paris of your imagination. I began a new book that I cannot put down, Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx, a gift from Emmy....fantastic story and brilliant writing. To dinner with Guy, Stuart and Danny at the fab La Coupole, then back to the hotel for a night cap. A grand and restful day off.
This morning found me again at an outdoor table having breakfast and caffe, more walking and then off to our show at Le Zenith. We played this venue in '96 and '01, both times a steaming hell hole of a place, but tonight took the biscuit. As Parisian temperatures soared into the 90's, Le Zenith, an inflated derrigible of a building with no visible air conditioning or ventilation system, cooked above the 100 degree mark. The venue's idea of air movement is to open the doors and loading docks in hopes of letting some air in. The fucking place should be shut down. At some point one of our crew took a reading on stage of 115 degrees. After sound-check a half dozen electric fans arrived, were assembled and placed strategically around the stage for the show. What it must have been like in the audience I can only imagine especially for those seated in the upper tiers. Still, the blistering temps failed to dampen the spirit, it was a terrific audience as the French always are and together we sweated out a great gig. We were completely saturated by the end of the show and I must rate this as one of the two hottest show, the other being an old German U-boat factory in Hanover on the 1996 Golden Heart tour, another place with zero ventilation. Also a problem tonight with over active security during the encore when fans are allowed to come to the front of the stage. Our own Peter Mackay came to the rescue calling them down, prompting Mark to comment on mic about "the stupid security".
Back at the hotel our friend Philippe Cohen-Solal was waiting. You might recall from last year's notes that Philippe is a great club DJ and record producer based in Paris who is having much success with the Gotan Project, traditional tango music with a twist. His newest album "Lunatico" has just been released and is a hit and he's beginning a tour of this project, a big band complete with string section and loads of visuals. If the Gotan Project is playing in a city near you I highly recommend it. Always great to see Philippe and catch up with him.
Tomorrow we are off to Barcelona for the last show of this all too short European tour.