Santiago de Compostela, Spain...28 July, 2010
We said goodbye to Lisbon this afternoon and flew to Santiago de Compostela in north western Spain. What little we saw from the airport to the venue was beautiful. The bones of St. James the Apostle rest here and while it's been disputed for hundreds of years whether or not it is him, Santiago is a destination of pilgrimage.
Our own Mike McGoldrick and John McCusker have played here many times since they were teenagers as there's a strong tradition of Celtic culture, folk music and festivals in Santiago. Mike was telling us on the drive in about the different styles of playing of the Spanish pipes.
We arrived at tonight's venue, Multiusos Fontes de Sar, a modern circular venue, much like an enclosed bull ring, large floor area surrounded by seating, however it is not used for bull fighting. For all it's modernity, if there was air conditioning in the facility, it wasn't turned on. It was hot, muggy and definitely lacked oxygen. We spent a couple of sluggish hours backstage waiting to go on, the high point being a spectacular chicken burrito, guacamole and Spanish rice whipped up by our catering stars Chris and Angus...delicious and massive. We all asked half portions, more than enough even though we could have eaten more.
Hot as it was, we were in for a surprise when we took the stage, it was noticeably hotter and muggier than the dressing rooms. Absolutely soaked by the third song, but an incredible show, one of the best of the tour and the audience was brilliant as they've been throughout this run in Spain. Midway through the show the large loading doors around the back of the stage were opened as the sun had set and it wouldn't ruin the lighting and finally a slight movement of cooler air began to circulate making the second half vaguely more tolerable. We left the stage after the final encore to tumultuous applause and cheering.
A runner from north-western Spain to the centre of the country, Madrid. Daniella had the most delicious steaks waiting, perfectly cooked with a spectacular mushroom sauce and roasted potatos. The meat cut like butter and we were all going on about it being the best steaks we've ever eaten...that good.
We'll begin experiencing many 'lasts' as we enter the final three days of this wonderful tour, beginning with this, our last hotel and a very late check in at that. Shortly after I got to my room I heard the sound of The Engineers pouring in from the next room which could mean only one thing, Guy Fletcher. With his speakers hooked up in a flash, he and Danny were already in progress when I went in. We were soon joined by Mike, John, a bottle of gin, loads of tonic and ice. Another couple hours of laughs before turning in at 4:30.