It was ciao con amore to Italy this afternoon as we left for our show in Zagreb. I came down a few minutes early for a final hit of espresso prior to departing for the airport and got it at the cafe/bar next to the hotel. What a hit, two double espressos like rocket fuel. Now we're ready.
Not only was it farewell to old Italia, but a fond farewell to three of our pals and drivers, Eike, Gunther and Alex, great guys every one of them. Sadly the quality of transportation and driving skill drops dramatically when we go to North America and we will sorely miss our German driving buddies.
A short hop to Zagreb and a drive through the city to the venue, Dom Sportova. The route we took was a little bleak, old style Russian grey and utilitarian buildings while the modern ones differed only slightly in that they were covered in grey mirrored glass. As for the Dom Sportova, it was downright horrible, hands down the winner of the worst venue. The backstage area reeked of raw sewage but at least it was warm and airless. As for the audience seating, it consisted of those moulded, white plastic chairs you see on the decks of summer rental cottages and are sold in every grocery, drug and discount shoppe. Very odd. Apparently a squad of bomb sniffing dogs had gone through the place as well. If there had been any explosives in the joint the dogs would never get a whiff of them above the putrid air. Horribly rank. We sat backstage and reminisced about all the shit gigs we've played in our day. Seems we'd come full circle. That is, until.........
We hit the stage at something past nine and all was forgiven. A full house of nearly 7,000 brilliant fans gave as much to us as we did to them. From the worst venue emerged one of the best gigs all the way around. Mark was playing his brains out, the band never sounded better and the overall sound was brilliant.
A runner to the Legacy, and in an hour and forty-five minute, plus an hour jump in time, we landed in Istanbul where we will base over the next few days. 5 a.m. before head hit the pillow