This week I learned something I already knew. Eleven shows in eleven days is too many. Especially when the offstage time is divided between short hours in a cold hotel bed and long hours in a van. At a pace of six on and one off — an ancient tradition codified in religion — it’s possible to roll along week after week. To tell the truth, I was shocked when I first saw the Spanish tour schedule. We’d played some big festivals last summer and our music has been spinning on the national Radio Three, so we’ve been gaining a following in Spain. How could I complain? I tried to make it a bragging point. Eleven shows in eleven days! Look at us!
On day eight I started to cough. On day nine it got worse and my nose started running. On the morning of day ten I bought some cough and cold medicine at a farmacia near the hotel in A Coruña. Pepe looked at the label later and confirmed it was the right stuff. But the medicine didn’t work right. At sound check that afternoon in Avilés, some of the others stripped down to T-shirts, but even with my coat zipped to the neck I was aching and shivering. I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. Back in the dressing room Franher lent me a pair of leather gloves.
This was the biggest audience of the tour, a sold-out show at the Factoria Cultural. I went on stage wearing a T-shirt, a shirt, a sweater and another heavy shirt over that, and never broke a sweat. I think it was good show, but I don’t remember much about it. Mark, Franher and Paolo played well, as always. I’ll confess to some sloppy moments, which seemed to strike from out of nowhere. It was a great crowd, and I gave them all I had. After the show there was nothing left. The others went with the promoter for a midnight dinner. I headed straight to bed and barely made it.
Our final show of the tour at El Zagal in Aldeamayor de San Martin was a lot of fun. I ditched the medicine and the cold came back with a vengeance, but I could deal with that. This was a free-admission show on a Sunday night, and the place was packed. We mixed it up with them pretty good. Spanish audiences are wonderful. They just don’t come any better.
Eleven shows in eleven days.
Photo (top) – Tito Fernández
Photo (Avilés): Ayto Avilés
Photo (bottom): Fran Cea