Please note… Paella is not Spain’s national dish, most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. It has ancient roots but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the Albufera lagoon, adjacent to the city. OK. That’s that cleared up. 

Away we go, three cities in a day… Barcelona in the morning and the glorious early Summer sunshine, we signed a few autographs outside the Mandarin before heading towards the airport, past a beautiful old bullring that doesn’t want to be a shopping centre, and onward to the plane for a short, smooth hop along the coast to Valencia. There we were met by our second team of drivers and whisked to the Plaza de Toros de Valencia in time to witness Dave and Chris preparing the most delicious dinner. 

Even several hours after load-in, the air was dry and very dusty. This can potentially be an irritant for the gear and when I got to my rig, there was indeed a layer, the cling film on the two MacBook Pros not really doing much to protect. We might have to re-think this. I took a brief wander around the venue. Bullrings are fascinating places, especially active ones. I’m filled with morbid curiosity every time I look into the bullpens and see the earth and blood stains on the inner walls. 

Last time we were in Spain, in Barcelona pre-show, I met with a young boy, Fran who suffers from a debilitating condition that means he has spent most of his time since 2015 in therapy. I was very happy to be able see him again before the show today. During the show, his dad actually carried him to the barrier in front of centre stage where together they watched the last 5 or 6 songs amongst the happy throng. After the final encore, when the band was lined up at the front of the stage, I pointed Fran out to Mark who made a point of giving him a very special wave. 

Listening to the crowd with mild guilt as we escaped in darkness through the hallways, ducking our heads periodically as we negotiated the archways and discarded our in-ear sets into the correct name-labelled boxes, I had the sense we had made some sort of impression. Even through the haze that is commonly known as ‘2nd show’. The next thing I knew it was….

All aboard the joy jet. Having been humbled in so many ways during one day, you tend to consider the important things in life. I also use the word ‘humbled’ because that’s how this band describes coming off stage after the second show of the tour. These are times for celebration in that we are here and we are living it.