Clashing with the Madrid Marathon in more ways than one, the first day off of the tour found us arriving at the Villa Magna hotel at 2am. We were subjected throughout the night to the construction of the start-line paraphernalia right outside the hotel on the Paseo de la Castellana then at 6am sharp, the PA was fired up. They didn’t hold back. For four straight hours the motivational pounding consisted of ‘Highway To Hell’, ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Chariots Of Fire’ etc. SO loud that the ceiling in my Hotel room seemed to be answering back, the hidden plumbing rattling like it wanted to be free. Not a wink of sleep. Never mind, it’s a day off and in Madrid an opportunity to sample some of the loveliest food in Europe.
As always, the good spots are filled with locals and tough to get into so I booked and Danny and I headed to the family run Casa Lucio. Huevos Rotos like never before! True to form in these places, the owner makes an appearance and the clientele pose for pictures, in this case, Lucio Blázquez. We make it back to the hotel in one piece but my gastronomic day isn’t over as friends in Madrid offer to take me out to dinner at another local family institution, O Grelo where I am treated to a stunning evening of Galician fish culinary wizardry which included my favourite, Percebes and a delicious Ribeiro wine served ICE cold from a jug. Ribeiro is similar to Albariño but slightly more sparkling and slightly ‘musty’. Incredible with fish.
Sunday morning, show day and I had work to do. As large elements of my rig are now software based I am able to make changes and create layers and sounds on the laptop. As well as enjoying Roland hardware, I’m running Mainstage, Ableton Live and using Lemur (controller app) on an iPad. I set about correcting a few elements I wasn’t happy with in the first two shows.
As it was a Sunday, I was expecting a slightly more subdued crowd for the show but the audience in the WiZink Center were incredible. The two and a half hour show seemed to fly by which is always a good sign. Half of the band ran back to the hotel and half stayed for a dressing room drink. I ran along with Mark to meet friends in the hotel bar afterwards. These included Hugh Hudson, director of the movie ‘Altamira’ Mark and I worked on and also of course ‘Chariots Of Fire’. How funny.