One would never want to say that this type of tour is “hard work”. That would come across as so much whining and as being completely disingenuous to the systems analyst sitting in traffic as part of his ninety minute morning commute or the business manager cramming herself into the subway on route to another useless morning meeting. Drudgery is hard work and this is far from drudgery. Yes, it takes a lot of planning and frustrating false starts and the occasional leap of faith, and the hidden expenses usually gobble up most of the less-than-expected-income, but once you have partially rid yourself of the nausea of the twenty hour journey and your body stops throbbing, and you get over the $1700 excess baggage fee, you find yourself on top of a wrought iron viewing platform designed by an apprentice of Gustav Eiffel, with a 360 degree view of downtown Lisbon, with lively Rossio Square to the North, Sao Jorge castle sitting high above the city to the East, the skeletal remains of Convento do Carmo sitting within a stones’ throw to the West and the vast port of Lisbon, the one-time commercial center of the world, to the South. It is then that you take a long, deep breath and think…”I am one lucky son-of-a-bitch”.
And to top it all off, once you have finished aimlessly ambling through the streets of Lisbon and marvelling at the centuries old alleyways, nooks and crannies of the Alfama district (Lisbons oldest neighborhood), you get to go and play your music in front of 1200 excited people who have been anticipating your appearance for months. I don’t say this out of any desire for self-aggrandisement, but simply to, once again, say thank you to those of you whose interest and appreciation for what we do has allowed us to live this fairytale existence for the past twenty-five years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The gig tonight was at the relatively new and exceptionally beautiful Centro Cultural de Belem. A cultural, marble palace built in the late 1990’s, back when the economy allowed for such “frivolities”. It is just up the street from the world famous Belem Patisserie, so we journeyed down there after soundcheck to check out their renowned custard tarts (the secret recipe for which is known by only three people in the world). They were unbelievably tasty…such hardship, but someone’s got to do it. It was a fantastic gig tonight in front of an appreciative and enthusiastic audience: an excellent start to our little working holiday.