Thursday, March 31, 2011

Public transport strike on Friday in Milan

I believe there's a public transport srike in Milan tomorrow so the only way out to the venue and around the city looks like its by taxi, just a word of warning to all coming to Milan.
**UPDATE: Looks like the stike is between 8:45 and 3:30 so travel to the venue by bus and train may still be available later on tonight.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barcelona day 4……

So i woke this morning after another bad night to find myself full of the cold i had started to get earlier on. Just didn't feel like doing a thing today which is a shame as I'm in Barcelona!! I'm just thankful I've been here 3 or 4 times before and done most of the sights so it doesn't feel as bad hanging around the hotel.

My laptop hard drive crashed yesterday so i found a small computer store that said they could put me a new hard drive in plus load windows on for a very reasonable price, i left it with them and told them id pick it up later in the day.

Headed back to the shopping centre next to the hotel and had a hot chocolate, that's all i could face really, i didn't feel like eating at all which IS unusual for me!

Made my way back to the hotel room and Kevin had just woke up and was sat surfing on his laptop, it was then i heard him say "crap its 1:30pm" he had no idea how long he'd slept and headed straight out of the door for breakfast! I needed a sauna, something to sweat out this cold but there wasn't one in this hotel and in the hotels across the street. i settled for a long soak in the bath

My view for the afternoon!             My hot chocolate

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I made my way up to the rooftop of the hotel again and relaxed in the sun for an hour or so before meeting up again with Jackie and Dave. Tonight was the first night of two shows in Barcelona and Jackie and Dave not having seen the show yet i was excited to see their reactions after the show and hear what they had to think about it.

My friend Matt from Guildford and his brother Steve had arrived in Barcelona earlier in the day and had texted me t say they would see us around 5 on the rooftop. We all had a few drinks before waking around to try find something to eat. We ended up at the same restaurant we went to a couple of nights earlier and had a pizza and a couple of drinks before making our way to the venue via a nice pastry store where we all got pastries and cakes for the exhausting walk up to the venue!

It took us about 40 minutes to walk up to the venue, its high up on the hills overlooking Barcelona and this is the route i took for my run earlier the other morning, however there are escalators that go all the way so as the older folk don't have to use the steps!

After getting to the top Jackie and Dave picked up their tickets and headed into the venue, Kevin was trying to secure a ticket for a friend and mat and Steve hung out for 5 minutes before heading in too. I met a nice guy called Dave (its such a common name!!) who had flown over from Portland just to see the two shows in Barcelona. He had seen the show in Tacoma in the USA last year and we spoke a little about the shows there and the size of that venue which is enormous!

(Jackie and Dave below using the escalators on the way to the show!) and Dave from Portland.

    

After having a chat to Dave i made my way inside the venue and found where Jackie and Dave's seats were. Had a chat to Matt and Steve who had taken their place on the floor right on the front rail to the left of the stage. As i made my way to the bathroom i bumped into Jackie and Dave who had just come from backstage having a chat with Dave K. The three of us made our way to their seats and sat in a seat right next to them. I was still feeling pretty ill and the thought of standing up for the whole show just didn't appeal to me tonight. I kept having hot flushes, my joints were aching and i just didn't feel 100% at all.

The show was yet again outstanding, the sound was the best I've ever heard it, probably better than any of the US shows too! it was loud and crystal clear. The crowd were on excellent form and very appreciative of every word Roger said in Spanish. It was great to sit next to two people whom hadn't see the show before, i pointed out a couple of things to watch out for before they happened and I'm sure had i not then a lot of things would have been missed! the plane, the shadow guy spray painting the wall and the instruments rising from the stage to name a few. The show seemed to go extra quick tonight, once again the second half flying by and being over in a heartbeat!

Jackie and Dave post show                The stage post show                            My “medicine” (Long island iced tea)

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W walked back down to the hotel after the show, had a drink and a snack in a bar on the way down and then headed over to Jackie and Dave's hotel for a few cocktails to finish off the night. We get to do it all again tonight and I'm excited to be taking Monica to see the show and am pretty sure she will love it!

Barcelona day 3.....

So i picked Kevin's sore throat and cold up last night, felt real crappy all day and didn't do much at all during the day. I wandered over to the shopping centre, had a bit of breakfast and then came back to hotel room to watch a film on the laptop,  then went up on the roof and had a few hours in the afternoon sun.
 
Id e mailed to a friend of mine, Monica, before i left the UK to see about meeting up with her while i was  in Barcelona. I met her about 5 years ago at a Nine In Nails gig in Birmingham with her friends, we got along great and had kept in touch by e mail every 12 months or so, maybe not even that often to be honest!
She sent me a text earlier in the day to say she was coming to meet us all at our hotel with her boyfriend George at about 6pm and gonna go out for dinner with myself, Jackie, Dave and Kevin.
I made my way up to the rooftop bar around 5pm and soaked a bit of sun in. Jackie and Dave arrived shortly afterwards, Kevin came up from the room 5 minutes later and Monica and George arrived around 6:15.
It was great to see Monica again and to also meet George, we hadn't met up  for 5 years and it was just like we had seen each other yesterday.
 
After a couple of drinks we decided to go eat and George suggested an Argentinian Tapas bar that they frequent. The Spanish always eat late and it was around 8pm when we left the hotel bar, by eating late i mean about 11pm at night!
It took us 15 minutes or so to get to the restaurant and it was a small cafe like place with 3 or 4 tables inside and a few tables outside on the pavement. it was not a tourist type place, it was full of locals and i heard very little (if any) English being spoke. It was great to have 2 native speaking friends with us who were able to not only order for us but also explain what everything on the menus was!
The restaurant was well known for their little pasties that has various fillings with from chicken, ham and cheese, chorizo sausage and beef. We let George order for us all, including the wine. It was still too early for George and Monica to eat though, they had only just had lunch at 5pm and wouldn't eat again till gone 11!
 
The food was fantastic, we had the pasties, bread, Iberian ham and a couple of other things along with the smoothest bottle of red wine I've ever had. Jackie and Dave had 2 huge salads that we saw prepared on the counter in front of us with the most meticulous detail topped off by a pansy flower on the top!
 
Jackie and Dave's salads                   Most people have flowers in their hair!    George, Kevin, Jackie, Dave & Monica
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They do this tomato break in Spain where they  slice a tomato in half and just rub it onto the fresh bread, they then throw the tomato away as they have got most of the inside and juice onto the bread.
After all the food and wine we asked for the bill and were amazed at the amount of 44 Euros! this was for all the food, the bottle of wine, plus a few cokes and beers that Monica and George had drunk! George then took us to one of his local bars before him and Monica saying their goodbyes and heading back to their apartment for their dinner! not before i persuaded Monica to come to the second nights show in Barcelona though :)
 
We had a drink at the bar and then walked back to the hotel, i had a crappy nights sleep and it was 4am before i managed to actually sleep, coughing and head cold kept me awake.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jackie and Dave on the way to the show tonight

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Ughh

Hard drive appears to have just failed on my Laptop, so blog posts might be a bit more infrequent till I'm able to fix it when I get home on the 10th April.
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Barcelona day 2………..

Went for a run this morning, i ran up the steps up to and past the “magic fountain” there were about 12 sections of steps and a total of 212!! my legs were burning like mad when i got to the top but it felt great, i then ran back the long way down, through the Olympic Park by the venue for tomorrows show and back down to the hotel, about 40 minutes in total and it felt great running in the warm weather for a change!

I went up to the rooftop and straight in the pool for 20 minutes before laying out on the terrace till nearly 2 o clock and enjoying the sunshine.

The banks of steps up past the “Magic Fountain”             My view for a couple of hours.

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After taking a shower i headed out across the street to look at the old Bullring which they have converted into an amazing shopping/restaurant/gym/cinema complex. It was only opened 4 days ago and although its still a bit dusty from construction inside and a few places are still yet to be leased the place is amazing! They kept the whole of the outside building of the old bullring and built a new building inside it. it looks like they then supported the whole outside on huge metal supports so it actually looks like the exterior is floating off the ground!

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The interior is full of shops, restaurants, bars and even has a 13 screen cinema in it. The top floor also houses a huge health spa with an amazing gym and has doors all the way round the outside leading to an outdoor running track that goes all the way round the building just below the rooftop so is also covered from what rain they do have out here in Barcelona.

Outdoor running track accessed from various doors in the gym

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You get an amazing view of Barcelona from the roof top and can walk a full 360` around and see for miles across the rooftops.

Couple of panoramas i took below, the first one you can see our hotel roof top pool on the left:

Barcelona panorama 1 small

Barcelona 2 small

More views from the roof:

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As i made my way back downstairs something Floyd related caught my eye in one of the stores.

Hammers                                           A fan on the roof!                             Kevin at the rooftop pool

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I've now just got back to the hotel, Its 4:30pm on Monday afternoon and Jackie and Dave are coming over at 6 for drinks on the roof top again before heading out for dinner.No show again tonight but there's 2 shows in a row tomorrow and the night after and we then fly down to Milan early Thursday morning. Gonna do the sightseeing bus tomorrow morning after another Run and have another friend

Album with more pictures and views from the Bullring rooftop below:

Madrid to Barcelona

Woke around 8:30 A.M, but it was 7:30 A.M. really, because we put the clocks back last night. Showered, packed, and headed out of the hotel to get the 10:30 train to Barcelona.
Had some breakfast at the station before taking our seats on the train. The trains in Spain and most of Europe are a fantastic way to travel. It's like taking an aeroplane! There's a person stood at each door in uniform to welcome you on the train, the seats are comfy and recline, and staff comes around with a set of headphones that plug into the seat for everyone as you're leaving the station--there are also TVs in the carriages showing films.
I managed to get an hour and a half's sleep when we left Madrid, and I woke with just over an hour to go before we arrived in Barcelona at 1:15 P.M.
We walked the short walk to our hotel and checked in without a problem. My friends Jackie and Dave had flown into Barcelona earlier this morning and were staying at a hotel across the street from us. I sent them a text, and half an hour later we were all sat on the rooftop deck at our hotel having a drink and basking in the Barcelona sunshine!
Kevin, Dave and Jackie by the pool       Dave and Kevin having their first beer    Jackie after her first vodka and Coke!
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The view from our rooftop pool              Jackie, Dave and Kevin in the sun         Even the locals drink here!
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Around 4 P.M. we all headed off for a siesta before meeting up again in the bar of Jackie and Dave's hotel. Two rounds of cocktails later, we made our way outside and started to search for somewhere to have dinner. After a 15 minute walk we found a nice Italian restaurant with tables and chairs outside and had an excellent meal and a bottle of wine. The temperature here is just right both day and night. It doesn't drop drastically at night, so it is still great to sit outside at 11 P.M!
We all made our way back to our hotels, said our goodbyes for the night, and headed up to bed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Madrid 2nd show

I didn't do much at all during the day yesterday. I didn't go to the gym since I had a bad headache during the night, and I still had a touch of it in the morning. Kevin’s been battling a cold for the last couple of days, so we both stayed in the hotel most of the day. I indulged in another one of the hotel's hot chocolates that you could literally paint the walls with--it's that thick! But it's good. :)
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As we then knew, the show didn't start till 9:30, so we made our way out to the venue around 7:30 and had dinner at the restaurant across the street where we ate the night before. It was a bit later, so the place was packed, and we ended up having to share a table. Two English girls had come over from the UK for the show and hadn't seen Roger before. They loved hearing Kevin's stories of traveling Europe for the last 18  years, and I gave them a card for my blog and told them to check it out when they get home. Hope you both enjoyed the show, and I look forward to seeing your comment! After dinner, we headed over to the venue, and I got chatting to two amnesty international guys. There were a lot of them around the entrance to sign people up, and they told me that Roger had specifically asked that Amnesty international be at the venue.
Two new Roger fans we met          Amnesty International reps
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Kevin and I made our way to the front left of the stage after entering the venue and stood in the same place we were for the first night--left side about three rows back from the barrier. The guys came out again  just after 9:30 to a rapturous applause, and the two guards threw Pink onstage.
One of the guards heading to the stage
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As seen in the pictures below, the words “No Fucking Way” were written in Spanish on the left hand side of the wall during Mother.
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After Young Lust we made our way right to the back of the venue to the first level behind the seats. It's amazing how much better the projections look from further back, and as much as I like being at the front, I would definitely recommend to anyone just seeing one show to watch it from at least halfway back to take in all the projections. You miss so much when you’re closer than fifteen rows out.
madrid panorama 1

After the first half we made our way backstage for a drink and to meet up with the guys. I first saw my friend Jose, whom I hadn't seen since Barcelona in 2002! He's a great guy, but it's always a touch difficult communicating, since he speaks very little English, and I speak even less Spanish! We always seem to manage, though. He’s been writing a book on The Wall for the last five years, and he's hoping to have it published next year. Unfortunately, it will only be in Spanish--at least for the moment. I had a quick chat with Marky again, and it was great to see Pat Lennon. They not only do a fantastic job onstage, but they are also such wonderful, down to earth people off of it.
Me and Jose
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Before the second set started, Kevin and I made our way to the section of seats up on the right of the stage and watched the second half from there.
Comfy Numb
The second set just seemed to fly by again. Dave's guitar on Run Like Hell sounded fantastic, and to watch Jon Carin switching between guitar and keyboard is just amazing--it all just looks so natural to him, and he makes it look really easy!
Its nice to be at the side of the stage when Roger comes over to the podium on the right and does The Trial sequence. He lays on his back on the floor at the start, looking up at the graphics onscreen before standing up and gesturing to the crowd in the wings with his arms open wide, savouring all the admiration they give him. He repays them by picking people out, pointing to them, and smiling.
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The wall fall tonight was excellent. Harry Waters came out at the start of The Trial and sat on the rear of the front barrier to watch it fall down. I guess it's something the band rarely sees from the front! The bricks float down with grace from the top couple of tiers, and the second fall of bricks just tumble down and, as can be seen below, cause chaos at the front of the stage. The large section to the right came in one big section and had security below running for their lives!
The crowd did the Ole Ole Ole chant before Outside The Wall again, and it sounded even better than the previous night.

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All in all, not just another brick in the wall, but a fantastic goodbye show for Madrid, since the band (and Kevin and I) moved on to Barcelona to take in another few bricks.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Madrid 1st show

Having two days off between shows made it seem like an age since the last show in Lisbon. Last night was the first of two shows in Madrid, Spain. The venue was a modern building right in the heart of Madrid--a huge silver structure with a cavernous interior that juts out into the high street.
Madrid panorama small
We headed toward the venue around 6:30 P.M, went for dinner at a restaurant across the street, then went into the Venue about 7:30 P.M. The floor was all standing, and Kevin and I wandered over to the left hand side of the stage and reached our way to about two rows from the front. By the time we found our place, it was about 8:30. The shows in Lisbon started at 9 P.M, so naturally we presumed Madrid would be the same. However, it turned out to be 9:30 before the band came onstage.
We didn't want to stand in one place for an hour before the show, so we had a wander around the floor  to take in the atmosphere. Marky Lennon spotted me and came over to say hi. It was the first time I'd seen him  since the European tour started, and it was good to catch up with him. We had a good chat with Snowy before the show, too, and again, it was good to catch up with him. I hadn’t seen him since last December at the L.A. shows on the US tour.
The crowd started getting a touch restless around 9:20 and started whistling and chanting like they  commonly do in Europe! Sure enough, at 9:31 two “guards” holding Pink walked up to the front of the stage, and the “I'm Spartacus” background tape started to roll. "I'm Spartacus," "No I’M Spartacus," rang out through the huge venue to the sound of deafening cheers from the crowd. Pink was thrown onto the stage, and Roger's trumpet playing came on over the PA system.

Roger came on stage as happy as I've ever seen him, running up and down the full length from left to right holding his arms out and taking in the admiration.
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The two guards had, by then, made their way onto the stage. One placed the leather trench coat on Roger while the other helped him with the sunglasses from the onstage mannequin. He  belted the coat up, pulling the belt tight around his torso and walked over to the mic.
Not sure if this is a new graphic that's on the wall during the start of In The Flesh, but I never noticed it before.
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The crowd went wild as the plane came down, and the bricks exploded when it crashed into the wall.
During his speech before Mother, Roger said he performed The Wall  thirty-one years ago in 1979 in L.A. Then he said they returned to play Earls Court in 1980. They DIDN'T!! They played L.A. in 1980! Something new I saw tonight was when the words “No Fucking Way” appear on the right side of the wall, the same phrase was written out on the left side, but in Spanish!! I wonder if this will  continue in each country according to the language; I bet it does.
While playing Mother, it was obvious to anyone watching the show that something was bothering Roger. He kept looking over to his right in disgust, then pointed to something off stage. It took a minute or so for the roadies to realise that there was a fire door open at the side of the hall, and the light it emitted onstage really bothered him. After some scuffling from the crew, the door was partially closed and the light turned off.
Apart from that, the first half went off without a hitch.
For the second half Kevin and I went to sit  in the first block of seats at the right side of the stage--one of my favourite places to sit and watch the second half from. The second half was great, and it was fun to see the enthusiasm of the crowd from our seats.
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Crowd During Run Like Hell:

Roger throwing down his shirt and tie:
The wall fall was great tonight, however, at the last three shows, the majority of bricks fell backwards onto the stage. Due to the size of the venues in Europe, there doesn't  seem to be any clamps on the top of the wall on the sides. In the USA, this stopped certain parts of it falling down. Now, all the sides seem to fall,  giving it a lot more impact.
After the wall fell it took ages for the band to come back on to do Outside The Wall. I could see Jon, Graham, Harry, and G.E. at my side of the stage waiting for Roger to go onstage--there was at least a  five minute wait! Jon and Harry were looking at each other and talking to the crew. I think a few of them thought something was amiss, as did I. To the crowd, who knew no different, it was just an excuse to start the famous Spanish Ole, Ole, Ole chant, which sounded fantastic. I know Roger is aware they do this, and I have to wonder if his delay in coming back onstage was, in fact, to encourage the crowd to do this!
Crowd doing Ole, Ole, Ole:

Album with more pictures from last nights gig below: