Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On Tour With Lonnie Brooks- Spain, pt. 1

So I was on tour for the past week with the legendary Lonnie Brooks, the Voodoo Daddy, my boss and friend.

This time around, "the life" took us to beautiful Spain. We had four dates in four towns on four consecutive days: Alcoi, Terrassa, Oliva, and Alicante, respectively. These towns are all situated on the east coast of the country, on the Mediterranean sea (for the most part, anyways), and predominantly in the southern part of the country; the Valencia region. Terrassa was the exception. It is a northern town, essentially a suburb of Barcelona.

Alcoi was the first stop. The people are currently celebrating the town's 750th birthday. 750! Talk about an old city; I could feel the history as I walked the streets. I would touch some of the buildings and feel the hair on my arm just stand up. (Not unlike how I felt when I took a tour of Hitsville U.S.A., the old Motown studios. But that's another story for another day.)

Alcoi is situated in a ravine, with mountains on either side of it. As you get deeper into the ravine, you can actually see parts of the ancient city, getting a fairly good idea of how things might have looked back then.

You'll certainly not find anything like that on this side of the Atlantic, that's for sure. They've got a good 350 years on the U.S.

The venue for the concert was a place called the Teatro Calderon, located in the Alcoi Centro (city centre) , the ancient part. This was a fantastic venue. It was split into two levels, the main floor and the balcony, and had a capacity of about 500. The stage was a very good size, and the back line equipment (drums, organ, piano, and amps) were particularly good. Usually when we do these European tours, you never know what kind of gear will be there. More times than not it's less than stellar. Sometimes it's so bad that you just shake your head and wonder, "What the hell are these people thinking, spending all this dough to get Brooks and his band over here, only to go on the cheap with the gear." That was not the case for this tour.



They did (whoever they are), however, spell Lonnie's name wrong on the promotional posters which were plastered all over the city. Chuckleheads.

Lonnie was in good form for day 1, despite the jet lag (fortunately, we had a day to recover from the flight before the first show). His voice was strong, the fingers and the brain were in sync, and he even pulled out a few tunes that we hadn't done in a while, particularly Watchdog and Cold Lonely Nights.

The show was not a sell out, unfortunately. One could say that the crowd was small but mighty. However, the one thing that European audiences have, pretty much across the board, is an unbelievable enthusiasm for music. Particularly for Chicago blues. And Lonnie, with that big hat and even bigger grin, people just eat him alive. They can't help but embrace him.

Seems that this recession is being felt far and wide, which is a bummer, for sure. It cost about 35 bucks per ticket (20 euros). Not expensive, but not cheap. Strike one.

And it was a Thursday. Strike two.

But, we were still in Spain.

As opposed to, say, Schaumberg.

Base hit.

So it goes...

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