Today was a long day for all of us, but an amazing one! It started early with a round of interviews for half the band. The other half of us went to a little club in downtown Madrid called Marmara, where we sound checked for a gig we’d have there later that night. After the press stop and sound check we all met back up at the hotel and hopped in the bus for rehearsal. We were joined at the venue by a number of guest artists– a pair of vocalists, an accordion and a trumpet– and together we worked through the set for Thursday’s show.
We had a two hour break before we had to get to our gig at Marmara, and almost all of us met up for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Over dinner we were all thrilled to discover that Tula and Whitney had arrived, and would be joining us at the club. After our meal we all loaded the bus and were about to pull out when suddenly Erika, our tour manager, stood up and asked “Is Clarence on the bus?!” Mark informed us that while we were all eating he decided to take a power nap… Erika sprinted into the hotel and returned 5 minutes later with our groggy, but excited vocalist, and we were off.
It was a 10-minute drive to the club, and Erika spent that time working with Clarence to put the set list together. During this time Clarence had a conversation with Mermans Mosengo that set the tone for the evening:
Clarence: “Mermans, what songs do you want to play tonight?”
Mermans: “How many people are going to be in the club?”
Clarence: “About 150.”
Mermans: “Yo, let’s blow them up then. We’re gonna play all the fire songs my brother!”
And with that, the band put their heads together and built a set list of all our favorite songs. Clarence gave the list to Erika and told her that (much to the chagrin of our sound engineer) they didn’t know what order they were going to play them in, but they’d begin with a jam and figure out the rest on stage.
And so passed the evening. The stage was small (Steve’s keyboard wouldn’t even fit!), the band was tight, the club was packed, and the audience was full of fire. The band’s set was only supposed to be an hour long, but they played well into a second hour. Tula hopped on stage for a couple songs, including Pierre’s “Don’t Worry,” and spent the rest of the set dancing. It was Hugo’s birthday, so Clarence inserted an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” into the set to celebrate. When the band finished performing, we all stuck around for quite a while singing and dancing the night away…
After an indeterminate amount of time, we heard Erika’s voice rise above the din of the club “Playing For Change, the bus is leaving… Really, I mean it. The bus is leaving now!”
And thus ended a very long day. We all loaded the bus and rolled back to the hotel. We have a day in the studio booked for tomorrow– with so many amazing musicians all in the same place we couldn’t resist the temptation to record something! But for now, my bed is calling…
Peace and Love from Madrid!
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