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We landed in Lima on May 15th, 2 days before the concert. At the airport we were met by our tour manager, the promoters, 2 body guards and small crowd of excited and polite super fans. We signed a few autographs before we were ushered to our hotel. Shortly after dinner we hit the streets and explored Lima’s nightlife. Our last stop was the popular Bauhaus Club. Electricity was in the air as the DJ spun Red Flag music and the crowd spun themselves into a web of radiant darkwave. We stayed only a short while, as the next day was to be very busy indeed.
The morning began with the press conference in one of the Hotels meeting rooms. Sponsored by one of the local breweries, Cristal, and attended by the local press and television media.
We answered questions for an hour or so and then conducted private interviews with some of Limas’ radio station personalities. Later we were taken to the Channel 8 television studio. We recorded 3 songs in their studio and conducted a live interview. After that we went to the venue, conducted our sound check, arranged the stage, and set up the merchandise booth. We then raced over to the hotel and freshened up.
Back at the venue we donned our outfits and got psyched. Show Time!
The concert went by in a blur. The crowd was insane and we feed off of every scream. The opening song ‘If I Ever’ brought everyone out of their seats as they rushed the stage. Chris was in top form, performing like a cross between Mozart, Jerry Lee Lewis and Satan. The press asked Chris why he was prone to display the Heavy Metal salute during concerts. He simply stated «Its Rock and Roll MAN!!!»
We played for nearly 2 hours. The Naive Art tracks were of course the most welcomed but I was happy to see ‘Cause and Consequence’ and ‘King of Everything’ also receive ecstatic applause. As the lights dimmed the cigarette lighters illuminated the venue during our piano and vocal version of ‘Rain’. My emotions high, I was beginning to soar.
The first song of the encore was ‘Give me your hand’. This extended song allowed me to traverse the stage and receive as many high fives as possible. Our sixth song of the encore and final song of the night was ‘Russian Radio’. Talk about pandemonium. Girls jumped on the stage, security appeared from nowhere and I dodged the chaos as the crowd sang louder than the PA. Chris enjoyed the spectacle, safely perched on a 3 foot riser. The concert ended, the curtain closed and the house lights came up. One of our finest moments was sadly over. Chris and I had few moments’ alone back stage before the rest of our obligations would continue. We shook hands and hugged one another. Words were not necessary. We were very proud of the night and our performances.
An after concert celebration was held at Club Bauhaus. As we arrived, bodyguards squeezed us through the club that only 2 days earlier seemed so much larger. For the first time in my life I felt I was living the life of a Beatle. People smothered me with kisses, disheveled my hair and grabbed my ass. If I didn’t know any better I’d think Sandi was getting a little frisky. 😉
We signed autographs and posed for photos. When the DJ spun some Kraftwerk, I slid past the security and found a dark corner of the dance floor to groove. (I give you my affection, I give you my time, try to get a connection on the telephone line). Returning back upstairs I was approached by someone wanting me to autograph their records. I’ve seen many Red Flag counterfeits in my day but I never seen counterfeit vinyl. But there it was. Black and white and pressed in Peru. Oh well, we were south of the Equator and things were a little different down here. Do they spin the vinyl records in the opposite direction here?
Saturday was a day off. We went and explored Lima, ever cautious to blend in. Yeah Right! I discovered that traffic signals are merely a suggestion. This is the largest outdoor game of chicken and no one is blinking. A car without a dent is just begging for it. This is taxi-cab heaven. Just driving from place to place is an adventure unto itself.
We had to hit the sack early that night. A five am wake up call would give us just enough time to make it to the airport. Next stop, Cusco, city of the Inca’s. The altitude here is a bit more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Altitude sickness is a common ailment for visitors. Part of the local temporary remedy is to drink Coca Tea. This is the same leaf used to make… you guessed it, cocaine. Funny thing is, it seemed to work. I’d venture to guess though, that no matter where you are in the world, Coca Tea would make you feel better 😉
We wandered the streets and discovered an inordinate number of rainbow flags. You know the one, the one flown by the gay community. It turns out (excuse the pun) that the city flag of Cusco is the same identical flag. Somehow the gay community adopted the Cusco flag years ago, and it is now a gay symbol all over the world. The people of Cusco are a little miffed. Rightly so, this was their flag first. Oh well, so much drama. The local authorities are in the process of changing the flag. For now though, people are coming in from all over the world to what they believe is the Gay-Mecca, only to find a city of about 300,000 people that from most accounts would rather be left alone. Man, the truth IS stranger than fiction.
The next day, was a day I shall never forget. I have set many goals in life. One of them was fulfilled that day. The city of Machu Picchu was a rocky yet spectacular 4-hour train ride away.
When you first arrive you are literally speechless. Well, it’s quite a hike from where the bus drops you off 😉
Machu Picchu is truly beautiful. Imagining the Inca’s living on this beautiful location at the top of the world, only adds to the attraction. Much has changed recently concerning what we now know of the place and the people who once lived here. If you care to find out more, I suggest you read only recent literature as anything else is sure to be outdated.
In the above photo you see a mountain just over my left shoulder. This is known as Huayna Picchu. It takes about 45 minutes to hike to the top. This is where the holy men supposedly worshiped and got closer to the stars. Chris and I made the the precarious hike and discovered that it’s also a great location to huck stones into the river below. Yeah, it’s the simple pleasures!
We wondered around for a few more hours convinced that the 2 explorers from San Diego were going to uncover the lost Inca gold. After sharing notes some time later, Chris and I concluded that the best place to hide the Inca treasure would have been somewhere on Huayna Picchu. That discovery would have to take place another day. We were on our way back to Cusco.