So... Paraguay? Holy shit-balls what a crazy country!! We'll get to the gig in a bit but first let me take you on a little journey from the hotel to the soundcheck. Forty minutes it took and honest to God you've never seen anything like it... well I haven't anyway.
So... we set off in a convoy of sorts. Three vans, security guards armed to the teeth in unmarked cars, police in off road vehicles sirens wailing and some on motorbikes which looked like they may have been brand spanking new at some point in the 80s... closely followed by crazy fans in a separate convoy of private cars and taxis; It quickly turned into some kind of stunt driving chase scene from a James Bond movie. The faster we went the faster these kids went. Each time we hit traffic (quite literally I might add!) and slowed down to a crawl these kids jumped out of their cars and surrounded mine banging on the roof and waving random memorabilia like they were some kind of religious artifacts. At one point we were hurtling up some kind of dual carriageway and a fucking cow just appeared in the middle of the road... A FUCKING REAL COW... just casually out for a stroll!!! We skidded right up to it's gloriously gormless bonce as it give us that look that cows do and mooed at us as if to say... "watch your speed gringo!"
On we went and at various points I saw:
A fully functioning gym just THERE at the side of the road.
Brand new-shrink wrapped-office furniture just stacked up in the middle of a flooded street.
A LOT of broken down motorbikes.
A herd of chickens... in the middle of the road (probably looking for the cow).
A seemingly endless army of young men at traffic lights holding out bunches of bananas (for sale presumably).
Big houses, little houses, bombed out houses and half built houses no-one could be arsed finishing.
A city of tents.
Something what looked like a car repair work-shop/pet shop!!
And to cap it all somebody transporting a horse on the back of a truck... not a wagon... a little truck... not in a horse box, oh no, just standing on the back of a little truck with some lad holding onto it's mane!!! All this while travelling over pot-holes the size of swimming pools!! (It's probably fair to say you won't be seeing Morrissey anytime soon!!).
The time was 2.30 in the afternoon. God help us all when it goes dark I thought to myself.
The gig itself was HUGE. Another 10,000!! It was held at a jockey club race track thing. As night fell and the dust was being kicked up and the floodlights were on it looked like something out of Apocalypse Now, or apocalypse yesterday... whatever... it was cool as fuck!!
Now, as we know these south Americans love a banner and of course there were the usual marriage proposals and paternity claims etc,etc... but this next one has to go down as the weirdest one yet... here goes:
IF I HAD A GUN I'D SHOOT A HOLE INTO THE FRUITS BACKSTAGE!!!
What the holy fuck is that supposed to mean? Surely they didn't mean my band??
Had a nice little (I say little but it was perfectly adequate) bra slung onstage too!! Always a treat. One side of it was a sequined Paraguayan flag... the other a sequinned Union Jack!! And in that wonderful moment our two great nations had never been closer.
That - comrades - is the power of music (and probably a little bit of alcohol) right there.
Makes you proud eh?
Paraguay. You are madness personified.
I loved you very much.
We'll meet again.