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Saturday, November 13th "Manolo Garcia and a late evening in the Alameda"

My first true concert was this past Friday at the Palenque, a semi outdoor facility just across the Barqueta bridge in the cartuja. This is the site of the 1992 Expo, which is a mixture of offices, wasteland, and a few entertainment spots. I would guess the Palenque holds about 5,000 people, but I may be off. Still, it’s a good venue to take in show, with a central seating area in front of the stage surrounded by a fairly small moat. Around the central moat is a horseshoe shaped set of seats where the less fortunate get to sit. Still, it’s a small venue meaning you avoid the stadium type distances you’d get in larger places. If you are hungry or want a beer or three before the show you can take your pick of mobile burger, sandwich and drink stands out front.

We paid about 40 € per ticket for seats in the 13th row and watched a pretty good show. Manolo has with him an eight member band filled with good musicians, although a few of the songs off the last album are a bit too slow for my tastes. Near the end we were treated with a few versions of past Último de la fila songs, bringing back a few memories of my days studying in Sevilla in 1993. The band was pretty tight and certainly entertaining. It made me miss some shows back home, though, and how I wish the Tragically Hip would some day make it to Spain. I miss those guys…

Afterward we headed to the Alameda, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve been here late at night. I think I forgot about the incredible size of the botellón in the plaza, where there were easily thousands of people enjoying their store bought booze and hash. Not being a person for the botellón we wandered into a bar and enjoyed a few drinks in a very smoky atmosphere. For those of you looking for a more alternative or down to earth scene the Alameda has a lot to offer. For those of you looking for some really bad drunks the Alameda has plenty to offer as well. I spent 2 minutes trying to explain what time it was to an extremely drunk Portuguese fellow who was hanging onto the bar. It only took me 15 seconds to begin pointing to my watch and trying to show him the hour, hoping to avoid further conversation, but then he just tried to explain to me something about how they say the time in Portugal. I could have cared less and I could also see that a few wrong words out of my mouth might lead to trouble. Taking my drink with me I settled down in the back of the bar with the rest of my group. Every 5 to 10 minutes voices were raised over at the corner of the bar where el portugues was talking. A few people would enter, have a loud discussion, and then leave. One fellow had to be picked up off the floor as his legs simply stopped supporting him, or perhaps he forgot he had legs. Either way we could all sense that this corner of the bar had a bad atmosphere to it, so it was no surprise about 30 minutes later when we heard shouting and then glass breaking as somebody was thrown out the front door. A little more shouting and it was all over. By 3am we were done and headed back home.