You can always tell what sort of night it will be in Route 66 by whether you can get a parking slot or not. Makes sense, you nod, but what I actually mean, is that if there are lots of cars parked on the top road by the Fishermans Museum, over 1km away, it will be difficult to park close to the bar. A couple of circuits of the one way system will be needed, in the hope that you will get lucky with someone leaving, otherwise you know you will have a bit of a trek, not good with that steep hill. That of course is not an indication of how busy the bar will be, because many people walk to it, however it is an indication of how busy the area, as a whole, is so no parking on the top road, plenty of people out and about enjoying whatever the evening has to offer.
That was not the case last night, as we drove down the road past the deserted bars and cafes in Playa de la Arena there was line after line of empty spaces. There was not a soul on the streets and we parked 3 car lengths from the bar. Although we arrived just 5 minutes before the entertainment was due to start at 9.00pm there were only ten seats taken. One was already drunk with his head on the table and one old chap was talking to himself. It was a cold night and anyone who happened to be around was wrapped up in a jacket and heading for the warmth of home or their hotel. It didn´t look as if it was going to be a good night for either the stand-in band or the few who were determined to find something better than the hotel snake charmer for entertainment.
The resident band Old Dogs New Tricks had been called to the UK unexpectedly so asked Traveller Blues Band if they could cover for them. Despite the image people have of musicians with their huge but fragile egos and seeing everyone who sings and plays an instrument as competition, the reality is that many of these bands are friends and will always go the extra mile to help other musos. Traveller’s usual drummer was on an island cruise so to top off the bad turn out Traveller had a new drummer who had not played a full session with them and it was fingers crossed he could fall into the unique Traveller sound and not get his sticks in a twist!
Back on track – The music started, Whiskey sang and the few in the audience, who were sober or at least still on this planet, really enjoyed it. After 10 minutes, a couple of people who were walking by stopped, listened, then came inside. For anyone who doesn’t know them, this band is loud and live so their sound carries and it was obvious that it was drifting to the Barcelo opposite and the Tamaimo round the corner. People were leaving the hotels, we could tell where they had come from as each and every one was wearing either a green or white all inclusive wrist band, and coming to Route 66. By 10.00 the front room of the bar was full and the back room was filling and there were people sitting outside, even though it was cold. Then the heavens opened and those outside squashed inside much to the chagrin of the dancers whose floor space was much reduced.
This little bar is usually crowded but this was a very different audience, they were mostly foreign, German, Dutch and Russian. A very mixed age range from teenagers to the pensioners who come for the long winter months, but all loved Blues. The band played their version of well known songs such as a Rolling Stones medley, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Guns N Roses and while it was appreciated by the audience they went mad for the music of Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters which is what this band do so well and while they are not directly of that genre, they do so many other things as well, they are its spiritual descendants.
Bluegrass, the baby of the group does not realise how good he is but he is slowly coming into his own and happy to not only play superb harp solos but interact with the audience, something Whiskey and Mad Dog have no trouble with! And the new drummer …. he did a great job I would be happy to see him play anytime Mr B is off on his travels.
So why the title on this blog? Remember the film Field of Dreams … give the people what they want and they will turn up, no matter what the weather or whether they have paid for All Inclusive, great entertainment will get them every time.