Archive for May 11th, 2008
Comfortably Numb in Santa Cruz

I hope the passengers on the Independence Of The Seas cruise liner enjoyed their day in Santa Cruz, I certainly did. I arrived early afternoon, armed with my camera, and made for the docks to see the monster new ship that had arrived from Southampton on it’s maiden voyage. The port authority had taken a full page colour spread on the back of all the local Canarian papers to welcome the liner, and with a month of celebrations going on in the capital, the bunting and flags were out.

Independence of the Seas

The roof of the Fred Olsen ferry terminal was the best vantage point, so I joined the rather small crowd to snap a few shots, at this point I suppose I better drop in some stats about the ship. Built in Finland, the Independence Of The Seas is the biggest european docked cruise ship at 339 metres long and 56 metres wide, it weighs 158,000 tons, has 18 storeys, 1,815 cabins – 844 of them with a balcony and 120 suites. The facillities are amazing, an ice rink, theatre, casino, an on deck surfing area and masses of shops, restaurants and bars. The 11 night cruise it is on now had already called at Funchal and was going on to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Vigo and back to Southampton. It was a little disconcerting to see someone welding low down on the bow of the ship, just below the cabin portholes, worrying if you have paid anything from 933 euros.

On to the football and hopes were not high with Sporting Gijon the visitors, needing points to help their promotion push, both Tenerife and Gijon had missed out to Madrid the day before in the contest to host the Davis Cup tennis in September, so at least they had something in common. The game was frustrating, Tenerife had loads of chances in the first half but couldnt score and Sporting took their only 2 chances well with 2 cracking strikes into the top of the Tenerife net after 27 and 40 minutes. There was no way back and the few hundred Sporting fans celebrated their move into second spot.

CDT v Sporting Gijon

As the Armada Sur coach drove off I stayed on and met up with a mate of the General’s, Tony, and we took the short walk to the Palicio Municipal de los Deportes to see a tribute show to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The sports hall is tucked just behind the football stadium, this was my first visit, and I was impressed, bright and modern with raised seating on 2 sides and more seats put out down at floor level in the centre. The Wall is a pretty ambitious work to tackle, Pink Floyd only performed it a few times on stage, Gonzalo Valdivia and his 6 musicians did a great job of it though. When they came out, there was a small wall built at the front of the stage, which they duly kicked down, there was a big screen behind the band and one in front at each side that showed a mix of clips from the film version of The Wall, new images and the lyrics in Spanish, they sung in English.

The Wall

It’s a shame the hall was barely half full, most were pushing middle aged, aren’t we all, and there was a nice mix of Spanish, Brits and some Germans. Beer was widely available, and due to a miss calculation over bus times , we had realised we would either have to leave before the end or kill time in Santa Cruz until the 2.30am bus to the south, so we started as we meant to go on with the beer.

For those who don’t know The Wall, it’s a dark epic about a rock star descending into madness, with themes of islolation and a bullying state. The bands excellent playing and singing skills managed to capture that, with Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell the highlights for me. As the story reached the climax, the band took a breather for The Trial, leaving the film clips running with the superb animation of Gerald Scarfe. They returned to  raptourous applause and launched into other Pink Floyd classics like Wish You Were Here, Time, Money and a soaring version of Shine On You Crazy Diamonds. After Echo and the Bunnymen 2 weeks ago, this underlined the great musical delights that the north of the island has to offer.

The Wall

A slow crawl around Santa Cruz brought us to the vibrant bar area just by the Plaza de la Iglesia, it was packed with no sign of slowing down even at 2am, and several Sporting Gijon fans were still toasting their teams success. The bus ride to the south slipped by in a snooze and I headed home with Pink Floyd tracks replaying in my little happy brain. Just a small footnote, I checked my emails this morning and found I had won a ticket to the concert from La Gaceta de Canarias, the mail arrived just after I had set off yesterday – never mind, it was 12 euros well spent.