We have a day in between gigs and take the train to Porto. When we get there the station is decorated with traditional blue and white tiles, just another one of the pleasant little details that Portugal keeps unexpectedly throwing in my path. We jump into a taxi to our hotel. Just as we’re approaching some traffic lights and on the same street as the venue, Thom crosses the road in front of us… we wave frantically but we don’t think he’s seen us.
The venue is round the corner and up the road from the hotel that Yasuko and I have found. It seems rather grander than our usual budget B&Bs but like most other things here, it has a faded glamour. We settle in, discover we have room to put up another person in our room if need be, then head out to explore the city.
Guidebook in hand I lead the way back to the crossroads of the main streets. Just as we stop on the corner to consult our map, Thom, Phil and Jonny cross the street coming from the venue. Everyone mimes their surprise, it’s just another ordinary day in Radiohead town… I swallow my astonishment and say hello and it comes out in the same Pete and Dud tones as Thom’s “Evenin’.”
We spend the next day exploring Porto; a lot of the others are intent on queuing up at the venue for most of the day, but it’s too hot to be sitting on the pavement so I resist until later, trying my usual tactic of swapping places with people so I can at least get a decent view. The venue here is similar to the one in Lisbon, maybe a little larger. The gig itself is rather hazy. Without looking at a set list I can’t separate it from the others.
I remember frantically trying to avoid The Intense Americans who had decided it was their mission to be my friend. I remember dancing around the empting hall after the band finished. Lions of Judah by Steve Reid on the PA (I had to ask the soundman what it was, it was so perfect for stomping).
After leaving the venue, a big gang of us wander down towards the river. There is a late bar with tables outside, surrounded by Heras fencing because, like in a lot of the city, there was work taking place to install an underground system. In spite of the roadworks the bar is pleasant enough and the night is young, if a little chilly for sitting out after midnight. We all get drinks and “real life” friendships continue to develop between the boardies. Sam is still filming, capturing the post-gig stunned state that we’re starting to get used to after four shows in five days.
The night wears on and the beer flows. Some time around 2am a large group of people appear on the other side of the fencing. It’s the band and various friends, staff and hangers on. They’ve been to a club. When we spot them we wave, beckon them and shout, inviting them to join us. They wave back and laugh. When Thom gets to the gap in the fence he stops and feigns coming down the steps towards us. He steps in and out a few times, will he, won’t he. Various boardies offer to buy him a drink and he seems to be seriously considering it. In the end he follows the rest of the group back up the hill towards their hotel… Sam is still filming and he catches Clara asking me how it feels to be “stalked by a member of Radiohead…”