Saturday 30 August 2104 - Abbey Square Concert, Moissac (#96)

Today was a very busy day, with probably our most important concert of the tour, as a highlight of a 3-day Boating Festival (Fetes de Plaisanciers) on the Canal de Garonne and Tarn River in Moissac.

Our first task for the day was to get the barge ready for an interview with French TV5, about the hidden delights of the Canal de Garonne region, including cruising on a barge and participating in music festivals. We had arranged to meet the TV5 crew at the barge at 0900h, when the Sims family (Lisa, Isaac and Jacob) and Sharen would also arrive to join us on the cruise. They filmed us “greeting” our guests, then they interviewed Rita as we left the port.

An excerpt of the final program can be seen below:

As we passed La Maison de la Rose (where most of the band was staying), many of the band had gathered outside to greet us as we passed. My favourite picture of this morning was of M. Gisbert, our dear neighbour, doing his “squeeky squat” and Dr. Lachlan Fraser dressed as a kangaroo. I’m sure both were wondering just who was the most unusual.

In the afternoon, the Fetes kicked off with a Happy Hour for over 100 participants on 30 boats - this virtually guaranteed an audience for the concerts, and the band members guaranteed an audience for the Fetes - a win-win situation.

Then festivities got underway in earnest with the KickShins concert and Barn Dance. The concert part lasted only as long as it took to get people’s attention, then Stuart started calling for people to start making their way to the dance floor for the barn dance. As always, people are reluctant to be the first to make a move, but we had worded up our band members that they should be the first to start forming a line or circle, to get others to join in. This seemed to work fairly well, and within 10 minutes, dancing (if you can call it that) had commenced. Although most of us were relatively new to this caper, we made an effort and had lots of fun.

But all too soon, the band members had to leave the Barn Dance to go set up at the Abbey Square (Parvis L’Abbaye) for the evening concert by Pans on Fire, leaving the barn dance in the capable hands of all the other participants. After driving down a No Entry lane to the front of the Abbey, the 9-seaters and camion started to disgorge their contents, assisted by the usual conga line.

By 1900h, all the technicians (Joe, Issac and two very helpful people from the Mairie) had worked their magic and the mikes, speakers, mixer and lights were all in place.

So we all then headed off to dinner at L’abbaye Restaurant (this time provided for the band by the Moissac Mairie). Everyone agreed that the Confit de Canard was the best duck they had ever tasted.

And then, at 2100h, it was time to sing for our supper! The Concert at Moissac Abbey was, in everyone’s opinion, the best of the Tour. The atmosphere was great, the sound was good, we played well and the audience reaction was fantastic. It's not often that expectations are exceeded by reality, but this was one of those occasions.

The panorama shots of the band, the audience, the restaurants and the Abbey give some idea of the atmosphere.

The band looked good with the spotlights highlighting the trees above the stage.

The seated audience was receptive, while those in the restaurants actually stopped their chatter to listen to the band.

After we finished our sets at 2245h, the encore calls from the audience were gratifying. So we gave them a little Moliendo Cafe, and in return we were given some great gorilla dancing by Nico and a friend (-:

Finally, after everything was packed away at the end of a very long day, there was some time for more midnight drinks. Tonight, it was a case of smiles all around.