In 1974 I worked on a European tour of the band Traffic during which we did a gig in Barcelona. This was shortly after the death of Franco, and in many ways Spain was still trying to get over that long period of fascism, and one relic of those bad old days was still very much in evidence, and still very much feared by all and sundry – for good reason. The good old Guardia Civil was still there in that curious uniform, wandering around the place with their rifles.
We arrived at the place for the concert (I have no memory of its name, but it was some sort of old theatre that I do remember), and set up in the normal way. Which means a lot of very hairy and tired men carting vast quantities of huge road boxes out of the trucks and up about three flights of stairs, along long twisty corridors and finally out onto the stage.
Having more or less filled the stage with all those boxes, we set about putting in place all the speakers, lights, cables, sound mixers, amplifiers, lighting controls, drum risers and all the other arcane junk needed for a Rock and Roll concert that these boxes had contained.
All this was completely normal and SOP for us… what was slightly less normal for us was that this entire operation – which takes hours to complete – was all carried out under the extremely cold and disapproving eyes of an entire platoon of those Guardia creatures, who stared at us like hungry wolves as we worked and swore our way to getting it all ready.