Love that country paella

Feeling overlooked in Boston, we decide to play our unoverlookable noise set 26 years ago today at Green Street Station, to the consternation of Steve Michener, and perhaps others.  Three years later, Eleventh Dream Day and YLT have made our way to Frankfurt.  Somehow, we convince City Slang prexy Christof Ellinghaus to sing lead on “Barstool Blues”–years later some German music critic steals Christof’s car just to get his hands on the recording.  But it’s 1992 that’s on my mind today.  Our tour with Seam has reached Spain, Valencia to be precise, aka paella ground zero.  The always challenging act of eating dinner on a show night (i.e. most every night) is never harder than in Spain, where restaurants serving before 9 pm are pretty much nonexistent.  Luckily, our concert in Valencia is late as well, so our party of eight is the first table to be filled and basically have the place to ourselves because we’re eating so “early.”  All tour the omnivores of Yo La Tengo have been amused by dining with Seam.  Bassist Lexi Mitchell would invariably sniff any food placed in front of her, and if it was acceptable–and not much of it was–she would pass it along to Sooyoung Park, who was even pickier, and wouldn’t entertain eating anything Lexi turned down.  When our group was asked if we wanted seafood in the paella, Seam’s food anxiety reflexes were quicker than our We Like It All response, and seafood was declined.  I won’t lie to you: I was not pleased.  Until, that is, our table was filled with tapas, all varieties of delicious fish–if we had been told dinner was over at this point, it would have already qualified as the best meal of the trip.  But dinner was not over.  Someone took off the soundtrack to Beatlemania that had been playing since our arrival, and put on what we’ve always assumed was the National Anthem of Paella.  An enormous paella paraded by for our approval, which was unreserved from our side of the table, in part because that was the night we learned that in Europe “seafood” and “shellfish” are two distinct food groups (presumably Seam were just learning this as well).  As Beatlemania returned to the stereo we tucked into an amazing paella.  No memory of the set, but there’s no way it was our best.  Sorry, Valencia!