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May 9, 2022
Budapest, Hungary: Dead Can Dance

Whenever we travel, especially when cruising, we try to meet as many new people as we can. We have made some wonderful friends that we still keep in touch with, years later. During our current week-long stay in Budapest, we are constantly running into fellow Viking cruisers who have either just disembarked or are about to embark on a river cruise.

On Saturday morning, we met a friendly gentleman in the elevator. It turns out he’s not a cruiser, and is not even American. He is an Australian named Louie. He is with the Australian band “Dead Can Dance.” They are currently touring throughout Europe.

We had never heard of this band, but we gave Louie one of our business cards. We were surprised when Louie later sent us an email message, informing us that he would leave two complimentary tickets for us at the box office.

So last evening, after we finished our daily excursion, we decided to embark on another adventure and attend the concert. Our hotel is up the hill on the Buda side of the Danube River; the Papp Lázló Budapest Sportaréna is down in Pest on the other side of the city.

Luckily, we travel in the age of Google Maps. The app told us it would take 28 minutes to get to the venue: a 15-minute walk down Castle Hill to the Danube, followed by an 11-minute ride on the underground Metro, followed by a 3-minute walk to the arena.

We had a long walk of several hundreds of steps down Castle Hill.

The public transportation system in Budapest is excellent and safe. You can purchase various types of tickets at kiosks; a one-time pass costs less than $1 and is good for an hour after you validate it. You can pay with credit card. Google Maps told us exactly where to find the station, which line to take, and where to get off.

The Budapest underground Metro

The Papp Lázló Budapest Sportaréna

“Dead Can Dance” is described as “neoclassical dark wave” and “avant-garde art rock.” From the songs we sampled beforehand, we would describe their music as “tribal new age.” We were surprised at how popular this Australian band is in Budapest. There were probably 6,000 people in attendance. Happily, Louie had treated us to exclusive seats on the ground floor.

We had a great time at the concert. We recognized one of the lead singers, Lisa Gerrard, as a woman we had seen in the hotel lounge last night. We recognized the Celtic-looking percussionist as a man who was at the breakfast buffet this morning. We especially enjoyed watching some fans who had left their seats and were doing spontaneous interpretive dancing to the music.

The crowd awaits the band

Dead Can Dance on stage

Singer Lisa Gerrard (left) and singer/guitarist Brendan Perry (right)

We saw the percussionist (left) at breakfast that morning

Keyboardist Jules Maxwell (center) was also the opening act; he performed a half-hour of vocal music, accompanying himself on piano

Of course, we had to reverse course after the concert and climb several hundreds up steps back Castle Hill to our hotel. But how often do you get to see an Australian tribal new age band perform in Budapest, Hungary?

The late-night walk back up to Castle Hill

Being out late at night gave us another opportunity for a retro photo. Here's Gail at the Fisherman’s Bastion in March 2002.

And here she is at the same spot, 20 years later

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