Thursday, December 17

Live from a field in South Africa, Part II

As promised, I now present to you the long awaited sequel to my previous silly concert post. Big American, or rather, big foreign bands don't tend to bother touring South Africa too often. From what I heard form a couple people I met at the concert, neither Radiohead nor Coldplay, who are both huge and ought to have a big British fanbase here, have ever toured this country. According to The Killers themselves, this is the first time they've been around here.
Oh Brandon Flowers, you shaved your facial hair for us. How conscientious.
Right, so it was The Killers I went to see on a warm Sunday evening at the start of the December summer. As one might expect, the journey was more of a tale than the concert itself was. Here was the scoop - the parking opened at 4. The doors opened at 6. First band started at 7. Killers came on at 8. That was the plan. I went into this thinking that the show itself started at 6 and I was unaware of any openers. It turned out to be a good thing the Killers came on 2.5 hours later than I expected.

As I understand it, Cape Town, or rather, South Africa, does not catch the eye of big-time bands very often. So, when a band at the peak of its popularity comes through and the Capetonians haven't seen a real music act in some time, everyone seems to go. Well, all the British people, anyhow. The other Capetonians go if they like the band. The next day, there were people all over who I'd run into mentioning the concert, offhand. Often, specifically about how blasted they felt from the previous night.

Upon reaching Paarl, the site of this episode's dusty field, I realized I wasn't sure which exit to get off at. After bumbling around for about 20 minutes, I found my "people" and then realized I could just follow them to the source. Unfortunately, the source was a long way away, and the traffic was only moving slower and slower. I was doing passably well since I had the original plays of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on my player, but then the battery died. Bloody.

At one point, my neighbors directly in front of me left one of their passengers stranded (...20 meters behind) when the traffic abruptly lurched ahead for several seconds. Being the good Samaritan and novel opportunist that I am, I immediately offered to give her a lift... after she asked me for one, of course.

Name was Angela, she goes to UCT, and lives very nearby me. Not a bad deal. So, we chatted about studies and music and what in the blazes some crazy American is doing here.

Allow me a moment of exaltation. I do thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie that springs up amongst fans in such situations. I also like the fact that it quickly disappears to be replaced by harsh animosity when it comes to pushing your way through the crowd.

Angela went back to her car eventually, and the painful traffic subsided somewhat once I exited the highway.
Africa: The Neverending Road fuck ass shit bitch ass
Note to self: When driving to an event whose venue you are not familiar with - its probably best to just do what they tell you. No wait, I can't really be telling myself this. Okay me, nevermind this, I'll figure out what I was really getting at later.

I parked some distance away from the field, not realizing just how far I would need to go. Angela's advice was sadly misinforming. 200 meters was the distance to the road which lead to the field, but the field was some distance further down that road. Some means a lot.

I walked down four stretches of dusty road, alongside the slow stream of motorized vehicles which I barely outpaced. I was not alone, at least, for many had elected to park and walk as I was doing. However, for each turn down a smaller and dustier road, my spirits began to fall. How bloody far away was this place? My retrospective guess is 3 kilometers.
So, to me, the stage looks like an insectoid shaped spaceship with landing lights blasting away while a rapt human crowd looks on, soon to be devoured or enslaved or something.
I arrived at the stage. Like, I said, it was a concert. In my opinion, it is difficult for concert not to be enjoyable when you're going to see a band you like and are familiar with. I wandered about the vast field for a few moments, scoping out the food and beer lines. I was nearly tempted to get in line for a burger, but then Human started playing so to hell with the burger. Flowers was even wearing that silly coat with the furry shoulders.

The crowd was large and packed. Nevertheless, I was able to push quite close to the boundary of the proletarian section. As I wormed closer to the stage, a few times I encountered some small and shrinking holes in the crowd, where everywhere around 'twas a mob. I investigated and found people hurriedly rolling up their blankets and packing their tupperwares away.

At last, revenge is mine!

That's right picnickers, I thought to myself, this is going to be a concert so you best just get up and scram. We want to the make the most of our tickets and have a crowd here, not just sit on towels, sip tea, and munch biscuits. Also, they're called COOKIES.
Do you see this shit? I'm a fucking artistic photographer now. I USE my camera's disgraceful shutter speed to PURPOSEFULLY create cool effects. Seriously guys.
One of the more amusing moments of the concert itself was when you could see the violinist/sequencer guy singing along to the lyrics for everyone to see on the jumbotrons.

Flower's has a really weird voice. I don't think I've ranted about this as much as I ought (as much as I love burger king, for instance). Even when he's just talking, his voice is bizarre. Uniqueness can be a virtue in music, and he can actually sing unlike the majority of "indie rockers." Though he does look like he might be suffering from anorexia.
The set was good. You can judge it here. I think the set was a bit short for what they usually do, but I'm not very sure of this. In anticipation of the part where everyone in the crowd shouts "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" for 6 minutes during All These Things I've Done, I had my camera out for video. Alas, the memory card murdered this creation. Instead, I have found a superior video montage for you to watch.

So. I'd done my homework and was up to speed on how the Killers do their encores. I wanted out of that place quick, but I did want to see and hear the last songs in the encore. I waited outside the gate where I still had a decent view, then dashed when they finished playing When You Were Young.
And I ran. I would stop occasionally on the way back to hang with some groups of people in order to catch my breath and assuage my fear of being suddenly stabbed to death by some madman hiding in the vineyards. Eventually I reached the outer reaches, where I associated myself with a pair (those mentioned at the beginning) of colored people.

I think they were Indian, but it was hard to tell. There are also the Malay around here, who are not to be confused with Malaysians. Don't do that. We discussed much of the usual stuff like What in the blazes am I doing here and How do you like Cape Town? These two had a much more interesting and refreshing view on Cape Town, but both were still very positive about the city in spite of its dysfunction.

Second note to self: Avoid driving to concerts. You've been spoiled by going to the Palladium. Driving to big events is awful.

Yet, safely succeeded in reaching the car, and from there I drove back to Cape Town for some much desired sleep.  The traffic was likely caught at a bottleneck much closer to the field, for I had no trouble getting back on the highway or riding the N1 back to CT.

...until I accidentally got onto the N7.
I hate the N7.

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