a-ha in Cape Town – some thoughts

Last night was really very special. Right up there with the Bergen concert.

A balmy evening, a really well-organised experience, some decent support acts, an appreciative crowd, and – of course – Morten, Magne and Pål doing their stuff up on stage. Really fantastic.

As a celebration of the 35th (weep!) anniversary of their first album, they played all ten tracks in full and in order before moving on to some of their more well-known songs. As a fan and a purist, this was so perfect: the opportunity to hear them play some stuff which I hadn’t heard live since (literally) 1986. Just a remarkable experience.

The Blue Sky was gorgeous, the demo version of I Dream Myself Alive was unique and such a rush for the true fans. Here I Stand And Face The Rain  was powerful, energetic and evocative.

And then done with the old stuff, and straight into the bassy, rocky Sycamore Leaves. Wow.

Shall we play something you all know, now?

asked Magne, and the crowd roared as they launched into I’ve Been Losing You. But I just wanted them to keep playing – whatever.

Foot Of The Mountain, Analogue and The Swing Of Things sounded better than I have ever heard them, Stay On These Roads was beautiful and so well-received and respected, and although we didn’t get Crying In The Rain or the new Digital River, that was just fine. It was almost as if they had tailor-made the setlist for me.

Thanks, boys.

The short, but sweet encore of Scoundrel Days (a personal favourite) with a scary echoey reverb, and a rousing The Living Daylights rounded the evening off perfectly.

Not that I couldn’t have done with another hour and a half.  A really wonderful experience, and one I was so chuffed to have shared with the kids.

Was this my last a-ha concert? Who knows? (After all, I have been to my last a-ha concert several times already…!) I hope not, obviously, because I just love their music and hearing it live is so special for me.

But… but, if it was, then this was a fitting send off. What a truly exceptional evening.

 

All my photos from the concert (15)

Concert Friday

a-ha* in Cape Town. When you say it, it sounds pretty amazing. Maybe the music isn’t for you (because ok, each to their own), but then there’s the destination. Maybe the destination isn’t for you (weirdo), but it’s always pretty cool to go a concert, right?

If someone had offered me a ticket to a concert in Cape Town before I lived in Cape Town, I’d be pretty wowed. Now it’s just a concert up the road.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not really looking forward to it.

And I’m looking forward to taking the kids along as well. The boy, with his shared middle name, and the girl, who knows all the words to all the songs. (And my long-suffering wife, of course, who tolerates and even supports my fandom.)

This will be my boy’s first “proper” concert. And that seems fitting, since a-ha was my first ever proper concert way back in the mid-80s. Something of a rite of passage then. This will be the seventh time I’ve seen them – living right down here in the bottom corner of Africa really limits your options as far as regularly attending gigs goes.

And in a weird twist, with Mrs 6000 away and no football on (I now, right?) after picking up the kids from Scouts, I ended up watching anything on the TV last night. The film I saw the end of even had an a-ha song in it just before the protagonist was ripped back through time to live another day.
Do you know? Can you guess?

Look out on IG and twitter for concert updates (links in sidebar), but please understand that I’m there for the experience, not to point and shoot.

 

* got to write it right. 

You need a lot of documentation to see Ed Sheeran

Going to see Ed Sheeran at one of his upcoming concerts in Johannesbeagle or Cape Town?

Think you can turn up with just a ticket and walk right in?

Think again.

There are several (or more) documents that you might need to provide on the night if you’re going to be allowed in to see and hear the ginger crooner. I found this out quite by chance – Big Concerts hasn’t yet been in touch to tell me about it. That’s why I’m sharing it with you.
Because I bought tickets for Mrs 6000 and The Scoop and they wouldn’t have got in if I hadn’t seen this page, featuring this information:

There’s a similar one for Joburg too.

And yes, it’ll be a mess and they’ll end up not checking everyone’s documents and people will complain that they brought them along for nothing. And yes, some people who do get checked will not have the documentation and there will be some shouting and a fight.

It’s even a bit vague about what you actually need to bring, and given that this is an event in South Africa, so the security probably won’t have been suitably briefed anyway, I’d bring everything on the list. And lots of other things too.
Smile nicely, be polite throughout, baffle with bullshit, gain entry.
Standard practice.

As usual, I would wholeheartedly advise parking in the P1 parking at the CTICC for a quick getaway once you’ve shuttled (free) into town from the stadium.

Please share this information so no-one gets locked out. Ed might not be your cup of tea (he’s certainly not mine), but imagine missing a concert you had bought tickets for, simply because you didn’t have a printed A4 PDF with someone’s name on it. Madness.

How to save money (for South Africans)

Here’s one that’s going to divide the readership.
Oh, and the way this panned out in my head overnight, it may include some swearing.
So… you know… be warned.

Earlier this week, I saw a lot of people tweeting, sharing and generally acting holier-than-thou online about Black Friday:

“Save 100% this Black Friday by staying at home and not buying anything!”

Which is your prerogative, of course. And I really do understand the sentiment. But if you have been after a flatscreen TV for a couple of months like my mother-in-law has, then why not wait until Black Friday and get the model you want for 30% less?

(She did, yes.)

So, if you need something or if you have planned and saved to buy something, then actually, Black Friday is a very good day to go and buy it.

This isn’t a post about saving money on Black Friday though. This – at least as far as I can work out – is an absolute no-brainer of an idea which will not only save South African individuals a chunk of change, but will also make the world a much nicer place. Which is why it will never catch on.

Yep: we’re back on the concert thing. We have been here before. Often.

We went to see James at Kirstenbosch last night. Here’s them.

Great band, great venue, great gig. Tickets were R545 each. And here in SA, that’s a reasonable price to pay to see an international act. (For reference, Ed Sheeran is coming to Cape Town Stadium next year and prices range from R395 to (eina!) R1360.)

Only the one issue then: once again, many of the crowd talked loudly to one another throughout the entire fecking concert. Not quietly, because that would have been only mildly disrespectful and would have necessitated actually thinking of other people. No. The band played loudly, so they shouted to each other across their picnic blankets about this, that and the other.

Why?

Look, I don’t get it. And [deity] knows I’ve tried to understand. If you want to talk to each other, stay home and talk to each other. If you want to shout to each other, stay home, turn the tele on loudly and shout to each other. If you want to shout to each other across a picnic blanket, why not chuck one down in front of the loud TV and shout at each other across it?

It’s not rocket surgery.

Don’t spend five hundred and forty five fecking Rands each to sit on a dark grassy slope and ruin things for people who – really weirdly – have actually turned up at a concert to hear the band playing and not you shouting to your mate about taking junior to the fecking Constantia Uitsig fecking bike park in the morning.

Stay home.

I just saved you R1090. That’s, like, two overpriced coffees while he’s on the pisspoor dirt track tomorrow. Boom.

Or if you really did pay your Rands to come along to hear the band, then couldn’t your utterly mundane shouty conversation just have waited for an hour and a half?
You bunch of self-absorbed, stereotypical, Southern Suburbs twats.
No wonder everyone hates you.

[deep breath]

Look, I know things won’t change. [narrator: and he was right.]
But they should. [narrator: *chuckles*]

If any of the promoters or venues are reading this (spoiler: they’re not), then please consider designating a section of the audience to be a “quiet zone” like this. Not for people to sit there silently and still, but just for them not to talk throughout all the songs.
An area where people who want to hear the music, who paid to hear the music, can hear the music and not details of the personal experience of one student in last week’s 1st year Economics exam at UCT.
Because I really don’t want to hear that ever anyway. But least of all when I’ve paid 600 bucks to enjoy a concert.

 

Rant over. Until next time, obviously.

Ten thoughts upon attending a Chris de Burgh concert

A jumble of thoughts, in no particular order (hence my use of the word “jumble”), after watching the Chris de Burgh concert yesterday evening at Grand West in Cape Town (see also: yesterday’s post).

1. Aren’t there a lot of old people in Cape Town?

2. Three hours (with a 20 minute interval) is a fairly impressive performance. Older performers can do this because a) they have more songs to play and b) they are consummate professionals. Elton John did this too, but CdB was less flamboyant (what? really?!?) and more approachable, more humble. A perfect example of this was his performance of The Lady In Red – wandering around the arena, hugging, kissing or shaking hands with random members of the audience. It was cheese deluxe, but exactly what the audience expected and wanted.

3. Telling us in song after song that we are ruining the world with war is all very well, but you haven’t actually giving us any alternative, except “don’t do war”. Chris, sometimes a stern open letter is simply not enough.

4. Telling us in song after song that we are ruining the world with pollution is all very well, but your career is basically flying around the planet on jumbo jets and selling millions of plastic discs. Glass houses, ne?

DSC_0010

5. AWKWARD MOMENT ALERT when he sang this bit of Light A Fire:

Let us march the road up the rocky hill tonight,
Under cover of the darkness,
We will slip behind the lines,
And we will take the men who have stolen our land,
For the years of domination,
Hit them right between the eyes,
And light a fire!

*tumbleweed*

6. And while we’re on about lyrics, Don’t Pay The Ferryman. WTF?

Don’t pay the ferryman
Don’t even fix a price
Don’t pay the ferryman
Until he gets you to the other side

What sort of advice is that? It’s a rubbish sort of advice, that’s what it is.
That’s no basis for doing business. Can you imagine if I tried to board BA58 at CTIA this evening suggesting that I would give British Airways an unspecified amount of money only upon our arrival at Heathrow?
I have to be honest, I don’t think I’d make it onboard.
Can you imagine Chris trying to take a taxi in Cape Town? Can you imagine him lying in Wynberg Main Road with a badly swollen eye? I think we can all imagine it.
So is this really how Chris operates? And he gets away with it?
What happened to trust? What happened to contracts?
No, Chris man. You’re out of touch and you’re going to cause unnecessary conflict, disruption and delay with this sort of foolishness.

7. Everyone there was really old.

8. This is the first gig I’ve ever been to where there was an interruption after four songs for a member of the audience to give the performer a red rose and a box of Titleist golf balls.

9. He did Nkandla jokes (the audience roared).
He did a willy joke (the audience tittered).
He repeatedly did rugby jokes (the audience laughed) (the first time).

10. The lady behind us said she had claustrophobia, “but was ok if she sat between people she knows”.
I’m pretty sure that claustrophobia doesn’t work that way, but I was prevented from pointing this out to her by Mrs 6000.

Look, all in all, it was a good night. I knew three songs of his (plus the cover of Toto’s Africa) and people watching filled any downtime. I said yesterday that there’s always a place for live music, and to see a live performance of a famous song by the guy that wrote it, sung it and made it famous is never a problem.
(And, because I’ll likely come looking at some point in the future, the guitarist was called Neil Taylor.)