Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Script- 26 June 2011

Irish boybands have always been a favourite of mine. Even as I've gotten older and become a fan of, well, indie rock and roll, I've retained an attraction towards bands such as Westlife and The Script. Personally, I think The Script are fantastic, merging a kind of boyband pop with melodic indie rock to produce a unique and fascinating sound. When they first burst onto the scene in 2008, I was captivated by them, especially with the songs "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" and "Talk You Down", and thus when Big Concerts announced that they would be touring South Africa in June this year, I was first in line for tickets- well, technically it was my mom, but under my instructions.

June took forever to arrive, but finally the time came, and my mom and I made the epic trip to Cape Town, taking a total of 3 days to get there. From previous experience with the venue, I was under the impression that we would not be allowed to form a queue until around 5pm. I was determined to get a spot at the barrier, and was planning to arrive at the arena just before 5pm. At 12pm, I did what I do best and went creeping at the door where I would need to queue later. To my absolute horror, I found a group of about 10 people already seated there...they were queuing! Cue (excuse the pun) a very fast lunch and a hasty changing of clothes and straightening of hair, so that by 1.30pm I was on my way to join the group of fans that I referred to in my head as 'The A-Team'. Sadly, my attempts to determine the location of the band by analysing their twitpics proved fruitless. We sat in the queue for about 5 hours before the doors opened, but the time went surprisingly fast. I struck up conversations with everyone around me...these people were all just like me. They didn't think that I was odd for queuing so early, for travelling so far, for knowing all the lyrics or for checking twitter every few minutes to see if the band had said anything new. To these people, I was normal, I was one of them.

Eventually, the gates opened, and I managed to obtain a barrier spot in front of where guitarist Mark Sheehan would later stand. It was now 7pm and the opening act, The Arrows were due to start at 8pm. This hour was the one that went the slowest, but I killed time by chatting to the girl next to me: she had been at the same Daughtry and The Killers concerts as me, and when Viva La Vida started blasting over the sound system, we turned to each other squealing "are you going to Coldplay?!". An official-looking man carrying a video camera also shoved a microphone in my face and asked me why I liked The Script. My response? "Because they're Irish.."

Finally the opening act began, they seemed as excited as the audience were, and successfully got us even more hyped up for the headliners. The Arrows performed just enough songs to entertain the crowd, yet not so many as to become boring. The drummer later stood next to me during the main act, and grinned hugely at me, as though she knew I was from the same part of the country as her or something...or maybe she just liked the pink streak in my hair.

A half an hour break, and then the lights dimmed...we could hear music starting somewhere on the stage, spotlights, screams, claps, and then Mark burst onto the stage, passionately plucking the strings of his guitar, and grinning like the happiest man on earth. The crowd went wild. Frontman Danny O'Donoghue entered the stage to thunderous applause and screams from every girl in the room. "I've been kicked right down, I've been spat in the face..." I sighed mentally, my guess for the opening song had been wrong! But it was beautiful, everything about the performance was fantastic. During "If You Ever Come Back" Danny made his way to our side of the stage, looked me directly in the eye and crooned "I wish you could still give me the cold shoulder, and I wish you could still give me a hard time..." Okay, he looked a lot of people directly in the eye, but still. I gripped the barrier tight, my legs shaking slightly, although this may have been a combination of adrenaline, low blood sugar, and the fact that I was standing right below the air conditioner. When I heard faint "ooooh, oooh oooh oooh"'s, I just knew that they were about to perform my favourite song of their's: Science & Faith. I screamed, squealed, and jumped up and down, it was perfect, better than I'd ever imagined it could be. A slow, almost acoustic version of "I'm Yours" probably reduced many in the audience to tears, and and appreciative laugh was induced when Mark talked about Danny's drunk-dialing problem which led to the song "Nothing". At one point, Danny ran onto stage draped in a giant South African flag, in response to which the audience, well, screamed some more. "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" was of course a big hit. Danny seemed to attempt the song and then give up and simply allow the audience to sing the first verse before re-starting the whole song. The response was phenomenal. After one encore, Danny, Mark and drummer Glen Power left the stage, and I assumed they were going to pull a Daughtry and not perform one of their biggest hits, namely "Breakeven". The audience was having none of this, however, and took up less of a chant, and more of a constant scream of "BREAKEVEN" until the boys came back onto the stage and began "I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing...", an amazing song to end off an amazing show. They had performed 17 songs, an impressive number for a band with only two albums under their belt.

Afterwards, I detached myself from the barrier with some difficulty, and attempted to make my way out of the venue, easier said than done. Ten thousand people trying to exit one door at the same time will always be difficult, and it was made worse by the fact that I could not exactly feel my legs. The rest of my body felt like death, all I wanted was my bed, but the Val de Vie-style* traffic jam of people made this impossible for almost 40 minutes. I got to my bed eventually, practically died on top of it, and was soon dreaming sweet dreams about marrying Danny (not really, but I'd have liked to).

Seeing The Script was a fantastic experience, their performance as well as their setlist was perfect, and as Mark tweeted later, the energy in the room was out of this world!

My next concert is only in October, in the meantime, bring on the post-concert depression.

(* the best way I can describe a huge traffic jam is by comparing it to the huge mess I encountered after seeing The Killers at Val de Vie wine estate. We sat in the car for four hours after the concert, attempting to exit the venue)

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