Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earplugs?

I knew we were in trouble when they handed us earplugs at the door! But let me back the story up a bit and tell you how we got there...

Christiane stopped me Saturday morning while I was walking Lucie and asked if I'd like to attend a music event in Figeac with her that evening. She had two complimentary tickets given to the mairie, and Jean-Paul, with the beginnings of a cold, didn't want to go. Sure! I'm always up for a French cultural adventure. She said she'd pick me up at 6:30 pm, as there was not assigned seating, and we'd want to get there a little early to get a good seat. No assigned seating should have been our first clue...

I googled the event name, Roots, and discovered it would be an evening of reggae music by four groups of  American performers. We arrived at Espace Mitterand and found the doors barred. Although the tickets gave a 7:30 pm start time, the girl at the door said that was when the doors would open; the music wouldn't start until after 8 pm. We passed the time being entertained by a very inebriated man who kept trying to get in the doors early, a couple of times by using us freezing women as an excuse. He sorely tried the patience of the security guards as they gently, but firmly, kept escorting him back behind the barriers.

So, 7:30 pm arrived, and they let us in handing us the earplugs as we entered. We selected comfy seats,.and Christiane remarked that she thought the large empty space in front of the stage was probably in case anyone wanted to dance. Another clue had we been alert to it. We waited. Rock music blared. Photos of musicians were projected on a large screen. Lights strobed. The smoke machine spewed. The smoke machine?? We waited. Several men arranged, rearranged, checked and rechecked instruments, speakers, and lights. We waited some more. I asked Christiane where all the people were as only a handful had entered the performance hall. She shrugged an "I don't know" answer. And still we waited.

Sometime after 8:30 pm people began drifting in. It was like they possessed some sort of concert instinct that neither Christiane or I had. They seemed to intuitively know that the musicians were about to walk on stage. Which they did to flashing lights, pounding music, smoke and wild, soulful singing! The concert had begun! And that empty space was soon filled with shoulder-to-shoulder jumping, clapping, arm-waving, singing fans. We were in the very heart of a full-blown rock concert. It was fabulous...and loud. While I did spot some other concert-goers of our generation (all of them sitting in the comfy seats), most of the crowd (all of them standing) looked to be under 30 and 'way into the music.

Between groups, the hall emptied again. Christiane reported, after a trip to the loo, that they were all outside smoking in the designated smoking area. We listened to the first group, lead by Angelo Moore of Fishbone, which sounded like a combination of Chicago and James Brown; I liked it a lot and so did Christiane. The second group was headlined by Pat Kelly, a famous Jamaican reggae singer; we like them as well. The third group turned out to a techno band; neither of us liked them very much. So, halfway through their set, we decided to leave. It was already midnight, and there was another whole group to go. They may still be rocking at the Espace Mitterand for all I know! This was definitely a French cultural adventure.
This is a taste of our evening. The sound isn't the best.  The music really did sound better than this.At the end of the clip, you'll see that  the musicians had left the stage and were playing in a circle in the middle of the crowd. It was a wild time! As Christiane said, this was a great concert for me...I actually understood the lyrics (and knew some of the songs) since it was all in English. It's been a whole lot of years since I've been to a rock concert. I think the last one was in the early 1990s when I dragged Travis and his girlfriend, Kristy, to the first (of many) comeback tours of the Rolling Stones. The rules have changed a bit, but the music is still loud and the energy level is still sky-high....those things haven't changed. I almost wished I was 20-something again, down there in front of the band, jumping and singing along.

 I'm really tired today...wonder why.

2 comments:

  1. Wow sounds great! I love the live music events in France. We always try and make Les Nuit Des Chiens Bleus in Najac every June. It’s always interesting – some bands are better than others. We never make it to the end either! I think it was very considerate of them to give you ear plugs!

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  2. I have to say rather you than me, I'm afraid, but I'm sure the ambience was great!

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