16 February 2011
'Unplayed Classics'Cape Town. Rehearsal day.
The backline crew came into the gig early today to set up a rehearsal space in a room in the stadium, so we could make some noise without it being twittered to the entire planet. I came in to offer moral support and give guidance on what it is we might be doing with the band tomorrow. The production load-in doesn't start until tomorrow morning, but the naked skeleton of the Claw is here, sitting in the stadium. It's not a sight I get to see very often and even two years later, it's impressive to see. The structure just looks colossal when it's sitting there in an empty stadium. Mind you, it looks equally colossal in a stadium full of people, so I suppose this shouldn't come as too big a surprise.
There's a song the band want to rehearse which is an album track that they've never played live. The backline crew played it through this afternoon, in order to get the sounds set up and it seemed very promising, so I hope it goes well with the band tomorrow. I'd like to get some more unplayed classics into the music arsenal.
We didn't linger too long and bailed by 6pm. I walked to the crew hotel to meet a friend who was in town and to meet up with some of the crew guys. It's about a fifteen-minute walk along quite busy roads with little pedestrian traffic. About half way there, I saw a guy up ahead, standing at the roadside next to a small motorbike. He couldn€™t have been more than twenty years old, wearing jeans and a t-shirt and holding a crash helmet. I could see that he was going to speak to me and I realised I was walking into a potential scam. I didn't slow down when he addressed me, telling me his name, saying he'd run out of petrol and could I help. He€™d give me the keys and I could see for myself that it wouldn€™t start and that his dilemma was genuine. I still didn't slow down and he walked with me for a good fifty metres or so, still holding his crash helmet and asking for money. I apologised for not being able to help, being a tourist and not knowing how things work here. And not slowing down. He eventually left me and (I guess) went back to his bike. I didn't feel particularly proud of the way I'd handled the situation but I'm in unfamiliar territory, so am not embarrassed about taking absolutely no chances.
An extraordinarily strong wind blew up this evening. By the time I reached the crew hotel it was gusting so strongly that I had to pay serious attention in order to not get blown into the road. I met my friend in the hotel bar and with a couple of other crew-members we headed out to the Waterfront (in a cab this time). There's a certain inevitability about ending up in a Belgian bar, so we didn€™t even try to resist. Dinner, a few drinks and back to the cocktail bar at the Hotel Fabulous. They were serving up some fine cocktails and it was remarkably reasonable too, given that this is probably the most expensive place to buy drinks in the whole of Cape Town. It was a fun night & one I needed after a week of feeling less than 100%.