The next day, Saturday, we got to the Festival once again, now knowing exactly where everything was, and with some exciting bands to see on the Main Stage. Always knowing that soon, we were to have the luxury of seeing The Who headlining and finishing the night.
So once we arrived there, we headed directly to the Main Stage. The Corrs were in the middle of their set, and as we wanted to be, this time, as close as possible to the stage, we started making our way around the people, walking slowly to the front. It was already full of people, but I was surprised at how easy was to walk to the front. No pushing, no rushing; people were just chilling and relaxed, even with all these famous acts on stage.
The crowd in Europe is so different from the ones in South America: in Chile, people get desperate to see their favorite artists, and start rushing and pushing towards the front of the stage. It’s almost a suicide to be in the front, at the gates. You see, we in South America usually
have one chance every 5 or 6 years to see our favorite artist doing a tour. Sometimes more; but other times, they do just one concert and never come back. In the past, here in Chile, we would be in pain, seeing how artists toured only to Argentina and Brazil, skipping our country.
These days, that doesn’t happen that much, and most South American tours include Chile, too. But if you analyze the facts, you can understand why people get so crazy and desperate in concerts. And that’s why the USA and European artists remark so often that the audiences in South America are “crazy”.
We are crazy because we always think this is gonna be our “only chance in life”, or the “last opportunity in a lifetime.” Hell, I waited from 1993 to 2008 to see Brian May and Roger Taylor live for the first time! No solo shows around here, folks!
So, on this day of the festival, I had my first cultural shock. The audience is calm! They don’t push to take your place! They are actually respectful!
So I was amazed when we got to the barrier, and people were not killing each other.
We got to the barrier just in front of the left big screen. I looked toward the stage, and The Corrs were performing just a few feet from me! It was totally unreal! I had seen this band’s videos so many times in the ‘90s (I never was a fan of theirs, though), I could recognize all their faces, and they were just there, performing in front of a relaxed audience, and in front of my eyes for real. What a shock!
When they finished performing, we started trying to move to the center of the barrier to be truly in front of the stage. If people were so respectful, it was only fair that we did the same. We started slowly walking to the center, and between each act, we could get a little closer. By the time The Who performed, we were in the center, front row. It was wonderful!
But before that, we got to see The Kills, who, once again, I’ve never heard before. It was good rock music, with a very charismatic girl singing in front of the band.
After that came Iggy Pop. By that time, we were at the barrier, almost in the center. I was still amazed about the people not pushing us! I was so curious about seeing Iggy Pop. He is a rock icon, and I was thrilled to be in the center first row to see his show. When he appeared on stage, I felt, once again, chills at seeing somebody so important to the world of rock music just a few feet in front of me. And I enjoyed every moment of it!
I remember that my first impression was that his body was so weird! He was in good shape, looks like a young guy, but you can see, in his body, marks of his age. And then you realize that he is almost 70 years old and I could do nothing more than be impressed and applaud him for still having such energy.
One funny thing that happened, is that I constantly saw how the cameras were moving, and how the photographers were taking pictures, all during the evening, of the acts and also the audience. As I was in the front row, I was expecting to see myself in pictures, but I was more hoping to see myself during Queen + Adam Lambert.
But that didn’t happen. Once I returned to Chile, I started checking the official Youtube videos, and I saw a video of the Iggy Pop song I Wanna Be Your Dog. On that video, I was lucky enough to appear two times in the audience, and not look ridiculous (at least I think that). At one point during that song, Iggy got down from the stage and walked into the audience. He walked in front of me, and all I wanted was to shake his hand. That didn’t happen, but I did get to see him as close as I’ll ever be (from 3:04 on the video below). I was surprised and the most happy I can be! You can see me on the video trying to shake his hand and with the happiest face I have ever had. That’s my 100% joy face! And I’m so glad I got to have that registered on video. Thank you, Iggy Pop!!
After Iggy Pop, it was the time for the ex-The Verve singer Richard Ashcroft. He did a set with his old The Verve and also his solo songs.
Even though I know he is important to a lot of people, back in the 90’s, I used to find The Verve utterly boring, and I didn’t come out of this performance having a different impression. Although, the sing-along during Bitter Sweet Symphony was very fun, and people were really into it.
Finally, it was the time for The Who, the big headliners of this day, and once again, it was completely impressive to see them as close as I did! They had these great visuals, and some very touching moments, especially with a medley of songs from the Tommy album. Both Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend looked very happy and relaxed to be playing there. “It’s good to be back in the UK!” said Peter Townshend at some point. How many opportunities could I get to see such a big band performing in their own home?? Not many, probably.