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The Show Must Go On: From The Isle of Wight to Brussels p. 1

After the Isle Of Wight festival was over, I was still in the clouds! The festival, overall, was an incredible experience that ended with seeing Queen + Adam Lambert on stage that Sunday.

goodbye Seaview!

I kind of felt like we were on tour too, because that same night, we had to quickly rush to our temporary home at Seaview, pack our bags, and get ready for the next morning, as we had to get off the Isle of Wight and take several trains to Belgium. A country that, once again, I’ve never seen before.

The initial goal when planning the trip was going to Brussels to see another Queen + Adam Lambert concert, which was another dream-come-true for me, because it was the first time I could ever follow a band this big on tour.

But my friends came up, at the beginning of the year, with this plan to go see another city in Belgium before heading to Brussels. That city is Brugge (Bruges).

In the past, I’ve only heard about Brugge listening to my mum and sister talking about this beautiful city that seems to come from a fairy tale, and how they would like to see it some day. In Spanish, the name of the city is “Brujas,” which means “Witches”.

leaving on the ferry

So I’d decided I was on it, because who wouldn’t want to see a city called “Witches”?!

So, we had a few days before the next concert in Brussels, and our next step was heading to Brugge.

We got up early that morning in Seaview. With sadness, I took the last pictures and videos to remember the Island forever, and we went in the rental car for the last time across the confusing roads to the East Cowes pier to take the ferry back to Southampton. It was the end of the “Wight” adventure for us, but the beginning of the brand new “Belgium” experience.

Once we got on the ferry and crossed the English Channel for the last time, we returned the rental car at the Southampton pier, and took a taxi to the St. Pancras railway station in London.

The St. Pancras Railway Station  (known as “London St. Pancras”) is a big railway terminal where you can take local English trains or international trains going to France, Belgium and Germany. It has this big Victorian architecture and it holds people in transit from all over Europe. In the waiting areas, there are many stores and eating places.

There are also two public upright pianos, which anyone can play (one of them was donated by Elton John!). So I couldn’t resist, and once I saw one of the pianos free, I had to play a little. For me, it was like “wow, I’m actually in London, in one of the most important train stations in Europe. Playing a piano!

That was one of the things I would never, ever have imagined I would be able to do.

St Pancras Upright Piano

So after that little recess, we were ready to pass through Customs and Immigration, and we boarded the Eurostar train heading to Brussels.

Inside Eurostar train

There wasn’t any direct train from London to Brugge, so we had to take the international train to Brussels first, and then take another one to Brugge.

It was all planned out, and there were so many things that could have gone wrong that day! But as magic happens, everything went well and we didn’t lose any train connections, bags, or people. It all went very smoothly.

Our first train from London St Pancras was the most impressive one: the Eurostar is a train that goes up to 300Km/hr and goes into a tunnel across the sea, to finally arrive at some train stations in the South of France, and then to the Brussels station called Bruxelles-Midi, which, as I recall, is the international Belgium train terminal.  Once we got there, we had little time to get onboard a domestic Belgium train at the same station that would get us to Brugge.

At that time, everything was about French. And it was very difficult for me to understand people speaking in English with French accents. So, I was happy and felt very safe with my friends doing all the talking for me.

I learned that in Europe, (besides the UK), the most common language is French. People politely speak English if you don’t know French, but certainly no one knows Spanish here!, which was a surprise, because I thought Spain was a big deal in Europe.  From my experience, I saw that you get to speak Spanish just in Spain, and nowhere else. So that instantly made my native language useless. (Which was actually good, as I had to force myself to keep practicing my English skills!).

As with with what I saw on the train, that part of Europe is so beautiful, a lot of green that reminds me of the roads from the south of Chile (Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, Frutillar). It looked very familiar. I guess we really live on the same planet after all! On one of the stops on the train, we passed through a French city calle Lille, which is the birthplace of a very successful singer in Chile (Anita Tijoux). It looks like the kind of place that can get very cold and harsh on bad days, but rewards you with one of the most “green” and beautiful sights I’ve ever seen during the whole year. Pretty much like it is for the people living in the south of Chile.

So, after traveling all day, we finally arrived at about 9PM at the Brugge train station. Suprisingly, it wasn’t night yet, and the station seemed to be located outside of the more tourist area. It was all good, and we took a taxi to our hotel, located in the middle of the town.

Then, I started to see what everyone talked about. This was a big doll house! At least, the central tourist area looks like it is locked in the ancient time of witch stories, princesses, and knights. Everything looks and feels like it comes from a fairy tale. Of course, I know that’s the main attraction and they work hard to give the tourists that illusion. But we only had that night, and the next day to enjoy Brugge.

It was night when we arrived,very tired, to the hotel, so we had some drinks and snacks in our room (including a Chilean drink called pisco that I saved from all the way from Santiago!) and we went to sleep.  In our cozy little hotel, we dreamed of castles and fairy tales still to come…

Click HERE for the second part of this journey!

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p. 7 Sunday: We Are The Champions!

This is the seventh part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part, FOURTH part, FIFTH part and SIXTH part.

 

In the crowd in the rain…

At one point during the Ocean Colour Scene set, they sang a song about rain, and just when they finished their last chord, it started to rain much harder. The whole crowd cheered happily, because it felt like a magical moment, where the weather heard the band calling for water!

That was a very nice moment, but honestly, I was mostly anxious, because I wanted to move forward, and once this band finished performing, it was our last chance to move to the front.

So the band finished their set, and it was raining a lot. We had about 45 minutes left before Queen hit the stage, and it was time for our last effort to make it as close as possible to the stage.

Only few people moved around, and we got very near the barrier and to the right side of the stage. That was it; we couldn’t move any further.

At first, I was disappointed, but then I realized I had just two people in front of me before hitting the barrier, and I was just about to see the concert I waited all this year for, just a few feet from the stage! Our position wasn’t as good as the day before, but I was one lucky person to be there, enjoying all these bands, and now about to enjoy a full Queen concert in such a close standing position.

The people in front of me were Queen + Adam Lambert fans, as they had the tour t-shirts on. They were hardcore fans who came from all over England to see these concerts, and my friends and I started to talk with them. They turned out to be very, very nice, and they helped me out, taking some pictures of me and my Chilean flag. My friends told them that I came all the way from South America to see this concert, and they were thrilled.  We had a little chat about cultural differences, music, and some other topics. It was all fun!

While the stage was being set up, I got to see how the roadies installed the guitar amps, the drum set, and some stairs between the catwalk and the Main Stage. All this while flying like coordinated dancing working bees. It was thrilling to me. And very exciting.

A black curtain in the background that was used by the other bands for their scenography, was taken off, and it revealed a big, round L.E.D. screen with a “Q” shape. It was hidden back there all this time, just for this moment. The wings on both sides of the stage were uncovered, too, to reveal yellow stairs as an extension to the Main Stage.

And at this point, a white curtain with the “Queen” logo dropped down covering all the stage. This was gonna be revealed only when the band started their set.

Queen stage right wing

While the rain was still hitting hard, I could see people with brooms nervously trying to dry the floor of both the catwalk and the side wings.

It was awesome to see those backstage details!

Then I started to hear the “Track 13” from the Made Of Heaven álbum, which is the indicator that the show was starting in about 15 minutes. It’s a 15 minute track hidden on that album that mostly contains a D note, played in a strings patch of a synthetizer. It’s so simple, but it sets the exciting atmosphere right away.

A loud sound came from the PA system and the concert was finally starting.

 

On the two big screens, I could see backstage footage of Brian May, Roger Taylor, Adam Lambert, and the whole band getting ready to come on stage while the recorded introduction for the song One Vision started to play. The audience started to go crazy, and by the end of it, the crisp, clear sound of Brian May’s guitar gave us the first notes of the same song. The white curtain was raised, and boom!! I could see for the first time on stage, since my last time in Chile 2015, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Adam Lambert performing. Everyone started clapping and singing while Adam Lambert inmediately took over the catwalk, wearing a kind of George Michael jacket that shined in the lights.

Just the day before, all the news was about the sad killing of lots of people in a discotheque in Orlando, Florida, and my friends were upset that Adam could be the next victim while singing on stage. I could see many worried guards protecting Adam offstage and upstage, and at this concert, I could tell that they tried to hold him back from using the catwalk or the stage wings that much. My friends could not calm down.

But tonight, no tragedy happened. It was all happiness and fun. Brian May went up to the right wing, getting very near of our position at some songs and it was a full joy. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

At one point, one of the English guys we’d just met asked me if I was ok. They probably thought I was fainting or something. All I remember was jumping and singing every song at the top of my lungs!

Adam Lambert had his own show, singing Killer Queen while sitting on a throne, drinking champagne, and spitting it into the audience. As usual, he thanked Brian and Roger for the chance to be there, just before singing Don’t Stop Me Now. What an amazing frontman!

In the middle of the show, Brian May walked down the catwalk and took a selfie video of the whole audience.  Then, he sang  Love Of My Life, as always, dedicated to the late Freddie Mercury.

Roger Taylor had another drum set on the catwalk too, and he sang some songs there, too (sorry Roger, your voice is not the one that was before!). He had a drum battle between he and his son, and then he performed Under Pressure, dedicated to David Bowie.

Later, Brian May had his trademark Guitar Solo while being raised above the skies in front of the big Q shaped screen in the background of the stage. Not one of the finest musical moments of history, but one of the most impressive moments of the show to me.

Later, during I Want It All, there was this big fire coming from the stage making everyone go crazy.

There was this big emotional moment just before Adam Lambert sang Who Wants To Live Forever. He dedicated this song to all the victims of “irrational hate crimes,” as he called them, referring to the Orlando shooting the day before. This song was embellished with many laser lights and a disco ball that came down from the ceiling, making the show even more impressive. Adam hit every note just right, and it was such a perfect climax.

Much later in the show, the band performed Radio Gaga, and Adam came off the stage to sing in front of the people (much like Iggy Pop the day before). Sadly, he didn’t come to our side, but that was another moment when the audience went crazy.

Then the encore came: We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, which ended impressively with an explosion of gold confetti. The show was over, the band said goodbye from the Main Stage without approaching to the catwalk for the last time, while the recording of God Save The Queen was sounding over the PA system.

The stage was empty again, and I grabbed confetti from the floor to have as a souvenir from this wonderful night.

 

My friends and I hugged, and as we turned back, a big fireworks show started displaying in the beautiful skies of the Isle Of Wight, closing this year’s festival and finishing our adventure on this great Island.

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p. 6 Sunday – Helplessly Hoping

This is the sixth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part, FOURTH part and FIFTH part

The whole park was filled with people, and I started to get more anxious, as I was seeing more and more people with Queen t-shirts, Adam Lambert clothes, and I even saw a couple of Queen + Paul Rodgers t-shirts (Queen performed live with the singer Paul Rodgers between 2005 and 2008 and that project was dead a long time ago). So I started to think that if so many people were there to see Queen, it meant that we had less chance to get to the front.

Once we returned to the bar, we saw the crowd at the Main Stage, and decided it was time to go there and start making our way to the front. This time it wasn’t gonna be as easy as the day before! The place had many more people, and about 70% of them were already waiting for Queen & Adam Lambert,  so they weren’t moving anywhere. We had still more than 3 hours to go, but we decided it was time to start the “get to to the fence or die” operation!

IOW sunday crowd

The crowd in the middle of the day

The clouds were threatening to punish the whole audience with a long and hard rain, but I didn’t care.  All I wanted to do was to get to the front.

Mike + The Mechanics were still on stage and, as we walked through the people, we could only get to the right side of the stage, and not even close to the fence. I noticed that the stage was shaped differently today: the night before, there was installed a catwalk on the center of the stage, and 2 “wings” on both sides that served the purpose of being extensions of the stage. Those wings had stairs and they were covered in plastic paper to protect them from the possible rain. As I saw Queen & Adam Lambert last year in Chile (and on countless Youtube videos too), I knew those nIMG_6740ew things were for the Queen concert, and they were  probably installed by some hard working roadies the night before (who were probably now sleeping inside the big Queen Trucks).

I was actually happy to see that the band was about to use the usual stage props for their show, and not a reduced one, due to the many different bands performing on stage that day.

By the time Mike + The Mechanics finished their set, only very few people moved away, so we had one more chance to keep walking through the people, and start approaching the front. We started walking to the center of the crowd and then forward until we hit a barrier of people who weren’t moving at all!

So we decided to wait there until the next band finished their set, and hopefully then, try again to move a little further to the front. It was exciting and scary at the same time, as I didn’t want to give up on my hope to get to the front, but this time it wasn’t looking as nice as the day before.

 

Next on stage were TThe Cribs IOW stagehe Cribs and we were stuck on the right side of the stage, still not near the front. The band started playing, and I noticed they were a rock band with a grunge attitude, kind of like a mixture between Green Day and Pearl Jam. But oh my God! They sounded so bad. I imagined they were having a bad day or something, because I think that every band on the Main Stage probably deserved being there. But these boys had their instruments and voices completely out of tune. It was painful to hear their one hour set.

Again, I was very surprised about how respectful the audience was. People around me looked equally impressed at how awful this band was, but they still clapped and cheered when each song ended. I didn’t hear anyone booing.

But I must say, the band had a very rock attitude, and the singer/guitarist was the only one I saw using the catwalk installed for Queen. I imagined it was probably forbidden for other acts to use Queen’s scenery, but this guy did it anyway in a rebel rock attitude. In between one of the songs the singer/guitar player said something like “I know you are here for Queen, we all love Queen so we are on the same side”  To me, that was like apologizing for having a bad day, and I got a little sad for them. I imagined that they probably heard people getting bored, or not liking their songs, and being a musician, myself, I can imagine how hard it is to be in such a position.

So, they ended their show with a loud, out-of-tune noise from all the instruments, as if they were about to break everything, and then got off the stage.

OCS IOW stage

Ocean Colour Scene on the stage

After that, we managed to try to keep moving. We were running out of time, as there was only one last band left before Queen & Adam Lambert. We managed to move a little more to the center and front, but still not quite near the barrier.

We stayed there, and after about 45 minutes, the last band came on stage: Ocean Colour Scene. It was a softer rock band than The Cribs, and I could instantly tell the difference in their sound. This one sounded a lot more profesional and clear, from their instruments, musicianship and even to the sound mixing. Everything sounded more polished compared to the last band.

By this time the feared rain started falling on us. At that time I thought it wasn’t really that much rain, but the people around me started quickly covering with rain ponchos as if they knew this was gonna be the end of the world. It wasn’t that cold for me, so I just covered my head with a Chilean flag I had in my bag during the whole time.

 

And I waited…

 

Stay tuned for my next and last article about my experience at the Isle Of Wight festival 2016

Music Daze: The (Isle of Wight) Album p. 5 Sunday: Prelude

This is the fifth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part and FOURTH part

The Isle of Wight Festival 2016 and the day of Queen + Adam Lambert performance, Sunday.

The holy day we all waited for! Queen + Adam Lambert was scheduled to end the festival on the Main Stage that night. This time we arrived early, at about 11:00. The weather was cold and we were prepared for a long, rainy day, as it had been forecasted all week.

We had planned this day a long time ago, as my friends had something called “Premium VIP” tickets, and they had invited me. That was a hublackstar barge deal for me, as we were about to get provided with an “exclusive” view of the Main Stage, a bar serving drinks all day, meals, and a shelter in case the weather was too bad.

It was such a treat for me. For only this day, we had a new black wristband for the bar, which was called “Blackstar” in honor to David Bowie’s last álbum. It was a pub installed on a second floor at one side of the big open area where the Main Stage was. Inside, it was all about David Bowie: it had lots of big pictures and paintings of different Bowie’s eras on the wall. It had rest areas, sofas, cushions, and of course, the open bar where pretty ladies were serving drinks on demand. You could drink all you wanted during the whole day.

 

It was a little paradise. Then, with a drink in your hand, you could go outside to a balcony and get a perfect view of all the acts performing on the Main Stage.

The Entrance

The Entrance

Even at the entrance, people treated you differently. You went inside from a special “VIP parking entrance” which was just behind the Main Stage, and security guys acted all nice to us once they saw our wristbands. The long walks across the Seaclose park to get to the Main Stage were all over for today! While we were walking there, I could see the back of the Main Stage, where roadies were still working installing equipment for the upcoming bands, and I saw the Queen & Adam Lambert Trucks parked there. Those were the trucks used to transport all the gear and equipment for Queen’s summer tour across Europe, and they had a blue truck company logo and the Queen + Adam Lambert On Tour words marked on the sides. It was very exciting for me.

I also saw a building on the side that wasn’t accesible to the audience: it had signs marked as “backstage and wardrobe”, So, I imagined that it was the site where all the bands hung out and got ready for the performances that day. I didn’t see anyone “famous” at that time, though.

 

 

Main Stage Sunday morning

Main Stage Sunday morning

Anyway, for a normal day, it was way too early to start drinking. But this wasn’t a normal day. So we started to help ourselves getting drinks and I got many margaritas, rum cola, cider, and beer. And that was before lunch time (I’m a drunk ok?).

Inside the bar, there were a couple of ladies painting faces so that you could pretend that you were a “jolly hippie at Woodstock”. I didn’t have the courage to paint my face (I probably needed more drinks for that) but I had enough drinks to get a big “Queen + Adam Lambert” painting on my arm that looked just like a tattoo.

Then just like that, from the balcony of the Blackstar Bar, we saw the performances of The Orders, The High Kings (nice ireland folk music!), Twin Atlantic, Half Moon Run and Mike + The Mechanics. Paying them attention from time to time, as (once again) I didn’t know most of this day’s acts.

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

The day was passing, and I wanted to go as close to the stage as possible, just like the day before, and hopefully get in a similar spot, near the fence, just like we had watched Iggy Pop and The Who.

So, before trying to go there and spend the rest of the day waiting inside the huge crowd, we decided to go and take a walk for the last time to see this big park and all its carnival games. We caught a troubador singing on one of the stages that reminded me a lot of the “trova” movement in South America. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch his name but he reminded me a lot of the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez.

Then, we caught some d.j.’s playing electronic music nearby, and then a couple of songs from The Family Rain at the Big Top.

english "trova"

english “trova”

Soon, we were ready for our big move toward the Main Stage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Friends and me at this glorious day

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.4 – Saturday: A Primer In Cross-cultural Understanding

This is the fourth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part and THIRD part.

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.

The Corrs from far away

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

The Corrs closer

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!

The Corrs Isle Of Wight 2016 (2)

The Corrs from the barrier

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!

The Kills Stage

The Kills Stage

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!

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

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.

 

Iggy On Stage

Iggy On Stage

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.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

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.

 

 

Stay Tune for The last article about The Isle Of Wight Festival 2016!

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.3 – Friday

Isle Of Wight Festival 2016: Friday

This is the third part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part, and the SECOND part.

Friday was when the festival really started.

Both the Big Top and the Main Stage were fully crowded, and you could see more and more people as the day progressed. Just like the day before, we didn’t arrive very early. We got ourselves some Isle Of Wight MAIN STAGEbeer and fish and chips, and walked directly to the Main Stage, as this was the first day of performances there and I wanted to check out that big stage, with the most famous acts going to be there.

Once we got there, I noticed it was huge! …and very tall. Even if we were standing very far from it, you could still see perfectly what was going on there. And there were also two big screens, which helped a lot in getting a glimpse of the details, if you weren’t closer. What I love about this kind of thing, is that you have the chance to watch like a real time “concert dvd” if you watch the screens, or take a look directly at the stage and see with your own eyes what  the performers are doing.Isle Of Wight Festival MAIN STAGE

I found that most of the time, what your own eyes can see feels very different from what you see on the big screens. Sometimes, all the camera cuts, close ups, angles, etc makes the concert feel more impressive than what is really happening on stage. For me, that is not a bad thing — it is very exciting to get a glimpse in real time of how the “concert dvd” of the same concert I’m watching would look, as opposed to the real experience. Watching the big screens is like having your own TV with a fiction movie, and just at the center of the big TVs, you see the real “behind the scenes”, uncut footage.

 

Back at home, I often find myself watching concerts dvds and wondering what the real experience would look like. It’s never gonna be the same enjoying an edited concert footage, as watching how it really was. IMG_6673

So, we arrived at the Main Stage just a couple of minutes before the young singer Jess Glynne hit the stage. I must say that I’ve never heard of her before this day. And it’
s a shame, because while seeing her, I recognized many familiar songs, and back at home, I got her album on Amazon because I thought she was really good.

I guess that proves that a live concert is a truly wonderful way to promote artists.

Anyway, IMG_6674this time we didn’t try to get to the front; we just stayed in the middle of the audience, next to some cheerful (and annoying at times) teenagers, screaming and talking loud while Jess was performing.  The stage looked wonderful, very colorful and the day was, again, very good. No sad clouds or rain.

 

We stayed during the whole Jess Glynne set. Her band was amazing, and even the electro pop songs that she has, that in the studio relies on heavy synth sounds and “quantisized” rhythms, now sounded full of life and very human. So thumbs up for Jess Glynne and her amazing backup band!

After that, we decided to move from there and walk around, just like the day before. While walking around, I got a glimpse of some other bands performing on the smaller stages, including a very out-of-tune Beatles tribute band. I also went to the merchandise store, and spent some time deciding on a t-shirt and some gifts I wanted to bring back to Chile.

 

 Here you can watch a short video I took of the Jess Glynne performance. You can get an example of what I talked before about the difference between watching the big screens and the stage at the same time. (sorry for the shaky footage!)

 

So just like that,  the day quickly ended for us, as we were getting picked again by my friend’s husband.

Later that night, we went to a pub outside the festival area on another part of the island. Somebody told us that it was a pub that some roadies and even bands from the festival go to “escape” for a while from the festival itself. We were excited, thinking that we might see some famous musicians there.  But by the time we got over there, after many problems finding it, with the famous Isle of Wight road confusion, it was kind of empty.  Kind of a disapointment,

but we had a few drinks, and it was a pretty cool, authentic place, so it still was fun.

So that was our Friday at the festival!

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.2 – Thursday

THE FESTIVAL

This is the follow up article about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read the first part HERE

Now I’m gonna talk about the 2016 version of the Isle Of Wight Festival, as me and my friends lived it. I don’t pretend to be writing a full review of it, because I’m not a journalist, and I didn’t see all of the acts, anyway. So I’m just gonna write here about my experience and how it all felt to me.

IOW festival 2016 poster

Isle Of Wight Festival Official Poster

The festival ran from June 9th to 11th, Thursday to Sunday. Our wristbands were good for the four days, so even if I didn’t know many of the acts, and we were there for Queen + Adam Lambert (who were performing closing the festival on Sunday night) I encouraged my friends to go, at least, for a while to the four days. Because as I said before, this was my first time ever out of Chile, and my first time being at an authentic European festival.

The festival was held in Seaclose, a big park in the city of Newport. As I said before, we were staying in an area of the island called Seaview, which, according to Google Maps, was about a half hour from Newport.

So, on Thursday, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and my friend’s husband dropped us at the entrance after a 45 minutes drive (It took us forever to get there due to the confusing roads and the non helpful signs).

Once we finally got there. I found that the whole place was beautiful. At the entrance, there was this huge space for campers, and after a 10 minute walk inside the park, we got to the festival area, which was filled with clothing stores and souvenirs. It was also like a big carnival featuring

once again: not my entrance....... yet

once again: not my entrance……. yet

some scary games which I didn’t ride cause I’m a chicken. There were countless attractions and many small stages which were starting to fill the air with music. But the principal area was the one where you could go to the 2 main stages: the Big Top, and the Main Stage (what a clever name!). Those were the 2 principal stages where the best known bands were about to perform during the 4 days of festival. The Big Top was like the younger brother of the Main Stage. It looked like a huge circus tent, and some well known bands were scheduled to perform there, like Status Quo. But it wasn’t really made to hold the majority of the festival audience.

The other part the Main Stage was a huge stage, located in a big open area of the park. That was the real deal: the stage where you would see these big acts performing one after another, and it was made to be seen from very far away. Artists like The Who, Iggy Pop and Queen + Adam Lambert were scheduled to perform there.

On Thursday, the first day, there weren’t artists scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, but the Big Top was open and receiving their first bands and audience.

I was interested in checking out a band called The Sex Pissed Dolls, which caught my attention several weeks before arriving at the festival. They are an all-girl punk band, with very young girls performing in it. I checked out some of their youtube videos while I was still in Chile, and decided that I wanted to see them live. Also, I must say, they are all very gorgeous, and I couldn’t help being attracted by that too (shame on me!).

In the festival publicity, they were featured as just “The Dolls”. So, that was a bit confusing.

We got to the Big Top just a couple of minutes before they started to perform. There weren’t many people there, so my friends and I quickly got to the front.

And so, my first experience ever in an European festival was seeing The Sex Pissed Dolls at the Isle Of Wight Festival.

They played a tribute set of punk songs, and they were impressive to me. A very promising start for what would be this experience to me. As I was in the front, I could also see that they were being filmed by professional cameras. Those images were being broadcasted live on two big screens on both sides of the stage. It was so much fun to see the girls giving it all for the audience, but also playing and making sexy moves for the cameras. I really wish I could find this performance on Youtube to see them again, because I enjoyed it so much. Thank you girls for giving me a really great start to the festival experience!

the dolls

After that performance, we had to go out of the Big Top because the volume of the PA was too loud and we were standing just in front of one of them. As a musician myself, I must take care of my hearing; even if I was having so much fun listening to The Dolls at a very high volume, at times it was too darn loud! (spot the two Back To The Future reference I’ve made so far!)

After watching that show, as it was our orientation day, we got ourselves a beer and some food, and wandered around the stores and some of the small stages, and I got some memorabilia. As the park was so big, it was actually a long walk getting from one place to another. So we quickly found out that it was impossible to really see most of the festival acts, unless we could clone ourselves. This was like a big Disneyland to me and the day passed too fast!

Join me next time where I’m gonna keep revisiting my experience in the Isle Of Wight Festival 2016

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.1

Following the few days my friends and I spent in London, our next adventure on this trip was going to the Isle of Wight festival to see Queen + Adam Lambert. Of course,  that was just the main excuse to go there.

It’s always fun to see a new place I’ve never heard of before starting to plan this trip, and I spent a lot of time trying to imagine what it would look like. I wanted to “sightsee” everything and, of course, have the experience of attending a real European festival. So once it was confirmed that we were attending the 4 days of the Festival, I spent several months daydreaming about it.

 The Isle of Wight was also the place where we were going to stay for the most time during this trip.

last ride on “The Tube”

Our adventure in London finished with us taking, for the last time, the tube to the Terminal 5 station, which was one of the many subway stations at the Heathrow Airport. (Wouldn’t it be great to have a subway station to get directly to the Santiago airport in Chile?). On the same day, we were meeting with a couple of friends that were coming from the USA to start their part of the journey with us.

After meeting them, our first adventure in London finished, and we took a van heading to Southampton, a city with one of the biggest boat harbors in England, and where we would be taking a ship to cross the English Channel to the Isle of Wight.

Southampton harbor

It was a wonderful sunny day, and I was pleasently surprised about the good weather coming with us. Back in Chile everyone kept warning me about how awful the weather was in London, and I was waiting to have lots and lots of rain and cold, especially near the sea in Southampton.

adventure island!!

We found that the harbor was huge, and the van driver (who was a local) got lost trying to find the right gate for where we had reserved a rental car to take to the island. We spent like 30 minutes wandering around, trying to find the right spot. It was very funny, since the rental car agency was basically, right across the Street from where we kept looking.

Finally, the driver took us to the right place, and after my friends rented the car to travel through the island, we were set to head to the ferry.

After a pleasant 40 minutes ride on the ferry, we arrived at a town on the Isle of Wight called East Cowes, which is located in the north of the island. After that, we were inside the island and all we had to do was discover it.

England from the ferry

 

 

the Isle of Wight from the ferry

As we were heading to our new “operation base” in an area called Seaview, I looked out the window from the car, and started discovering how everything had these incredibly bright colors.
Everywhere I looked, was like looking a real life postcard, including the houses and construction which had this very antique “English” look.

We also discovered another very remarkable side of the island: the roads! Wow… I must say I’ve never seen such confusing roads. I was so glad I wasn’t driving, or else I would be a nervous wreck the whole time there!

First, most roads are very, very narrow, so you really feel like you are about to fall down a cliff or you are gonna crash against another car driving on the opposite side. And second: the signs on the streets indicating directions were very confusing, and most of the time they led us to a whole different area of the island where we weren’t supposed to be. Even with the gps turned on and the app Waze running on our cell phones, it was very difficult to find the right location. So driving along those roads was an adventure of its own!

To get around the tension that driving on the island caused, we found ourselves constantly joking about the “roundabouts”, which were very weird for us, or taking bets on how many wrong turns we were going to make before finding the right direction. So the roads were kind of annoying at first, but in the end it was all fun.

So finally, after countless wrong turns on the roads, we arrived at a nice house located in Seaview called “Wight Lodge” (some day I must do some research on why in England they keep naming their houses as if they were pets). This was a big, beautiful house that my friends had rented to stay in during the festival, and it was the place we called “home” during the next five days. It had a very nice view to the sea (Duh! it’s Seaview!), and the weather was surprisingly hot (I even got to wear shorts during that evening!). While some of my friends decided to go to the yard and spend the evening in the sun, I decided to take a nap in
a nice little room I had for myself. Life was good!

the seaview from Seaview

 

posing on the English Channel beach
English Channel beach

Later that night, we started to make plans for the first day of the festival, which was starting the next day. There were few bands I had heard before, but I was very excited and curious to see how would
it feel to be inside a real “European festival”.

TO THE FESTIVAL

So the next day, Thursday, we woke up, and went to a lovely place to have breakfast nearby called Lily’s Coffee Shop, which for me, was one of the most memorable places we had meals during our stay on the island. The food was excellent, people were very nice and it had this really antique but comfortable feeling of a real English house. Plus, it had funny and some historical signs on the walls.

desayuno “Di campione” y qui pa?!

 

breakfast with friends

And then we were ready for our first festival day!  Some of my friends decided to skip this day, so I just went with two of them. This was, for us, like a “recognition” day, where we would get to know the place, get to know where all the stages were, and the most important thing: get to know the place where Queen + Adam Lambert were going to perform on Sunday.

So, our very first adventure was actually getting there.

wrong entrance! 🙁

I already talked about how difficult the roads were for us. And getting to the festival was not easy at all!. One of my friends’
husband was driving the car, and the plan was to leave us at the festival entrance. We had to go to a huge park in a town called “Newport“, situated slightly to the north of the centre of the island. Oh boy!, did I say already the roads were confusing? The festival, as the big event it was, had caused  many of streets to be closed, and the direction signs (some made especially for the festival days) were equally confusing. We almost ended up getting on the ferry back to Southampton,
we drove in circles, and the traffic was terrible due to the festival.

So, I think we spent about 40 minutes just driving around trying to find the entrance. At one point, we found a police officer. We asked him for directions, and he didn’t know what to say. Even locals seemed to be a bit lost there.

Finally, due to a miracle of God probably, we came  across the right road and we got out of the car, put on our wristbands and were  ready to see the first festival day!

Isle of Wight Festival 2016. Here we go!

And now for the festival itself…stay tuned!!!!!