This is going to be a long post because Saturday the 1st of December was a long and worthy day – Aids day.
I am fairly anal and excessively organised when it comes to concerts. When the concert is an all day affair involving close to 20 musical acts, 10 females and me, I try to be as jacked and sorted as possible.
With this in mind, we arrived at the Wits park and ride at about 11:30. This was after about an hour driving around town and Wits campus looking for the park and ride. There were no signs. I am happy to report that this was probably the worst organisation of the entire event.
Once we were on the bus things began to pick up. We arrived at Ellis part, all ten of us, and managed to get ourselves Golden Circle tickets! I hadn’t booked Golden Circle but what a score (thanks Kirty). So off we went right to the front. We were probably some of the first people in the stadium which was great.
The stage was massive, elaborate and of a very high standard, it’s great to know that people take things seriously now here in SA. 46664 was plastered all over the place and the message for the day was clear: It’s in our hands.
Live front man, Ed Kowalzcyk underneath the 46664 motto.
Now before I carry on explaining how magnificent the day was, the weather turned out and the crowd was, let me explain something: Concerts of this nature are merely for the pleasure of the crowd and satisfaction of the artists. But somewhere in this mess of self satisfaction and fulfillment the message of the day hits home for some. Not all.
The message for the 46664 concert was that HIV/Aids is not a disease anymore, it has become a human rights issue. I couldn’t agree more and took this message to heart with every word in every song from every artist. I absolutely loved the concert, artists and entire day and night.
The undoubted highlight of the entire 12 hour event was the father of African freedom and liberation himself, Nelson Mandela (Madiba), coming on to stage – assisted ofcourse – and saying a speech. I am not sure if you have ever heard thousands of people (pissed or sober) shut up in a matter of seconds. It took the crowd about 10 minutes of clapping, cheering and rejoicing his presence before Madiba was allowed to get a word in. Tears flowed at the sight of the man, the crowd was visibly moved, shaken and blown away that he is still able to grab and hold the attention of so many so quickly.
No sooner had I stopped taking photos, was the man gone from the stage with every single artist performing on the day following the crowds lead and cheering, shouting and screaming their appreciation for Nelson Mandela.
Way before Madiba even arrived on stage there were some phenomenal acts that took stage.
Razorlight, Arno Carstens, Louise Carver, Cassette, Freshly Ground, Peter Gabriel (who went on for way, way, way, way too long) and many more absolutely rocked the house.
Naomi Campbell even showed face, managed to get Arno Carstens name right and pronounce 46664 without missing one of the sixes! Annie Lennox, as official spokesperson, said some very harsh, true, effective and real words. I was mightily impressed with the very collected manner in which all the artists dealt with the theme for the day. No one spoke for too long, no one harped on, placed blame or even said that we were living in sin. Everyone was accepting, graceful, eloquent and effective.
After Mandela left the stage everyone immediately asked who or what could possibly follow. The answer was Live. Live blew everyone away. Old, young, hippie, rocker, blues fan or any other were all moved by the heated, intense and deep show put on by the international superstars. The only criticism is that they were only given three songs.
The Goo Goo Dolls were next in line for me as I waited for the rocking that they could bring. And did they rock? Yes, they did.
In amongst the festivities our deputy president showed face, gave a bit of a speech, didn’t harp on for too long and moved right off the stage as if she was never even there. It’s tough to not be Nelson Mandela in politics these days. Dep. pres. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka tried her best and credit to her, but she just couldn’t get the crowd to shut up.
The day was long – as I’ve said – but well worth it. The organisation skills were impeccable, the stage rotated allowing for fast band/musician changes. This meant that the crowd enjoyed more music in ten or twelve hours than I thought was possible. Ludacris was a gangsta as only he could be and Jamelia is a stunning beauty with an incredible smile and legs that extend to the moon. Beautiful.
The last point that I would like to make is how absolutely incredible the South African performers were. Loyiso did a duet with Corinne Bailey Ray, Just Jinger rocked the house as I had forgotten they could. Goldfish absolutely blew me away – I’ve never heard them before and I’ve never seen two guys have so much fun on a stage.
Johnny Clegg managed yet again to pull together a top class act that lead in to Nelson Mandela coming on stage.
Before I begin to bore you with my consistent banter let me just show you a collection of photographs that I took (there are a lot of them so visit my 46664 set on flickr if you like).
- Happy Birthday Madiba – Take a day off
- Nelson Mandela – 90 years old with all the praise
- Nelson Mandela day now an international day
- Jesse Clegg performing live in JHB!
- Chris Cornell rocked SA & SA rocked Chris
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