Thursday, July 14, 2011

Athens 2nd show

Kami, Matt, Phil, and Laila headed out to the venue early today. They left the hotel around 3:30 to go see if they could meet Roger when he entered the venue. I stayed at the hotel pool and chilled out, sunbathing and dipping in the pool for a couple more hours. Kami and the others did see Roger going into the venue. However, he and the band arrived an hour late, so he didn't stop. He waved apologetically to everyone from his car and immediately went in to sound check.
Dave K. kept promising to give me a tour of the stage over the past few weeks, but due to both our schedules, we kept missing opportunities. Today he sent me a text to say he was free to take Kami and me around tonight. I headed out on the 7 P.M. metro to the venue and arrived around 7:30, met up with Kami, and headed into the venue. I received a few more texts from Dave to say he was due out of his massage at 8 P.M., then that the massage lady was running late, and we should meet him at hospitality about 8:20.
At last night's show, there was a banner hung up just below the balcony at the rear of the venue about 80 feet long belonging to the Greek Pink Floyd fan club. Tonight, however, it was hung below the balcony along the side of the venue. Security were in the process of removing it when we arrived--they tried to explain to the Greeks that because they were filming each night and using clips from all three shows, this could really mess up the continuity of the DVD!!
We met up with Dave around 8:30 and headed up towards the stage. Just as we were walking up the steps, Khuna, the stage manager, asked Dave to make his tour quick, since the camera crew were preparing to film a few things onstage before the show! We had five minutes to look around Dave and Snowy's “rig.” The first thing I noticed was just how small the stage was and how small the audience looked! It was now about 8:40, 50 minutes till show time, so the venue was pretty full. Even then, the audience just looked ever so small from the stage. The area where Dave plays looked so compact--it really surprised me, because when you're watching the show from the arena floor, it looks huge!
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Dave’s Rig                                                                                               Are all these your guitars ?
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Snowy's rig                                           Me and Rose           Kami and Rose             A deflated “Mother”
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We headed below the stage to have a look around and passed “Pink” along the way, who looked tired and glad it was the next to last show! It's actually bigger below the stage than it is above! We had a quick chat with Robbie who was lurking under there doing his vocal exercises--I thanked him for the tour. We wandered around for five minutes just taking it all in.
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As we made our way towards the other end of the under-stage area, we saw a small production area where the DVD staff had set up to monitor to watch the filming out  front of the stage and around the arena. It was then we saw what they were actually filming from the stage. We watched on the monitors as a local female staff member onstage instructed the crowd how to use the masks. She first asked them to hold the masks in front of their faces and raise them up and down slowly. This looked fantastic on the monitors we were watching. She then asked everyone to hold their masks and move them around in a circle from side to side. At that point, we followed Dave out to the front of the stage to watch the filming, and I took a few pictures of the crowd pre-show with their masks on. Dave was really surprised by the effect, and took a few pictures of his own!
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We stood with Dave for five minutes watching the above before he made his move back to wardrobe to get ready for the show. Kami and I stayed at the front to watch them complete the filming, and then made our way over to Mat, who came in early to find a great place on the rail right in front of Dave and Snowy.
The crowd were really psyched up after the pre-show filming, and even though Kami and I didn't get to take part in it, if it makes the DVD, at least we know we were backstage watching it being filmed :)
Roger came on to a rapturous applause at about 9:15 P.M. I didn't notice any mistakes during the first half of the show at all--no feedback or missing notes like the previous night. Roger spoke to the crowd a little in Greek before Mother, then carried on in English with his normal, "Miserable, fucked up little Roger," speech.
One thing I didn't mention about the first night was the crowd after the line “No Fucking Way” comes up, on the wall. Tonight was just the same as last night, and on the left side of the stage it said “Fuck The Government” in Greek. The crowd went absolutely wild--I mean WILD! I've never heard a crowd like it at that point during the show. Obviously it worked a lot better in the non-English speaking countries when they used the local language, but due to the current state of the Greek economy and government, the line hit home a lot more than it did in any other country!
The film cameras were all in different places tonight. Gone was the large camera on a boom at the mixing desk, as was the huge area on the arena floor that was cordoned off for it. This also had the effect of leaving people on the arena floor much more space. We were stood on the rail, front row, and there was at least a five foot gap behind us! It was a odd, but great! There were two guys dressed in black on the stage holding cameras--the camera on the floor in front of the stage had gone for tonight's show, but there were a couple of cameras either side of the arena about half way back, plus a couple running along rails. The behind the wall camera on a boom that came over the top had moved to the right side tonight, too. I counted eight or nine in total.
Kami went back to hospitality at intermission while I stayed at the front with Mat. Phil and Laila were in seats on the lower tier towards the back.
I’d received a message from Kevin earlier in the day to say he was in Germany with Jens and Rainer and others for his birthday in 3 days time, and he was really sorry, but he wouldn't be making it to the last show-- it would be his 60th show on his 60th birthday! I was really disappointed--Kevin and I have toured Europe, shared hotel rooms, and seen Rogers shows together since 2002, and I knew how much he had been looking forward to seeing the last show on his birthday. Before the show I had the idea to put a message on my blog asking for a small donation from people to try get a flight, hotel, and ticket for Kevin to come to Athens. All through the first half of the show, I heard my Blackberry in my pocket vibrating, and kept glancing now and then--$20 donated, $10 donated, $100 donated--donations were flooding in, and I couldn't believe how quickly the money was raised. I was a touch skeptical when I made the initial post, but thought if I don't ask, I don't know. As Kami put it, Kevin's a great guy and has always been the first to step in and help others without asking for a thing. Tonight, hopefully, Kevin would have all his favours returned!!
Kami came back just before Hey You with a couple of bottles of water from hospitality, and I downed these in seconds. The venue was air conditioned, but it was still hot--not as hot as the first night, but the outside temperature in Athens hasn't dropped below 35` (95`) since we arrived, and I'm not used to this sort of heat at all!
We were unable to see Dave K. during Comfy Numb because we were on the rail, but we heard him, and that was enough! The crowd went wild at the end--I can only imagine what it must feel like to hear that applause and know that it's all your doing! Must be an amazing feeling. Half way through the track, though, the confetti started to come down from the ceiling! At first I thought it was on purpose, but the look on Roger's face said not. I looked over at Liam (front of House security), and he had his head in his hand and was shaking it. Word had obviously passed backstage pretty quick as a couple of crew members came out through the black curtains and see what was happening with their own eyes. Chris Khansy (Production manager) came running out 2 minutes later just as the last few confetti shapes were hitting the floor, he held his hands in the air,looked at Liam and i saw him mouth, “what the fuck happened” Liam then made hand gestures  showing him that the whole of confetti had just come down. Chris looked up and i could see he just couldn't believe it had happened. He quickly disappeared back behind the curtain and i can only imagine what words were had with whoever's job it was to look after “the button”!
The whole of the stage was covered in confetti, if they thought they had a problem with one large banner messing up their continuity in filming then they had a whole new problem with this!!
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The stage opened up and the instruments rose out for the penultimate time, the band walked out kicking the confetti as it was the first time they had seen confetti on the stage at this point of the show too, having being playing backstage and coming out they just looked at each other in a confused state!
I LOVE the second In The Flesh however after hearing and seeing the crowd reaction to Run Like Hell the previous night i was just wishing ITF to be over and hear those words “are there any paranoids in Athens tonight” sure enough Roger shouted into the crowd and Dave started to play the opening note of the track. Roger held his hands outstretched waiting for the beat to start his clapping but the crowd had started before him, i looked around and everyone was clapping but all at different times. Roger kept his hands outstretched and shouted” together” and then moved his hands together, within a single second the whole audience were clapping in unison, it was an amazing sight. Everyone in the lower and top tier were standing up and due to the lights in the arena being a lot brighter than normal it lit up the faces and white palms of everyone and it was just a sea of clapping hands!
Even though Jon, pat, Marky and Kipp had their sunglasses on i could see  by their smiles that they were as amazed at the sight of the fans clapping as i was, i couldn't help but keep looking back thinking everyone must have stopped by now but they hadn't!
The crowd were still buzzing for the rest of the show! as were the band, it was a faultless performance of the remaining tracks. After Roger shouted “tear down the fuckin wall” he stood there for what seemed like several minutes, he normally walks down the steps when the aeroplane onscreen comes with its machine guns blaring, Pompey turns on his flashlight for Roger to see the steps and he walks down, however tonight he just wanted to stay there, walking back over towards the middle of the stage before realising he had only a few seconds left to get off the stage before the wall came down and come down it did!!
The first 3 rows at the top of the wall came down as normal, there was then a delay, the rest of the wall then teetered backwards looking like it was going to fall behind, however it then started to move forwards, when i say the whole of the wall i mean like 9 rows high and about 30 bricks long, the largest single fall I've ever seen then occurred, people looked at each other in disbelief and scrambled back from the rail to avoid getting hit, i could see crew behind the wall trying to stop it falling forward but the wieght was just too much, it was already past the point of no return and momentum just took its cause. Liam was stood right infront of us and got totally covered in bricks, he was NOT happy. Several bricks  fell into the crowd and not just onto the front row but well onto the 4th 5th and even 6 rows back. Liam scrambled over to try get the bricks back, beckoning the Greek fans to give them back, they were having non of it and a few seconds later he gave up and let them have them. They were ripped to shreds, people pulling large chuckns off and throwing them into the air, passing what was left of the brick further back and the whole thing happeneing again till the two bricks were just destroyed and all you could see was a mass of fans holding small bit of brick in the air waving them about in triumphant fashion!
Roger came out onstage and looked at the crowd ”where have they gone” he said jokingly.
The band had to do their best to walk onstage and stand around bricks that were still hanging over the edge of the stage, the crew had cleared a path along the front the best they could but certainly weren't expecting to have to work this hard to clear all the bricks. Roger thanked the crowd again in Greek and introduced the band as they all left the stage with hug smiles on their faces, GE Smith looking the happiest ive ever seen him and doing a full 360` twirl upon hearing himself being introduced by Roger.
Its hard to decide which was the best show, the previous night or tonight, last night i think the crowd were just a touch more into it but tonight's mistakes and the wall fall made it that bit more special, if i could see either show again i think id opt for tonight.
Stage totally covered in bricks even after they had started re building i
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We al headed out of the venue unable to believe what we had just seen and looking forward to doing it all again for the last show in 3 days time!
kami in her mask             Some of the Greek fans                            Shame the front row didn't have these hats!!
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Album of pics below:

3 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed this one!! Though, deflated Mother may give me nightmares. Inflated Mother looks exactly like my mother-in-law. Momma let someone dirty get through!! :0)

    Wendy

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  2. "...but tonight's mistakes and the wall fall made it that bit more special"

    Yeah that's what I was thinking before I got to that part, all those elements helped to make it even *more* memorable (but not in a good way for the crew!)

    Julie :)

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  3. That split second...."All together now!" and within zero time everybody synchronized to the clapping...This is THE definition of unity. I will live the rest of my life honoring that split second, where every clap counts including mine. No words or images can even merely describe how your whole spectrum of the world can change due to some thousand claps....
    The worst thing is that I will never see such a divine concert in my life and I am 30. Thank you Roger is not enough.

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