Tag: Music

Tiësto in Bogotá

by Alex on Dec.12, 2009, under Blog

T’was the eve of my birthday the dress code white and the destination Parque Jaime Duque, about an hour’s drive north of Bogotá. We had to pay a ‘fine’ of 50,000 pesos when flagged down by the policia as Marty didn’t have his driving license on him and when we got there the parking set up was a shambles, naturally…

I wondered if our ‘VIP’ tickets might get us close to the action and laughed when I realised that a ‘VIP’ ticket in Colombia, at least at a Tiësto concert, holds about as much kudos as does the title ‘Vice President’ when working for a large United Statesian corporate. We were right at the back, platinum ticket-holders in front of us and uberplatinum (or something) in front of them. It was for the best though as we had plenty of space and didn’t have a half hour queue for the toilets.

What a night: we were about 15,000, the music was amazing and the smoke effects were provided by mother nature – the mist rolling across the open-air arena added to the ambience no end though brought with it the distinct threat of hypothermia.

Music-wise, at least electronically-speaking, I’m a bit of a turn-of-the-millennium trance boy, my first favourite of the night was Gouryella then came one of my bestest choons of all time – Silence. The pièce de résistance was Barbers Adagio for Strings with a firework accompaniment. The fact that you see me dancing hands in pockets at the end of the video below is reflective of the fact that it was freakin’ freezing, it’s neither a sign of apathy nor lack of enjoyment! Stick with the video ’til the end for the fireworks. Oh and a special thanks to Travis for spending so much time finding the worst possible photo of me for the vid x.

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An evening with the Bogotá Filarmónica

by Alex on Dec.04, 2009, under Blog

The Cerro de Monserrate climbs to 3,152 metres providing a fantastic look out over the great city of Bogotá. We’d reached the top by way of the funicular railway laden with cheese, wine, baguette and an excess of warm clothing. It was about 25 degrees but at this altitude when the sun goes down it tends to get chilly.

We got to the church as the doors closed, it being full. Initially disappointed, it didn’t take long for us to conclude that sitting on the steps above the plaza outside of the church in front of the big screen would probably be a more fitting location to tuck in to our cheese and wine fest, and to smoke. We’d come to see the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá and what an amazing setting, far better than being cooped up inside. Off to the east roll heavily wooded hills for as far as the eye can see, due south lie the last of the hills with some kind of big Jesusy statue a few hundred metres from us. To the west Bogotá. The fading orange of the sun setting behind flat grey clouds gives way to myriad lights – street, vehicle and building, ever brightening as the sun retreats further below the horizon, the city becoming a blanket of dark sequined velvet stretching far across the altiplano.

‘Hovis advert’ declared my brain as the orchestra commenced with Dvorak’s Symphony Number 9, detracting massively I suppose from the appreciation of the music were it not to have such a mundane ‘daily bread’ association, hey ho… With the start of the third movement there was little doubt as to from where John Williams took inspiration for his Dual of The Fates(Darth Maul’s theme) and I wondered if this symphony ‘From the New World’ was as well known here in Colombia as it is back home, maybe there exists here a tradition of small boys pushing bikes laden with bread up steep cobbled streets – I’ll refrain from endeavoring to find out.

The plaza continued to fill as the orchestra played on and no one seemed to mind when we first lost the audio and later the video feed from the church. In my mind I pictured an inattentive security guard tripping over a cable bringing the performance to an end for those sitting outside. In time it was fixed and when the music was over the fireworks started. I don’t wish to come across as being too negative but had they shortened the display to 5 minutes it would have been great, I find the spectacle more… spectacular when the sky is filled with sound and colour, bangs and flashes, screams and sparkles – 2, 3, 4, 5 and more fireworks going off at the same time. For me that holds far more of the ‘ooh, ahhhhh’ factor than does maximising display time to the detriment of what otherwise might have been a veritable extravaganza of light and sound. Mostly black sky and silence punctuated every 3-4 seconds by an albeit pretty high-level firework ain’t floating my pyrotechnic boat baby. Maybe I should have words with the fireworks association of Colombia and tell them what it’s all about.

I then noticed the lights, they were everywhere. Angels in the trees, stars on the buildings, stuff all over the shop. It was… colouful and I shall refrain from proffering my opinion as to how tasteful I thought it, you can form your own from the below:

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I got interviewed on some national radio channel, had a cup of canelazo – a winter warmer made from aguardiente (the national anise-flavoured firewater), panela (sugar cane-based drink) and cinnamon then queued for 3 hours to get off the mountain during the process of which I realised that we were, probably, the only westerners in the thousands-strong crowd – even though tourism in Colombia is increasing at a rate probably higher than any other country in the world, you can still get off the beaten track here, very easily, even at a large event in a city of 8,000,000. Come to Colombia, it’s brilliant!

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A little ham and eggs comin’ at ya

by Alex on May.08, 2009, under Blog

It’s late and I have to be somewhere, I’ll work out soon how to embed or whatever you call it the video into the page. During the meanwhilst the link below will have to suffice:

check this out

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John Oliver

by Alex on Apr.27, 2009, under Blog

“Work all night on a drink a’ rum” sang John Oliver as he walked behind us. It was a Friday night in Granada (Nicaragua) and we’d had a few beers so my response could be nothing other than “Daylight come and me wan’ go home”. Dreadlocks sprouting from the top of an otherwise shaved head, John walked with a limp and looked as it he lived on the street. We finished the song, we laughed and joked and then he introduced himself – an artist, a street poet. I was out with Franzi, whom I’d met at a cafe earlier that evening and so that John might share a love poem with us, we pretended that we were ‘together’. John’s eyes shone brightly as he recited his work, powerful words spoken with passion, as if straight from the heart. His poetry was moving as was the fact that this talented man, who might well have a very different life were he to have been born elsewhere, lived on the streets, scraping a living from people open to paying him for entertaining them with his work. (continue reading…)

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