9 Days, 9 Concerts has begun.
Day 1: At 6pm Friday I left work and headed to the concert site by train with a colleague. There was the usual scrum to get train tickets – massive queues and the ticket machines at Cais do Sodre never work under pressure! However, I had endured the tourist scrum to Cascais and the beach earlier in the week and already had mine, so we breezed through the station. The train was not over full – I was expecting a massive crush, but we got seat on the train easily. Getting in was fine and exchanging tickets for the usual wristband was quick and easy, which was not the case later judging by the massive elongated queues. Why people queue for so long amazes me when later in the evening the booths were deserted. The weather took a massive turn as well. Hot and cloudless in the city. Overcast, cool windy and threatening rain 20 minutes later in Alges! The crowds were very mixed, lots of Irish to see Snow Patrol, British who couldn’t get tickets to see The Stone Roses at Heaton Park (some still had baggage tickets on their bags), and kids there to see LMFAO.
First up, the Dum Dum Girls. A four piece band from California. Interesting sound – a cross between the Ramones and a much heavier Belinda Carlisle. Some good songs from the monotonic “Mine Tonight” to the psychedelic “He gets me high” and the melancholic “Hold your hand”. The set was on the second stage and unfortunately the noise level was a little too high, the base far too high and the feedback at the beginning and end of the songs was excruciating. This was completely avoidable and unnecessary and detracted from what was a good set. I don’t know if this is because the stage was enclosed in a large hanger or technical issues. By song 5 this had been fixed to an extent and the quality became much better, but not ideal. Overall, the set was good and enjoyable.
I then checked out the main stage, however the hard rock of Refused, or the Portuguese indie rock of Miuda on the second stage was not my cup of tea, so I decided to explore the venue. One friend won a massage from one of the sponsors – which he gave to me for use later and we grabbed some food and drink. By this time the queues to swap ticket for wristbands were huge!
Snow Patrol were up next. I felt a little bit sorry for them. Up against LMFAO on the second stage most of the audience was torn between the two. Awesome lighting and great intro, followed by classic Snow Patrol. Stayed until “Run” which was awesome. That song always makes the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. It was great to eventually hear it live. We were to the left of the stage in front of the second row of speakers in the middle of the field and there was loads of space. However, I want to know why I always get the tallest people stand directly in front of me!
After “Run” we headed over to join the set of LMFAO. I felt sorry for Snow Patrol because many people did the same and there was a mass migration between stages. Missed the first 15 minutes but soon got dancing to the manic pop disco beat. High energy, crowd pleasing and pure fun. Those guys rocked and raised the crowd up to frenetic level. The inflatable shop did well, with beach balls, life size zebra’s and palm trees being thrown into the crowd by the dancers. The music contained crowd pleasing samples from the Beastie Boys to the Black Eyed Peas and energy levels were raised higher and higher until the set finished with “Shots”. Two encores of firstly “Party Rocking” and “Champagne Showers” and finally “Sexy and I know it” sent the crowd crazy and were amazing. Been waiting to see LMFAO for six months after they moved their Lisbon concert from TMN Ao Vivo to the Coliseu dos Recreios and I couldn’t make the new date. I was not disappointed and I lost it big time!
Then it was back to the main stage for The Stone Roses. I was never totally into the “Madchester” scene, but it was a major part of the music I listened to at university, as all my mates were into it. Was expecting a lot and was let down. The music was good but the energy was lost somewhat in the, to me, disappointing vocals. I can’t put my finger on why but the set didn’t seem to gel and, except for the diehard fans, many people around us seemed to begin to lose interest. I may be called a philistine but I don’t buy into the hype. “Waterfall” raised the bar somewhat, but I didn’t stay until the end of the set, which is really unusual for me.
Buraka som Sistema, a Portuguese band mixing hard house with african beats, bought their unique brand of music to the second stage and drove the crowd wild. I was filmed dancing manically, so where that will end up is anyone’s guess! Justice then bought the main stage to a close with their French, heavy, electronic beats.
As I left I was jumped by colleague from work and hit on the back of the head by, bizarrely, a bag of sweets! They had come a lot later and were off to eat, so I left them to it.
Overall a very good start to the 9 days!
Biggest gripe: The queues for the bar. Heineken get it sorted!
Most amusing thing: watching a drunk Captain America dance with the someone dressed as the Box Man from LMFAO!
Best song: Tie between “Sexy and I know it”, LMFAO and “Run” Snow Patrol
Top tips: exchange your tickets for wristbands early or late to avoid the queues. Get tickets for the train before the day of the concert.