nobody expected it. the party was well underway already, past midnight. i felt something in the sky. too near to be a plane. suddenly the spotlights went on and we all turned our eyes up.
it was like a spielberg shot where u see everyone’s reaction while they try to figure out what the alien ship is doing. it was dusty and noisy. two massive helicopters where bringing containers to the middle of the field. really fast!
so fast in fact that they had unhitched and left before we all got near them. they looked like plain containers. black. and rather smarter than what you see behind trucks on the motorway. not scary, not alien. so we ran down.
but before we could get near them, they started. the party music was obliterated by their sound, a massive subsonic boom, louder than even the helicopters earlier.
and then it moved.
now we’re a generation that sits through the effects in “Transformers 2” but finds Megan Fox more exciting. it takes a lot to impress me. a huge box from the sky unfolding with smoke and light pouring out of it in the middle of nowhere ranks up there.
it wasn’t aliens. it was a show. superbly choreographed. every robotic move as it set itself up. like the introduction to “wall-e” it was gripping. the sound turned into a pulse, then a hint of music. by now the stage was completely ready. the container had opened up into a complete concert rig, instruments and lights all set up. the second box seemed dormant. maybe it had malfunctioned.
“the way u move me…” the voice was unmistakable. depeche mode burst onto the stage from behind the smoke. what on earth? how? why? this was no playback performance. as it neared the end they took the song off on a tangent. it was amazing.
we didn’t have time to adapt though. if they went for a second song somebody might have headed back to the drinks table. no, this was no ordinary performance. bono came on stage! “I know a girl…a girl called party…” the second box now seemed to be an audiovisual central station as the sky filled with a gigantic laser show featuring a female figure dancing.
and while we were lost and entranced by the show inthe sky, a female voice joined bono. the song ended without anyone figuring who she was but it merged into the unmistakable beat of the eurovision 2010 song contest winner. lena! u2 did a rock version of it, the 19yr old sang better than her pretty abysmal performance in Oslo and bono improvised anti globalization slogans as a rap over the last part.
the show lasted just short of an hour. the surprises kept coming. ac/dc, van morrisson, mick jagger, james. the selection of musicians seemed to relate to the style of the couple throwing the party we had come for.
we were all too busy gawking or dancing to think about it. a few people shouted “we need to tell someone about this!” but there is no cell phone reception in that part of the mountain. we just tried to take it all in. someone in front of me tried to take pictures with his phone but this was impossible to capture. it was everywhere. virtual projections in the sky, then lights on the forest as the ausie band sang “beds on fire” and the light show made it look like the forest was ablaze.
we didn’t know what was coming. a reunion of the clash was rocking tha casbah and there were fireworks reminiscent of battle all around. scenes from iraq and afghanistan played back. as the song ended the stage was airborn! the real helicopters had snuck back in the mayhem. the scenes from vietnam had fooled us from seeing them come in.
it just hovered ten meters above the ground as all effects and sound ceased. the containers folded up. show must be over. but my brain was a step ahead.
ten years ago, this couple of friends of mine had asked david bowie to send a video message for their wedding. i had tried to help too but we got no response from her favorite artist. who was now standing on the stage! the master showman himself started talking over the music drone.
it was the introduction of his spider song but then he added:
“This concert never happened.”
the music stopped. the stage was suddenly whisked to the sky at massive speed. it almost disappeared behind the hill. i was about to turn my eyes down.
“there’s a staaaarman…”
bowie must have been secured to the floor of the stage somehow because the whole thing swung around at g force velocity to fill our senses with music and lights. i honestly lost track of reality for the rest of the song as the helicopters traversed the small mountain valley in every possible way, laser show, fireworks and every other effects with abandon.
he left for good, still singing. we were almost tempted to run up the mountain to look for him. everything went dark and quiet. we flopped on to the ground exhausted and exhilarated. even the cold grass beneath me, i stroked it, was this real? my eyes couldn’t close.
there was just one reality check. a parachute. they must have dropped it earlier but it got lost in the pzazz. a simple white set of three parachutes with a billboard beneath them. it floated down. we strained our eyes. it came to reading distance. i see well at distance. and i read fast. both advantages proved critical in this case because the sign burst into flames and then burnt the parachutes well before reaching ground level.
most people hadn’t had time. “what did it say?” i just smiled. my eyes wearily closed at last.
“this concert never happened. a limited liability company with offices worldwide. don’t look for us. if you have enough money we will find you.”