I am certain that a vast number of my readers will be almost entirely unable to connect with this post. It's one of the hazards of being one of those odd people that actually like listening to electronic music outside of Holland (sue me! I'm hooked!). However, I'm using this blog to chronicle my life and it's highs (and lows) so this is definitely material that deserves to go on here.
Saturday was the day I've been waiting for for months now. I first heard about their visit to Johannesburg through a friend on Facebook who somehow had come across this information prematurely and, knowing that I was a fan, decided to share it with me. Indeed, with a little internet effort, I confirmed; Faithless were coming to South Africa!
I remember the last time they were here. I think I was 17 at the time. It was my first big live performance event. I remember being so excited and nervous at not knowing what to expect. I remember that my cousin and her then boyfriend drove us there and acted as general chaperons for the evening while I, and my two mates chattered away excitedly, awestruck by the whole experience. I remember the opening act was a horrific South African group called 'TK-Zee' who would do best to be forgotten entirely. The crowd came very close to booing them off stage, but luckily for the performers, their performance 'playlist' waned before the crowd got upset enough. Then they came on...
This time round we were due to be entertained by the Cape Town based dance duo 'Goldfish' as the entrée before THE band blew our minds with their performance. However, the gods of music got together with the gods of lets-think-of-something-that'll-just-irritate-the-crap-outa-them and through poor organisation on the part of the hosts, nobody other than the Golden Circle ticket holders actually got to see Goldfish (i.e. we plebs were forced to miss them because the organisers failed to let normal ticket holders into the venue before Goldfish were finished; a gripe for another day).
However, once inside, everything would change! Once Faithless came on stage, things elevated to a level of experience yet unmatched. I cannot put into words what an amazing experience it was, but I'll try.
The concert started with a little known track, followed by one of their latest releases, 'Sun to Me' which was amazing. People were dancing, vigorously abandoning themselves to the music, worshipping the sound that buffeted their senses. I, somewhat reserved, danced along, relishing the moment. However, for me, things only got started with the next song.
As they began the intro to the song, I recognised it immediately. I watched as the music built up, a crescendo heralding the start of something awe-inspiring and bordering on spiritual. As the chorus broke, the crowd went berserk. What had been a black maw behind the stage emerged as a massive screen, a golden light drawing out the outline of a church behind the musicians as they desperately performed their hearts out for us. The song could not have been more apt: 'God is a DJ'
The evening progressed with inspiring performance after performance. Each time the screen behind displaying a colourful assortment of images, visualizations and patterns that accentuated the beauty of the music tearing through us. All around people were jumping, throwing themselves, fighting gravity and all their inhibitions. Involuntarily, I found myself doing the same, literally out of control, caught in an elated fit of sheer movement. We were all one writhing, joyous entity.
The evening ran away from us. Two hours turned into ten minutes. Before we knew we'd arrived, it was over. The lights dimmed, the band left the stage, and a truly unsatisfied audience. The crowd began to chant. Their appetite wasn't satiated. They wanted more. And once again, Faithless failed to disappoint.
The band reemerged, stepping out of the darkness to hit us one last time. Issuing instructions to the crowd, MaxiJazz began one of the most awesome musical experiences of my life. The final song that we would be privileged with would be one of their most profound: 'We Come One'. Reinvigorated, we began to move again, a giant rising. The tide grew, pulling any reluctant dancers under it's powerful tow. As the chorus hit, our tumultuous action reached it's peak. I was merely an element of a whole. Part of something bigger. An entity that reserved judgement, asked for nothing and offered elation in return. We truly had come one.
I will always remember that evening. Nothing parallels that feeling of amazing unity, bliss and excitement all in one. I suffered for it (head-banging isn't too great for your neck...). In fact, I continue to pay. I've been trying to work all day but I can think of nothing else! But it was well worth the price pay!