I had seen Soundgarden twice before the show on Monday (Hyde Park and Shepherds Bush Empire, 2012) but in both shows I was quite far from the stage so when I heard they were playing Copenhagen, I thought this could be a good opportunity to get a bit closer. The possibilities to do so got greatly improved once I lost my job a couple of weeks ago as that meant I had absolutely nothing to do during the day and could just go sit there really early and wait until the doors opened. Which is exactly what I did, sad as it sounds.
By the time I arrived, around 4pm, there were already about 12 people outside, including a Dutch lady in her 60’s and her daughter (granddaughter?), a guy from France and a bunch of Danes surrounded by bottles of beers, snacks and cheap junk food. I sat next to the Dutch lady and asked them if they had seen the band before and they said they had seen them a few times, including a recent show in Stockholm, which had been great and very loud. The French dude, a very quiet man, mentioned he had come to Copenhagen especially for the show and was planning to Amsterdam to see them today, too. I soon discovered I was surrounded by very dedicated fans, which is kind of cool.
Shortly after, a tall and thin girl with very pale skin, all dressed in black, arrived and joined the line. For about 10 minutes, she stood there, checking her phone without saying a word. She was wearing a really nice Soundgarden t-shirt, though, so I took that as an opportunity to start an exchange. WHAT A FUCKING MISTAKE. Turns out this girl, who’s name I didn’t even ask, was the biggest Guns N’ Roses fan I’ve ever met in my life and would go on and on and on telling me how great Axl was, how much she loved him and how amazing the new band sounded. You see, I don’t mind talking about music, I actually enjoy it, but this wasn’t a nice music fan to music fan conversation, this was a full-on unsolicited GNR evangelization.
For two and a half hours, I endured nonsense stuff like this:
“People complain because Axl makes them wait four, five, maybe six hours before the show and I just don’t get it. I mean, I went to see him once and I was lucky, I only waited for two hours, but in any case, I don’t think Axl wakes up in the morning and asks himself: “how can I shit on my fans, today?” – I think he gets onstage late because all his personal dramas, he’s a very complex character, you know? Too many things going on and people don’t understand it. I actually feel sorry for him.”
What? A millionaire self-centered twat makes you wait for 5 hours, gets paid a fortune for it, and YOU feel sorry for the guy? What the fuck are you talking about?! I mean, come on. I couldn’t help it and told her I thought Axl was a complete arsehole which, of course, sent her on a never-ending rant about how he was always misunderstood, about how the media always manipulated his words and about how much of a victim he actually was. She went on to explain me that her friend Alex, who had met Axl several times, told her Axl was always a really nice and funny guy who was a pleasure to have around; a charming and thoughtful individual who never compromised his beliefs and has always been overwhelmed by his talent, or some bullshit along those lines. I don’t know, I couldn’t give a single fuck about it. At some point, I was so fed up by all her obsessive jabber that I stood up, took my bag and sat somewhere else while she was still rambling.
Shortly after the doors opened, we got our tickets validated and we all ran to the barrier in front of the stage. In the process, I lost the people I was with but managed to secure a place in the first row, between the spots where Kim and Chris usually stand on stage. Killer location, I tell you. I’m standing there, looking at the stage, thinking I now had to wait 2 hours for the support band to go on, and suddenly Miss “Axl, please fuck me in the arse” shows up next to me. I tried to stay silent, looking into the distance and avoiding any eye contact, which worked for about 10 minutes but then the inevitable happened: “The stage is quite small, don’t you think? GNR had a bigger stage when they played Denmark.” Bloody hell, I should have asked her if she actually had any guns with her, that would have put me out of my misery. She talked about Axl for another 20 minutes and then she dramatically changed the subject and told me she loved killer whales and that they were her favourite animals ever. I thought to myself: “Well, I don’t give a shit about that either but at least we’re not talking about Axl anymore.” She explained how much she loved killer whales and how much she hated aquariums because they put the whales in tiny pools and then their fins bend over and that was a sad thing to behold. At this point, she was on the verge of crying, I kid you not.
I stood there, telling her everything was going to be OK and that there was hope for killer whales. She looked me in the eyes and after a few seconds of silence, she said: “You know, I discovered Michael Jackson through “Free Willy”. I loved Michael Jackson, I can’t believe he’s dead. He was the greatest musician on earth. I’m so angry at that doctor… I mean, why did he do that? I know Michael asked for it but come on, he’s a doctor! And did you know that he’s going to be released from jail next month, without even completing half of his sentence? It’s ridiculous. How can somebody get more time in jail for downloading music than for killing someone? It’s hearbreaking.” Now, she might have had a point on that last bit but fuck it, I was tired of it. Then, when I thought everything was over, she said: “Did I tell you that I got into GNR because of Michael Jackson? You know, because Slash played with him.” Give me a fucking break, already! That was it. I turned around, sat down and ignore her for the rest of the evening.
Two and a half hours later, after the supporting act (a band call Graveyard, which wasn’t that bad), Soundgarden finally hit the stage and every trace of GNR-induced annoyance disappeared in a second. I was hoping to get “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” as the opening track but they chose to start with “Flower”, which is not really one of my favourite tracks. However, in general, the setlist was fantastic: “Pretty Noose”, “Rhinosaur” (!!!), “Burden In My Hand”, “Blow The Upside World”, “Blind Dogs” (first time live in Europe) and “Beyond The Wheel”, which was mind-fucking-blowing. Just watch this:
Amazing, isn’t it? Those last chords kept ringing in my ears for 12 hours; I woke up the next day and I could still hear a minor beep in the background. It was also pretty cool to be so close to Kin Thayil and having a great view of Matt Cameron, who’s probably one of the most underrated drummers out there. It was real pleasure to see him beating the living crap out of those drums. The GNR loonie had asked me if I wanted to wait for the band outside the venue but by the end of the show, the last thing I wanted was to stand in the rain with an obsessive fan waiting for a band that might not even show up so once the show was over, I just took off and went to grab a bite at a Turkish place that is just around the corner from where I live.
The next morning I was looking for my wallet and couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere in my bedroom and there was no trace of it but then I remember I had put it in my bag, during the show, so I looked for the bag and couldn’t find it either. I mean, my room can be a little mess every now and then but not to the point in which a bright green bag can’t be found. After 10 minutes looking around like a maniac, it hit me: I must have left the bag at the kebab shop last night. Fuck, fuck, fuck. My ID, CPR card, debit cards, everything was there. I took my bike and rode there right away. The shop was closed but there was a guy inside, doing the cleaning, so I knocked on the glass door and asked him to open. He didn’t want to. I motioned him to come to the door, you know, pretending to be talking (even though I wasn’t producing a single sound) and using my hands to point at the door knob. He eventually agreed and I explained him I had left a bag there last night and was wondering if they had it. He hesitated for a bit, asked me what my name was and then asked me again what exactly was it that I was looking for. I explained him again and he looked blankly at me. Fuck me. I explained him the situation again, very slowly, and just when he was about to enquire again about the motive of my visit, I saw my green bag squeezed under some boxes in a table behind the counter (pretty good sight, I know).
I told him that was my bag so he asked my name and compared it to the one on my ID. It took him a couple of seconds to realize it was actually me the guy on the picture of my Venezuelan ID, which I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing. He gave me back my bag and asked me to check my wallet to make sure everything was there. It was all in there. I thank him and just when I was about to leave he tells me: “You know, when people find things like this, people buy presents. What are you going to get me?” What? Why should I buy him anything? He didn’t even find the fucking bag, he just happened to be there when I went to see if they had it. He continued: “Come on, buy me something. I just gave you your bag, that’s very important. What are you going to buy me?” I stood there, not really sure of what to do. Should I run away? Should I tell him to fuck off? What if he was a cleaner by day and a Turkish Mafia drug lord by night? I didn’t want to find out so I just shrugged my shoulders and told him I didn’t have much money to spend on rewards. He replied: “You can buy me card. Phone card. Lyca card. There, in the shop. But only if you want to, ok? Now go.” He first tells me that only if I want to and then he tells me to go buy it, great. I crossed the street, got the fucking phone card and went back to the shop. “Thank you. Are you happy? I will only take the card if you’re happy.” Who cares if I’m happy or not, I already bought the goddamn card. Just take it and shut the fuck up.
I walked out of the shop, got on my bike, and rode away…
* * * * *
Today I took Hannah (a girl from Australia) and Alice (a girl from Sheffield) to Sort Kaffe Og Vinyl. I met Hannah a while ago through Couchsurfing and last night I met her friend Alice, who she brought along to the weekly meeting. I told them about this amazing coffeeshop near my place so we decided to meet up today for a coffee and they loved the place. We all agreed we should do this again.
After I parted ways with Hannah and Alice, I went to the Immigration Office and applied for my new work permit, which means I’m ready start working at Advance, an independent Danish agency best know for their work for LEGO, a client they have been working with since 1976. I’m really looking forward to get started.