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Africa Express comes to town…

September 12, 2012

When writing a blog post, I sometimes try to get things written down as soon after the event I’m writing about as possible, and anyone who knows me -or at least who has received an email from me (or read any of my previous blog posts)- knows I’m not one for keeping things brief.

After five days of thinking about it, it’s time to write something about the Cardiff leg of the Africa Express tour that traveled across the country last week. But what do I write that hasn’t already been said? How do I put into words an experience that left me sat down staring into space for nearly forty minutes when I got home?

I can’t. I’ve tried, I’ve deleted what I’ve written and tried again and again. I’ve given up and come back to it-  I just can’t come up with anything that would do it justice. So many highlights, from Marques Toliver’s rich, soulful voice and violin playing, plus being an absolutely lovely guy along with all the other musicians at the Spillers Records instore, to being about five feet away from Damon Albarn singing Tender with an eight piece female choir made up of various musicians from the tour, and actually being able to hear him, not through the PA or monitors, but HIM, ACTUALLY HIM, to the beautiful (hell, they were ALL beautiful) Fatoumata Diawara to just the feeling of immense joy I got every time I looked around and saw EVERYBODY wearing their biggest smile. Cardiff gigs rarely sell out, and they rarely have an amazing atmosphere, but this was just…  so special. It wasn’t about names or egos or anyone being bigger or better than anyone else, it was a celebration of music. This all sounds terribly cheesey, and before the gig I did wonder how or if it would actually work to the point of not being sure I even wanted to go, but being in such a privileged position as the photo pit for a gig like this is something that will take a lot of beating, and unusually, we were allowed to stay for the whole night rather than just the first 3 songs.

There are blogs and reviews of the whole tour all over the internet from The Line of Best Fit to The Guardian plus Polly Thomas’ own take on the Cardiff gig, where she has put it into words much better than I could, along with some lovely photos. http://pollythomas.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/africa-express-at-solus-cardiff-6th-september-2012/.

So I’ll say no more. I’m just going to leave you with a slideshow.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2012 6:53 pm

    “to being about five feet away from Damon Albarn singing Tender with an eight piece female choir made up of various musicians from the tour, and actually being able to hear him, not through the PA or monitors, but HIM, ACTUALLY HIM” – I’m still not over this. You’ve put the whole night into words so well!

    • September 12, 2012 10:18 pm

      Haha thanks, but not as well as you. But this particular thing was so special.
      Still can’t stop thinking about it.

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