Oh the excitement and the heartache
In addition to our gig on Tuesday night for the Hurricanes game, we were also asked to double down for the All Blacks game on Saturday with a total of five gigs, spread throughout the day and into the evening. Of course we said yes.
Wellington Batucada perform for the Lions Tour – playing Samba. Video by John Bosomworth.
Whereas the weather for the ‘Canes game had been really quite friendly for a winter’s evening – cold but not too cold, no wind, no rain (fantastic!) It was an altogether different story on Saturday night. Wellington served up a hefty dose of seriously crappy weather – cold, windy, and rather a lot of rain. Oh joy!
Wellington Batucada perform for the Lions Tour – playing Timbalada. Video by John Bosomworth.
But – as always – the show must go on, and so it did. I’m SO INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED with the entire band – drummers and dancers. You were amazing – you drummed and danced your asses off for hours in the wind and rain, walked for blimmin’ miles and performed with smiles on your faces from 3:00pm in the afternoon until 10:00pm at night – without a single moan or complaint. YOU ALL ROCK.
The first two gigs were in the Odlins Fan Zone, where we’d played on Tuesday. Two 45-minute sets, half an hour apart. We were wearing our “World Cup” outfits – black Batucada T-shirts, black pants, and the silver star Southern Cross headdresses that we made for the World Cup gigs back in 2011. For the first gig the dancers did their thing on ground level in front of us, and for the second gig, they began their performance up on stage behind us (which looked really cool).
Photos by Tess Tay and John Bosomworth. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version. You can use left and right arrows on your keyboard to navigate:
Wellington Batucada perform for the Lions Tour – playing Whunkanui. Video by John Bosomworth.
Getting the Lions fans (fan?) dancing…. playing Sambanui samba reggae. Video by John Bosomworth.
Sambanui samba reggae (part 2). Video by John Bosomworth.
For our second pair of performances we’d been asked to play much closer to the stadium, at the bottom of the ramp leading to the stadium concourse. It’s quite a walk from the Odlins fan zone all along the waterfront to the stadium, so we made sure we set off in plenty of time, as there was less than an hour between the second Odlins set and the first of these. The rain was setting in for the night by this time, which was nice.
We played two 45-minute sets, half an hour apart. Initially we were playing in front of the overbridge, but we soon realised that it was much much better to be under it – both from a sound/resonance perspective (we sounded HUGE!) but also because it was dry under the bridge, rather than being very rainy and wet in front of it (surprise!). So our brave brave dancers carried on dancing in the rain, entertaining all the fans walking along the waterfront to the stadium, while we stayed relatively dry under the bridge like little trolls. It was dark enough by now to switch our drum lights on, and very sparkly we all looked. In between sets we sheltered under the bridge to keep dry, and jumped around a bit to keep warm.
Our final performance was scheduled for after the game was over, and required a complete costume change into our rather fabulous and brightly-lit CubaDupa Night Creatures of Aotearoa costumes. So after the second of our under-the-bridge performances we all trudged back along the waterfront in the rain to the Boatshed where our Green Room was located, and got changed into our CubaDupa costumes. Lisa E had the bright idea to go and shelter in the Trax bar at the railway station and look after all the big drums so they didn’t have to be carted all the way back and forth twice, so once we were all dressed up we made our way back along the waterfront again (walking again, in the rain again) and met up at Trax to watch the remainder of the game.
A couple of minutes before the final whistle blew, the whole band was up out of their comfy warm seats in the bar, and back out again into the cold and the wind and the rain (do I sense a theme developing here?), ready to play for the crowds leaving the stadium. We were hoping to be able to cheer up the All Blacks fans a bit, and help the Lions fans celebrate (sniff!). We looked pretty awesome in our fairy-lit costumes, back under the troll bridge again, and the dancers all looked fab in their sparkly snail outfits. It’s amazing how many layers of thermals you can shove on underneath a summer costume in order to wear it successfully on a cold winter’s night!
Playing Afoxê. Wellington waterfront, near the stadium. Video by John Bosomworth.
We had a great time, even though we were pretty gutted to have lost the game. The Lions fans were so happy, and they’ve come all this way to support their team, and it’s no bad thing for us to lose once in a while (keep us humble and keeps the sport interesting), and it sets up an awesomely exciting final game for next Saturday, so – hey ho – it’s all good.
Post-match Lions celebrations… Merengue. Wellington waterfront, near the stadium. Video by John Bosomworth.
Post-match Lions celebrations… the final few bars of Merengue. Wellington waterfront, near the stadium. Video by John Bosomworth.
Photos by John Bosomworth. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version. You can use left and right arrows on your keyboard to navigate:
After we’d finished playing, we walked back along the waterfront for the fourth time, accompanied by the last scatterings of fans leaving the stadium. It was a lovely atmosphere. I do love the waterfront at night. It’s so beautiful – and walking along it dressed as a glow worm complete with a fairy-lit tulle skirt and crown (and drum) is no bad thing. In fact, it’s a little bit magical.
My FitBit reckoned I did 43,000 steps that day (although it does have a tendency to count drum hits as steps too), which is nearly 29km – and boy did I feel it on Sunday – but what a day! Brilliant from start to finish. (And GO THE ABs next Saturday!)