Thursday, 7 February 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers
7 February 2013

Red Hot Chili Peppers!!!  Absolutely awesome, incredible, phenomenal.  What an amazing experience seeing once of their fantastic concerts.  When I loved them so much as a teenager (still do), I would never have  been able to conceive that I’d get to see them performing live one day.  Bucket list – tick!

So what was the very best part of the show?  My very favourite bit?  Flea doing a handstand walk across the stage?  Anthony Kiedis’s dance moves?  Anthony Kiedis’s chest?  Anthony Kiedis’s six pack?  Anthony Kiedis’s short hairstyle?  Anthony Kiedis’s supercool, funky attitude?  The drummer’s (who happens to be an absolute Will Ferrell lookalike) mind blowing drumming skills?  Anthony Kiedis’s voice?  Anthony Kiedis’s tattoos?  Flea’s crazy, wacky antics?  Anthony Kiedis perhaps?

Funny enough, no.  My very favourite part of the RHCP concert was surprisingly not them.  And I really loved them.  It was not their dancing, their singing, their songs, their musical virtuosity (they are all exceptionally skilled and talented), their charismatic personalities or their incredible stage presence either.  Nor was it the vibe.  And let me tell you the vibe was electric.  The crowd was amped, excited and energetic.  You simply have not been to a rock concert until you’ve had a giant inflatable condom heading your way – balloon style.  Though Die Antwoord was also an experience to watch, they didn’t crack the “favourite-part-of-the-concert” either.  So pray tell, what was the best bit?

Well, my very best bit was actually a person.  So is he famous?  Would anyone else recognize him on the street and stop him for autographs?  No, I don’t think so at all.  He seemed pretty down to earth and unfamous-ish to me.  Pretty humble, normal and grounded.  And truth be told, he seems to be a bit of an autograph hunter himself.  You see, his name is Dean Molfert and he works for FEDEX.  He gets people to sign stuff for him all the time. 

I did NOT have tickets to see RHCP, and so I thought it would try and harness the power of social media.  I put a request out there on Facebook, asking if anybody had two spare tickets for the Cape Town show.  I did this last week on Thursday.  And within a very short space of time, a few of my FB friends shared the request too.  All this at the mere push of a button.  One of those that shared, was my brother, Albert Frost.  In fact, I think Albert Frost II might even have shared it too.  FB puts a limit on how many friends you may have.  They cap the ceiling at 5 000 and therefore most people who exceed that number, open up a second FB page.  Now the joy in getting my brother to share, is the instant access you get to about 7 000 people.  As in instantly.  Right on their computer screens, tablets, I-pads, Blackberry’s, smart phones, etc.

Within minutes, one of his friends, said that she had two tickets for me.  In fact she had four.  Her niece was unable to attend the show and was happy to try and pass them on to someone else again.  Obviously I would buy them from her.  And in turn, I put the FB word out there, that there was an additional two tickets going begging.  Nobody wanted to charge extra money for the tickets.  They were bought for R215 each and would be sold as such.

I got the number of the lady that was selling her tickets, and then some fruitless phoning ensued, with me unable to get hold of her.  Finally on Monday morning, after a very busy weekend, we chatted on the phone.  Eager to do this thing.  I asked her where she lived, so that I could arrange to collect the tickets from her.  Oh, Pretoria, she said.  Right, Pretoria.  I live in the Strand.  About 16 hours away by car.  No problemo she said, we’ll courier them down.  Personally, I thought she was a bit optimistic.  This falls firmly in the whole faith-like-potatoes category.  And in stepped FEDEX.  I was assured that my tickets would arrive at 8h00 on Tuesday morning, the day of the show.  I was a bit nervy, but all seemed under control.  Furthermore, she had not managed to sell her additional tickets, and said that she would send those down to me as well.  Just maybe I got lucky and managed to get a buyer for them.  At this stage, I don’t know the lady in Pretoria’s surname and have still not paid her for her tickets.

Well, it seemed under control, until the Pretoria lady sent me an sms early on Tuesday morning, to let me know that FEDEX failed to collect the parcel from her.  Don’t panic she warned me.  You will get your tickets.  She was simply going to go to the Computicket outlet close to her, hand her tickets in and then we’d get them to reissue the tickets for me in the Strand.  Easy-Peasy.  My stomach was in a bit of a knot, but it all sounded perfectly do-able and like a very elegant solution.  Until we discovered at about 11h00 that the Computicket window for reprints of tickets, expired on Monday at 12h00.  Panic stations!  Back to FEDEX it was.  They apologised for not collecting the parcel the previous day, and promised to fast track the delivery.  And what followed then, is a testament to organisational skills.  The parcel was collected from Pretoria at about 12h00.  The driver then charged through to Joburg airport, about an hour and a half’s drive away.  The parcel was then processed at FEDEX.  It takes about an hour to do this, and hence the 2pm flight was missed.  But fear not, it was put on the 3pm flight for Cape Town.  It was expected to land by 17h10 and would take an hour to clear the Airport.  Meaning that with a bit of luck, the FEDEX driver would be able to leave the airport at about 6pm.  But luck was not very much on our side, it seemed.

It had been our intention to leave home at 4pm.  Traffic on concert days, are even more hectic than normal.  The Greenpoint Stadium, was expecting a capacity crowd of 45 000 people.  Logistically this is a nightmare.  People from all over the Western Cape, were making their way through to the Mother City.  Roads were jam packed and many access roads close to the stadium are closed off when a big event is being held.  We have experienced this before, and know the drill.  You leave early, go to The Waterfront, park your car, mosey about a bit, catch a bite to eat, walk the distance to the stadium, wind your way in, put your feet up, relax and enjoy a spot of people watching.  The gates were opening at 5pm.  The first of two opening acts would start playing at 18h30.  The main opening act, Die Antwoord, would start their set at 19h30 and RHCP would start at 21h00.  We were clearly on a deadline.

With a bit of faith and luck, we thought we might be able to get our tickets by 18h30 at the earliest, if we hit no stumbling blocks.  Still a very, very tight time frame.  However, every now and then, a leap of faith is needed.  Indeed required.  The whole potato thing again.  At 15h30, just half an hour before we were due to leave home, still with no tickets in our hand, still unsure whether we would even get them in time, we asked Luke to join us.  He also loves RHCP.  At this stage of the game, we were going for broke.  He might as well come.  We explained to the other two kids and luckily we had already arranged for our domestic worker to sleep over, as she would be babysitting.  And would you believe that the little twirp took a good half an hour to make up his mind.  “I really want to see them, but do I have to go with you guys?”, was one of my favourite questions.  Followed by “It’s just so lame going out with your parents”.  And then there was “what if someone sees me with you?”.  Just to clarify, neither Grant or I have any obvious physical deformities.  Both of us have got the whole extra head thing pretty much under control.  I was wearing a pair of cool, funky True Religion jeans.  An Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt (it’s a cool brand and logo), as well as a pair of tackies, exactly like the ones Luke wears all the time.  I am not hugely overweight, nor is Grant.  What is the problem here?  Eventually, he conceded and decided to do us the great honour of accompanying us.  We were so moved (not) by his generosity.

During this whole stressful saga, the Pretoria lady and I exchanged 47 sms’.  I know this, because I checked and counted them.  We also spoke on the phone a few times.  At this stage I still don’t know her surname and have not paid her for my tickets.  I had received seven e-mails from FEDEX keeping me up to date with the exact location of my parcel, where it was in transit, and the estimated time I would receive it by.  I also received two sms’ from them and eight phone calls.  Phone calls from their call centre, the personal dispatching agent that was handling my parcel, the driver in Joburg.  Some of these, were even conference calls.  On every single e-mail I received, they promised to do their utmost best to get us to the concert on time.  They understood the urgency exactly.  Two of the calls, I received from them were round about 18h15 or so.  The driver was stuck in terrible traffic.  His vehicle was not moving at all.  He was completely and utterly stationary.  There was a bottleneck and build up around Hospital bend.  At this stage, I was the calm one.  I simply said, we would wait.  I understood that they were all doing their best.  At about 18h30 I got another phone call from them, saying that the FEDEX driver had abandoned his vehicle.  He was making his way to me on foot.  Incredible!!!  It was a very, very hot day, yet he simply pulled over and parked his car at a Police Station close to him, and hoofed it off to the Waterfront.  I arranged to meet him outside the Aquarium and was advised from dispatch that he was wearing “a pink hemp and a brown pant” (that is an exact quote).  I ran as fast as I could, yet could not spot him anywhere.  I was a basket case by this time.  Until, in the distance, I saw a man with “a pink hemp and a brown pant” come screaming around the corner at the Aquarium, with a parcel held aloft.  It looked like a scene out of a sappy movie or an emotional tear jerking ad on TV.  And thus I met Dean.  My hero.  I simply gave him the biggest hug and told him that I loved him.  I really, really did.  We were both laughing and extremely happy to have found each other.  Both of us out of breath from sheer nerves.  And then I noticed another gentleman with him, who happened to be his son, also a FEDEX employee.  Together we opened my parcel and for the very first time, I held my RCHP concert tickets in my hand – all four of them.  They had still not been paid for.  I did the honours, filled in all the FEDEX forms, signed and then insisted on a photo of Dean and his son, and one of me with them too.  I was elated!  I thanked them over, and over, and over.  Then I left them and ran back to Grant and Luke who were waiting for me.  I cried all the way back from sheer exertion, stressed relief and a surplus of nervous tension.

We trotted off to the stadium as fast as we could.  And within view of the stadium, came across a crowd of people, begging, super eager for one more ticket, which I was happy to supply to them for the princely sum of R215.  The queues into the stadium were quite lengthy, but we were inside and climbing up endless sets of stairs, when Die Antwoord came on stage.  And though we couldn’t see them yet, we most certainly heard them as well as the very revved up crowd.

What an amazing set of circumstances.  How committed people are.  It restored my faith in humanity for some or other reason.  There are many, many good and kind people out there.  Irrespective of the trouble FEDEX took, they still only charge their set fee.  There was nothing in it for them to go the extra mile, yet they did.  And not only them.  It is now Thursday, two days after the show.  I still don’t know the Pretoria lady’s surname and have still not paid for the four tickets.  I have sent her sms’ to ask her for her details and as soon as I receive her reply, I’ll pay.  With a smile on my face.

Another special moment for me, was sharing Die Antwoord with Luke.  They truly rock the whole Zef thing.  They really do.  Yet amazingly they’re supercool too.  Their music makes me laugh and I love the stuff they play on the radio or that we have downloaded.  It is pretty out there, but it’s cool none the less.  However, for most of their show, instead of images of themselves, they had very, very weird and disturbing images flashing on the big screens.  Most noticeably of a beast type creature, featuring the longest, biggest and grossest penis I have ever seen.  Particularly eeeuuuwww!  And then there were the images of someone appearing to eat a penis without the skin on.  Few things are more special than sharing that with your fourteen year old son.  You know the fourteen year old son, I’d like to pretend that doesn’t even have a penis.  Aaah, good times.  Good times.

However, the minute Red Hot Chili Peppers came on stage, I knew that the whole day had been worth all of the drama and all of the stress.  And if I was still suffering from any doubts, Luke’s face said exactly the same thing.  We scored a huge luck and ended up sitting with some of our very best friends.  We were in the last rows of seats and had a huge terraced area behind us, without seats.  And so, I danced, screamed, shouted and screeched along.  Utterly magical!

Thanx Dean and team FEDEX.  I sent them an e-mail the following day, thanking them all for their incredible service.  And I gave the inimitable Dean a call too.  They sure went the extra mile for me, and deserved a special thank you.  In a lovely accent, Dean said “Ag lady, it is worthwhile doing it for a nice person like you.  But I was very tired from the running.”  Too cute!

And just so by the way, I did read a comment on FB the following day, which gave me a giggle.  Someone said that they were simply going to have to add Anthony Kiedis to their “To Do” list and I completely and utterly understand.  But just for the record, I still prefer my Grantie.  His sixpack is waaayyy nicer.

Dean and son from Team FEDEX, with the magical and seeming elusive tickets
Group photo - all of us super elated
Yolandi from Die Antwoord - She finks she's freeky and she likes it a lot - the crowd did too
And then there's Ninja
Ninja and Flea rocking out - or is it zeffing out?
The ludicrously talented Flea - never seen anyone so energetic in my life.  No wait, Cole is exactly the same.  I'm guessing Flea's Mom didn't give him his Ritalin on the day of the concert.
Anthony Kiedis
And more Anthony
And Anthony yet again
The Stadium starting to fill up - slowly but surely
Tickets and courier slip


  1. Ha! I remember seeing Albert looking for a ticket, glad you came right!

  2. Good grief Helene -I am exhausted just from reading this!! So glad you pulled it off and had a very memorable day with the help of so many including the lady from Pretoria, the amazing Dean from Fedex and of course - faith-like-potatoes!

  3. What an epic story! Had a good chuckle ;) Love your stories Helene! (casting those votes!) xxx