Last weekend unexpectedly turned out to be the most fun and exciting in Buenos Aires thus far. Initially, I was looking forward to getting back to my local hangouts as I had been away the previous 2 weekends. Coldplay was coming to town on Friday and the invite I got flaked on me so I wasn't planning to go at all. On Thursday, I took my usual tango class and there met a spunky Russian/Dutch traveler who was taking her first tango lesson ever. She didn't speak much Spanish so I took a welcome break and spoke a little English, explaining to her what little I know about tango. Her name was Kate and we kept in touch after the class.
As her friends had all left to go home a few days prior, she told me she was going to try to get into Coldplay by herself even though she hadn't bought a ticket yet. Now, Coldplay is not my favorite band, but I know and enjoy a lot of their songs and was lucky to have 2nd row tix to them at MSG 6 years ago through work (way before any credit crisis). That show was fun, high energy and since concerts in foreign countries are never a bad idea I resolved to go with her. The show started at 7pm with opening acts but we rocked up at 930pm on a tip from a friend that Coldplay would go on around then. We got to the front gates of the stadium (holds somewhere between 70-80k but no consensus anywhere) and there were the usual sketchy dudes offering tickets. Stupidly, we didn't shop and went with the first one that talked to us. Coldplay had just started playing + we got caught up in the excitement and ran to the gates. I gave the guy some pesos and expected him to fork over some tickets. That would have been far too straightforward apparently. He barked some things in Spanish too fast for me to understand and waved for us to follow him. We were then joined by 6 other people and his buddy who were in charge of getting us all in. They led us around to a few different gates, having us pause for minutes at a time. It was then when we ascertained we overpaid for the tickets by about double vs. what the others in our group paid. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.
In a bizarre sequence, we waited in front of a preliminary gate for the security guys there to quit. They were 3 songs into Coldplay's set at this point. Sure enough, the security guys turned around, walked off and we ran to the front gates along with a bunch of other teenagers. At this gate it was chaos as the security guards there were still very much working and shouting at everyone to hold up their ticket in their left hand. Of course, nobody had one so nobody did. I was standing, staring at the guys we had paid to see what the next move was, when the apparent boss of security, shoves me violently into everyone behind me, including Kate, and we all tumble like bowling pins onto the concrete floor. I stare up at him, shouting things in English I can't repeat here, more angry that he knocked over Kate than anything. Two guys helped us up while I clamored at him in Spanish how uncool that was, half expecting an apology. This idiot focused on me in the crowd because of this and while I was yelling, out of nowhere, WHAM!!!!...........punched me in the face!
If I wasn't ready for the shove, I certainly wasn't prepared for the right hook to the head. Lucky for me there was a person or two between the two of us and he didn't get a clean shot. After that episode we were hustled out of there and led to another part of the stadium gates. The guys we paid, apologized to me, talked to different security guys and within minutes we were on the floor of the stadium listening to coldplay.
My adrenaline was pumping since, aside from my spirited tae kwon do lessons when I was 10, I've never been punched in the face. Between overpaying for tickets and getting socked I was not in the happiest of moods but once we were on the floor todo was forgotten. All in all, it ended up adding to the experience and the show was a great one.
Afterward, I talked to Pedro who was in line for a different kind of concert. He told us to hustle if we wanted to get in with him so we hopped in a cab and made it just as they were opening the doors....again. This time it was a drum and beat concert complete with about 12 different types of drummers/percussionists including special guests accordionist and an electric guitar and key boarder. They were all dressed in bright orange uniforms with a conductor who had developed 200 different hand signals for his band.
It was a ton of fun and the crowd really got into it. A happy mosh pit developed near the stage and even though I felt ready to start a Fight Club after my bouncer incident, I steered clear.
Kate, myself and Pedro enjoying the drummers.
Pedro looks lost but that is about right for him. We stayed for a couple hours and that was all the excitement I could handle for one night + went home.
The next night, Paul Van Dyk was in town spinning at an open air venue that Crobar owns. Kate was down for going, so this time we went the more boring route of buying and picking up tickets before the event. We again got there late, but PVD didn't get on till 2am so we didn't miss the start of his show. It was absolutely packed and everyone was in a positive happy mood. The energy was great and we stayed for most of his set before calling it a night.
That night I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I got back into bed, got the most vicious calf cramp of my life. I was paralyzed for a good 2 minutes and didn't know what to do. It finally subsided, but it's 2 days later and I still feel it when I stretch. Too much dancing, walking, old age I don't know, but despite me feeling beat up come Sunday, it was a solid and satisfying weekend of live music.