|Carol and I flew to Taipei on May 8, arriving at 5:30 a.m. on May 9. We managed to find our way to our hotel thanks to some detailed directions from夏夜晚風, the awesome Wu Bai fan who had been helping us so much with concert and hotel arrangements.
After getting unpacked, we decided to look around the city, finding the Municipal Stadium where the concert would be held and trying to figure out where the stage was going to be. We didn't wander quite far enough around the back and weren't able to determine where the concert would be held, so we went shopping instead.
Later in the day we met up with Angela, a fan from Singapore who had come by herself for the concert and was staying at the same hotel. We all went out for pizza (yes, pizza, and Taipei has some interesting varieties you won't find in the US) and then met up with 夏夜晚風 later in the evening to check out the venue.
夏夜晚風 is amazing. She and her group have been doing the Wu Bai concert thing for a few years now, and they are so organized! Already some from her group (they even have a uniform they wear, a dark blue shirt with the band members' names on it) were camped out at both entrances to the stadium to ensure the first place in line. You see, there are no seats at a Wu Bai concert in Taiwan. One must camp out for a couple of days if one wants to be up front (and we did!). We met some of the fans, and even though many did not speak English, we still managed to convey our mutual appreciation for Wu Bai and our excitement about the upcoming show.
Work was progressing on the building of the huge stage, and we wandered inside to check it out. 夏夜晚風 spotted 小朱(Xiao Zhu), the bass player, who was standing on a section of the stage that would be running out into the audience, and she brought us over. She told him we'd come from the US to see the show, we said hello, he said hello, and we left. Although we really wanted to talk to him, we knew he was busy and didn't want to impose. I think Dino, the Italian-American drummer from California, was also there,
but he was way up on stage checking out his drum kit, so we didn't get to talk to him. His mother, who lives in southern California and sells real estate, writes to me once in awhile, and she said Dino told her he thought he had spotted me at the show (yup, that was me!).
We left the group of campers with promises to return the next day to take our turn in line. Friday morning I was up and out early, leaving Carol still sleeping as I went back to the stadium. Overnight more had joined the queue, and I was grateful that 夏夜晚風's gang had taken over the spot at the front. I met one girl from Hong Kong and some others whose names I still can't remember and settled in for a very long day in the heat and humidity. We talked what little we could, I with my little bit of Chinese and they with their little bit of English. 夏夜晚風 stopped by on her way to work to check on us, and Carol eventually made her way over from the
hotel (which was conveniently located just a few blocks away). Much of the day is still a blur to me, but I know that the fans I met were wonderful people, and they kept giving me goodies like newspaper articles, magazines, and even Wu Bai's and 小朱's autographs (I gave 小朱's to Carol and kept Wu Bai's for myself, which just goes to show you how selfish I am). They were so intrigued by a non-Asian from California who was as nuts about their Wu Bai and China Blue as they were. I got a lot of curious looks as I wandered up and down the line, trying to stretch my legs and find water.
We began to hear sound checks coming from the stadium (despite the noise rom a group of students who were blasting hip-hop from a portable CD player and dancing energetically to the same). We knew it wouldn't be long.....Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for - Wu Bai's arrival! The man himself showed up to begin rehearsal and sound check. In small groups we began to nonchalantly wander into the stadium, which was open to the public and had many people getting their daily exercise running the track, etc. Carol and I walked by the stage, and there he was, the Guitar God himself, looking cool in shades (but he *always* looks cool). We stopped for a bit and watched, but I felt a little out of place and uneasy about being there, so I left. Carol, on the other hand, planted herself for the next few hours! She successfully resisted all efforts on the part of a staff member to convince her to leave. She just kept saying, "I came 7,000 miles, can't I just watch?" He tried oh-so-politely with every English phrase he knew to convince her to go and then finally gave up. Yay Carol! I went back in a couple of times for a few moments to talk to her, and eventually ended up staying.
II was glad I did, because I got to see Wu Bai practicing the fan dance he performed during the song he wrote for 莫文蔚 (Karen Mok). What a kick it was! We were seated in some chairs very close to the stage extension, with Wu Bai just yards away from us. I'm happy I saw the practice, because during the concert performance all I could see was his back unless I was watching the video screen. I got antsy again and left, not wanting the wrath of Wu Bai to fall upon my head for sneaking a peek :)
As the day wore into evening 夏夜晚風 arrived, along with others who were ready to spend the night in line and break those of us who had done day duty. By this time we had migrated from one entrance to the other, because it was closer to the stage. Now that it was dark, we were treated to the light show as the crew ran through their paces in practice. We even got to see the dress rehearsal, which was totally cool. We were no longer allowed inside the stadium itself and had gotten run off by a female staff member, but we could see just fine from where we were, so no problem. We even sang along with some of the songs as the band practiced.
By now the fans from Hong Kong had arrived on scene. We were pleased to meet them all, putting faces to the names of the folks I'd been writing to for so long, and meeting new Hong Kong fans, too. I feel that I made some close friends on this trip, and I treasure every one of them.for a bit myself.
|Concert Tale part 2|
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