|I had brought with me a gift for Wu Bai, my friend's band's CD, because I thought he would like Steve's guitar work, and I had painstakingly written Wu Bai a little note in Chinese (took me an hour to do it, too), telling him how much I loved his music and how he had inspired me to learn Chinese even faster so that I could understand his lyrics. I was hoping I could give it to one of the staff members to give to Wu Bai. It was close to10:00 p.m. and we knew the band would be done practicing soon. As we waited and watched, Wu Bai's mother and father came in. One of ®L©]±ß·'s group, a gal who has been a fan so long that she even knows Wu Bai's parents, stopped his mom and told her that I had come from the US and that I had something to give to Wu Bai. She brought me over, introduced me, and I gave the CD to Wu Bai's mom so she could give it to him, telling her in my uncertain Mandarin that I'd come from America to see him. She is such nice woman, with a very smiling face in which I could see her son's resemblance, and
looking so happy and proud. She was also at the concert in Changhua, and a couple of times they showed her on the video screen, arms up in the air, enjoying the show just as much as the rest of us. I was thrilled that I'd gotten the CD to her, because I knew she'd give it to her son.
Now Carol and I returned to the hotel, leaving others to watch over our place in line, knowing we'd be back once again Saturday morning to begin the countdown to the 7:00 show. I left Carol watching a movie on TV and fell into exhausted sleep.
Saturday morning! Up early again and back to the stadium (Carol again watching movies when I left, a pattern that repeated itself each day), where now the line had grown so much it was winding around corners and weaving back in upon itself. So many people, and all wanting to be as close as possible to the stage when the show began! Another long, hot day ensued. This day marked my discovery of a Taiwan treat that I became addicted to - a plum-flavored ice confection. Some of the fans went on a shopping expedition for food and returned with some of these, which they shared with me. My first bite startled me because I had expected sweet and got salty instead. Frozen salty was a new experience for me, but a couple more bites convinced me that I liked it very much. Daily after that I made an excursion to 7-11 for more. Boy, I sure miss those.
Saturday was also the day the concert merchandise went on sale, and Carol and I spent a long time in line waiting to buy our goodies. We met a great fan from Japan and had a nice chat with her while waiting. We sure stood out in the crowd, with Carol's height and silver hair and my near-blonde head. I think a lot of the fans knew who we were because of the posting I'd done on the official site message board and the fact that my website is also linked from there. Some were too shy to talk to us, but others gave
us a few words here and there. We met another group of campers who were familiar with Carol's wallpapers and got some nifty light sticks from them (because you just *have* to have a light stick at a Wu Bai concert).
We were locked into the stadium grounds by a little after 2:00 because security wasn't going to let anyone else in and out, so before then we dropped off excess baggage at the hotel, loaded up on bottled water, and settled in for the wait for 5:00 when we'd be let inside. All afternoon we were treated to the sounds of rehearsal, which only increased our anticipation. Around 4:00 security staff had us line up in groups of four in readiness for entrance to the venue.
5:00. No more sounds of rehearsal. Staff members galore, organizing the crowd (which was completely unlike a crowd in the US, very polite and patient, just waiting and no problems). As soon as the signal came, the mad rush for the stage, with us just running as fast as we could, tossing our tickets at the guards (how they could tell anyone actually had a ticket is beyond me), and making that final dash for the front row. We are so lucky to have been a part of ®L©]±ß·'s group and to be just behind them at the front,
second row, incredibly close to the stage. Once everyone was in, the next two-hour wait began. By this time I was heartily sick of sitting on the ground! The weather was iffy, and we'd already had some sprinkles, so we were armed with bright yellow rain slickers. Wu Bai has the nickname of "Rain Man" because it inevitably rains on his concerts, but since Taiwan was currently experiencing a drought, we had hopes that it wouldn't be a downpour.
At long last our seemingly-endless wait ended. There was some sort of little contest, a drawing for some very strange looking stuffed dolls - you'll have to get one of the Taiwan fans to explain that one because I could only pick out a word or two. Then the lights dimmed and music began, some sort of techno dance music that was catchy for about five minutes and then annoyed
me to death. The DJ was high up in the scaffolding of the stage, spinning his tune. The crowd began to get restless, and the chant started, "Wu Bai! Wu Bai! Wu Bai!" with all the light sticks waving in the air. We didn't want techno - we wanted THE MAN! And we got him :)
The center screen split in two, and flying out came Wu Bai and China Blue geared in pearly white space suits, flying along on wires through the air, jet packs firing. The crowd roared their approval as the guys landed in their places. Guitar and bass were provided, and the band launched into the rousing tune "³D" (Snake) from the Dream River CD. We didn't really care that there were video problems with the center screen and that those of us in front couldn't see the video the rest of the crowd got, because we only had eyes for Wu Bai (well, I know that's all I was looking at!). When this man performs, he is like a blazing sun on that stage. He simply
lights up from within and it pours out over the crowd. He owns us, completely and totally. It's not surprising that some fans have his name branded on themselves to show that ownership. I'll be joining their ranks before too long myself, marking myself a fan for life.
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