|The fans had brought along a folding picnic table and a mahjong game, which they eventually set up and began to play. I watched, trying to figure out how it was done, but each time I thought I understood, something changed and I was clueless again. The police finally came by and made them quit since mahjong is considered gambling, so they put that away and played an incomprehensible card game instead. Part of the day was spent with the group making many, many flowers out of tissue paper and spray painting them gold since Wu Bai would be performing a song he'd written for someone else (and I don't recall whom) called "Golden Flower" and they wanted to have these to wave during the song.
The day passed slowly (and I actually got to nap in the tent a bit), with things perking up a bit when Wu Bai arrived and practice began, but this time there was a metal gate barring the entrance, and we were not allowed inside. We watched through the gate for awhile, but security came over with a big black sheet and put that up so we couldn't see. Boo, hiss. Determined fans climbed the gate high enough to peek over every now and then, but since we'd already seen it once, we didn't bother.
Carol, adventurous soul that she is, took a train by herself from Taipei to Changhua to join us late Saturday afternoon. ®L©]±ß· had written directions and given them to the hotel staff, who got a cab for Carol and sent her off to the station, where she caught the train just in time. When she arrived in Changhua, she simply told the cab driver "Wu Bai concert" and he brought her directly to us. It was nice to see her feeling better and ready for another concert.
Once again 5:00 was the magic hour when they opened the gates and let us in. Imagine the fury of the fans to begin running for the stage only to see that there were already people there in OUR spot! Some bright bulb had let folks in before the rest of us who had camped out, and ®L©]±ß·'s group (and I'm sure others) were simply livid. A bit of a shoving match ensued, with the interlopers successfully pushed out of our corner. After that was some serious not-quite-yelling, of which I didn't understand the words but certainly could guess the content. When I asked later on the way home, it was explained that those people had claimed they were staff and VIPs. Well, ®L©]±ß· told them in no uncertain terms that if they were staff, they had no right to be at the front and should go sit in the back. Fans who camp out for days to get this cherished spot should have the preference, not those who show up at the last minute! Go ®L©]±ß·! Now, you know if this sort of thing had happened at a rock concert in the US, blood would have been spilled. But, despite the anger, the inherent Chinese politeness kept it mostly civil, and everyone settled down to wait for the next two hours, and no one was knifed in the back. Carol missed all of this because she had decided to sit in the bleachers for this show in order to watch the whole spectacle. Not me, man, I want to be as close to Wu Bai as I can get!
I won't go into great detail about the Changhua concert, because it was very similar to the Taipei one. There were fewer technical difficulties, and the crowd energy was much higher, this being attributed to the fact that Wu Bai had not performed in this area for two years, whereas Taipei gets to see many more local performances. I had the misfortune to have a male fan behind me and to my left who insisted on belting out each song at the top of his lungs, and his voice was incredibly bad, high and squeaky. I tried turning and glaring at him frequently, but he didn't get the point. Oh well, at least I could watch Wu Bai if not hear him.
I was about in the same place I'd been in Taipei, second row right behind ®L©]±ß·'s group, right up close to the stage. At one point Wu Bai came our way, stopped in front of us playing his guitar, and he just looked right at me, smiling really big, and nodded to me. Dang, thought I'd died and gone to heaven! I'm assuming that was an acknowledgment for the CD and coming all the way for the show (thanks Mrs. Wu for all your help!). I couldn't do anything more than just grin right back at him. The memory of that moment pops in frequently and leaves me with that same silly grin on my face. Please, nobody burst my bubble by telling me that it was really *you* he was smiling at.
Since there seems to be a tradition of rain at Wu Bai concerts, and since no rain was coming for this one, Wu Bai took matters into his own hands. He flung water out over the crowd - and paid for it. The poor man was barraged from every side, water coming over him in waves as the audience tossed the contents of their water bottles at him. He was dripping, and I was fearing for his guitar! He took it all with good-nature, though, despite having to have the crew replace some of the equipment when it quit working. He took that opportunity to address the audience, and of course I didn't understand most of it. I knew he was talking about it being the 10th anniversary of the band and how much they all appreciated the support, but that was about it. Maybe one of these days my Chinese will be good enough.
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|Concert Tale part 5|