So, we had the tickets and now just had to wait for the actual concert to roll around. (It was kind of funny that I bought hubby’s anniversary present 4 months before our anniversary… and we used it 3 months after our anniversary…)
The concert, strangely enough, was on a Tuesday. Middle of the week. Now, we both work full time so this did pose a slight concern – yet I managed to get off work a bit early as did he. The stadium is in the middle of the city, which is where I work – so you’d think getting there would be pretty easy. You’d think wrong! When there is an event at the stadium, that side of Cape Town shuts down. As in roads closed, pedestrian access only, don’t even think about finding parking close because there just isn’t any. So our plan was for hubby to come through to town, park one car in the garage where I park, take the other car to a public transport depot, hop on the bus and go through to the stadium. Good plan? We thought so… until the bus drivers embarked (see what I did there?) on their annual strike. Now this strike started a good couple of weeks before the concert so at first we pretty much ignored it. With mounting horror we watched as the day of the concert drew ever closer… and the wage talks never reached a conclusion.
Time for a new plan. OK… Hubby would drop me off in the morning and then come fetch me in the evening, thus solving the duo car problem. We would get off as early as possible and hopefully find parking somewhere within reasonable walking distance. This was the plan and we were hopeful…
Now, to explain why we were so worried about this. A good few years ago, before we were married, we went to another concert. One which had been VERY badly organized. We left at 2 pm, and the concert was to start at about 7pm. We arrived at about 9.30, 9.45, just in time to catch the final couple of songs before we left. Needless to say, we were not impressed… and now very worried that the same thing would happen again.
Anyway, we’re stuck in town bumper-to-bumper traffic, on our way to the major shopping centre which is closest to the stadium. We were planning on parking there and then just walking. As we’re driving, we see a tiny little shopping centre with open parkings. On an impulse we turn in there and park. Now, according to the gps on our phones (aren’t they nifty little gadgets?) the quickest way to get there was to walk up to the shopping centre and then cut across to the stadium. We decide to stop on the way at the petrol station and grab dinner quickly – we could eat while we walked.
At the petrol station, hubby sees some cops – namely the BOMB SQUAD. He figures that out of everyone, they should know best how to get there. They tell us that we can go the way we were planning, but occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, they close that section of the road – even to pedestrians. So we’d be better off going the longer way around. He tells us exactly where we need to go and we follow his directions.
So far so good. In our paranoia, we are extremely early, and have no problem with getting to the stadium at all. There was about a 2km walk but that’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things! So anyway, we get to the stadium as the sun is setting. We walk up to the security, get told we can’t take in the leftover sandwich (ah man!) and have to throw it away. Ah well. Such is life. Then we get to the ticket turnstiles and hand over our tickets. Now the tickets have barcodes printed on them, which get scanned and if the ticket is genuine (which ours obviously were) then you get to go through. I go through first – the lady scans my ticket, I go through the turnstile, no problems here. Then she scans Hubby’s. Or tries to. For some reason, the ticket had been printed without its barcode. She looks at it – trying to decide in her mind what to do. THANK GOODNESS we hadn’t separated the tickets before giving them to her – she tore mine off herself and she knew that that one was genuine and hadn’t been a problem. Also, we had the original envelope which the tickets came in, as well as the receipt. She let us through – I could have hugged her! Through my head was flashing – I’m not doing a concert by myself. I’m really not. I’d rather go back outside and sit outside the concert and listen to it from there with my hubby then go inside by myself. What are we going to do???
So the wonderful, kind, sweet, incredible ticket lady let us through. Now we just need to find our seat. Simple, right? Uh… apparently not. On the ticket is printed the area you are sitting in – you need to find that area first, then the row and seat number within that area. On top of each entrance to the seating areas are numbers – the idea being that the numbers signify the number for that seating area. Should be simple to find your seat following this method, right? Hmmm…
On our tickets were numbers starting with a five. All the numbers around the whole stadium started with a one, two or three. No fours, and definitely no fives. We start asking everyone who looks official if they know where these seats are. Each official, sounding very sure of themselves, sends us further around the stadium. Until we got to a fence – no throughfare allowed. Ok. Next step – find different, better officials to ask.
We see someone with a safety jacket on, with ‘safety official’ written on his jacket. We know that, by law, he has to know where every area is in case of an emergency. So we go ask him. He has absolutely no idea where this area is. Now we think, ok, let’s go ask the ushers in the actual seating area. Maybe they know? So we go up a random flight of stairs and ask the very nice usher if he knows where our seats are. He merrily leads us about 50metres away (meanwhile Hubby and I are looking at each other in disbelief – did we really randomly choose the correct seating are?) and then stops – the seat numbers went from about 20 to 4 – and we were seats 1 and 2. He kind of looks at us as if to say, “but it should be here!”. We ask him if this is the area – 542. He says no. He says he needs to find his supervisor – she will know where the area is. So again we follow him as he goes out of the seating area to find his supervisor.
Supervisor consults a little piece of paper on which is written a bunch of 5 numbers (we’re getting somewhere! yay!) and says we need to find some random other area. At this point she grabs one of her colleagues, and asks her if she knows where this other area is. Colleague says no, she doesn’t, but she was told that the VIPS in those areas need to go to the other side of the stadium. Now we’re very confused. a)she just called us VIPS. We don’t have the kind of money needed to pay VIP prices (you may remember that this is girl on a shoestring budget. ) But ok… we’ll follow along. Then the original supervisor sees a woman with a green top on and grabs her. This woman takes one look at our tickets, and tells us to follow her. She seems more sure of herself than anyone else and strides away confidently. We follow (by this time feeling somewhat like ducklings all in a row). She tells us that everyone else we’ve been talking to are all contract staff, and so don’t really know their way around the stadium. However, she and five others actually work at the stadium and so know where everything is.
Now, you won’t believe this. She went to the very first person we spoke to when we walked into the stadium and tells us to go in through that door, in the lift up to the fifth floor (forehead hit moment – number 5 - 5th floor) and then walk along the passage until we find 542. We followed her instructions. We pass little lounges which are private – barstools and fridges and food and drink – and are getting very excited. Did we seriously luck into one of those? The answer was no. We didn’t. BUT we did luck into a tiny little seating area, with padded seats, directly in line with the stage, perfect sound quality – really awesome seats considering how little we paid!
We sat there and people watched for a good long while. Then a family group (about 6 people) came to sit behind us. Now there were three rows in this area, with I guess about a hundred, hundred and fifty seats in each row. That family, who sat behind us, and one other couple who sat behind and across from us, were the only other people in our section. In my opinion – everyone else who had been assigned that area, gave up on trying to find seats and just went somewhere else.
So while everyone in front of us was packed in like sardines (seriously – the concert was sold-out) – we were parked off, all the space in the world, no issues. We even had a private (very larney) bathroom! The concert was, of course, incredible. Lots of rocking out involved!
When the concert was finished, we walked back to the car. Now areas which are fine at 5pm – a little bit more dodgy at 12pm. But we got back to our car without any incident… unless you count the random opera singer on the street corner as an incident!
The next day, however, we were both finished! But such an awesome experience – and the next concert we go to at the stadium, we’re going to look for those seats again!
Have an awesome weekend, everyone!