Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 2: Rock Werchter Music Festival, Belgium

After a long day of driving the day before, during which time the GPS stopped working until we could diagnose and replace the problem, we were ready for the music.  Although Green Day was to headline this particular day (out of four) of the Werchter Fest, it was Jack who brought us to Beligium for the event.  I love Jack Johnson, and after searching for tour information earlier in the summer, decided to meet up with him here for some much needed face time with my old friend.  We don't personally know each other, but I like to imagine if we did, we'd be great friends.  The words of a modest stalker?  No, just a lover of the man's music.

The day was glaringly hot, so much so that the venue had set up various cooling stations around the outdoor concert site and the water cannons were used throughout most of the day's events.  Your favorite bands will not only entertain and interact with you, they'll spray you down from the stage, too!  Glorious.  We were even approached by people collecting photos for some kind of promotion for the site.  They carried a mobile shower you got to stand under to cool off.  In return, you getting wet went into their archive of images from which to pull.  We opted not to participate, but I kind of wish we hadn't.  A cold spray of water would have been heaven.

As is common at such large events, there were two stages, and I was quite surprised that my pal Jack, as well as my girl, Corinne Bailey Rae performed on the smaller of the two.  You'd think the semi-indoorness of the smaller stage, being completely covered by a large, permanent tent, might lend some relief from the ungodly heat.  This was not the case.  In fact, I think we were protected from any breeze that may have kicked up under there, but the stifling heat and sticky sweatiness of it all was worth it when both Corinne and the Jack lit up the humble stage.  Corinne's bluesy sound was a nice warm-up for Jack's laid back play.  A little happy that Europe hasn't seemed to have discovered the brilliance that is Mr. Johnson, such that his show was happening in a slightly more intimate setting, I wasn't shy about getting as close to the front as I could push.  Five or so bodies back from the gate that held the adoration from crawling onto the stage, I sang along with the small crowd and smiled at the fun of it all.  Even when there's some stupid guy who pisses you off by grabbing and shoving you aside so he can force his way closer, it's hard to stay mad when the whole room is swaying and singing in unison.

Corinne Bailey Rae, beautiful and elegant

She HAD to have been dying with all that gorgeous hair, but she sang to us like we were friends.

Jack Johnson being amazing

His voice is like cool water, refreshing and soothing; his music like waves carrying you along in an easy sway.  Whether jamming on an electric guitar or ukalaylee, he was amazing to watch.

In a quieter moment between songs, a woman yelled out something to Jack, presumably something along the lines of 'want to come home with me' or 'need some company after the show,' to which our dear Jack turned, smiled, and replied simply, "I'm married," before grabbing a different guitar for the next song.  Love it.  A man, and musician at that, who could have most any woman in the vicinity and announces his marital status with a proud grin and a chuckle is severely sexy, God help me.  That combined with his very calm and relaxed demeanor make him irresistible to me, which explains two of the countless things I love about Chris.  It's okay that he can't play a guitar and sing to me, he does more important things like listen and make me laugh.  

Paramore, who put on a really fun show.  This girl's got crazy energy!

Billy Joe one of the many times he addressed the massive crowd.

Clearly a fan of Europeans, Green Day put on an amazing and energetic show, bringing people up on the stage several times to sing along, and even sing lead with the band with Billy Joe stepping back to applaud.  One girl received a guitar as a thanks for coming up and performing for us, which was awesome.  They covered current songs, as well as a few from the days of Dookie back in th early 90s.  The energy was high, the music loud, and the night a blast.

In the end we returned to a hot hotel room to try to get some sleep before the drive and ferry ride to England the next day.  

July 3
Upon entering the UK, Chris dove right into left-side driving like a champ.  It's a highly uncomfortable feeling at first, driving on the left, entering traffic circles to the left, and hugging corners to take left turns.  Even seeing cars coming toward you in the right lane, you find yourself wanting to drift over to the familiar side - it's exhausting to concentrate on driving correctly all the time!

Something we found quite nice was the radio stations all being in English, and many DJs talking about American Independence Day coming up.  One DJ took a call from an American living in England who was requesting a song for the holiday, and it was funny to hear the DJ exclaim, "I love your accent!" and comment on how it's odd that Americans call a barbecue a "cookout," as the woman who called in described her plans for the holiday.  

As for Chris and I, we'd be spending our nation's birthday touring the English countryside the following day, finding it kind of funny that we were spending it in the land from which some of our nation's earliest inhabitants broke free.  There's nothing like visiting the motherland, eh?

Until tomorrow, then.  Cheers! 


  1. Okay. I am living vicariously through you from now on! Do I get to see in person in August?

  2. My sis and I were in England last years 4th... and Canada day! They don't seem to mind that we are independent of them.

  3. I love your description of the music and Jack sounding like cool water cause that's totally what he is!