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Saturday, July 02, 2005

It's all part of your rock and roll fantasy

My first full day at the Roskilde Festival reminded me of why I do this every year. I mean, you really can't force a good time. You can't plan fun. You can't intentionally create those special moments that make you glad you are alive, with legs to walk around on, a stomach big enough to hold pint after pint of lager, and on and a shirt to take off and bask in the sun.

The surprise highlight yesterday was French electronic act M83, at the same time as Snoop Dogg at 5PM. I had watched Snoop's risque short opening film, caught a bit of the first few songs "with my mind on my money, and my money on my mind" and then walked the short distance from the big stage to The Pavilion where I found a spot to stretch out on a big long wooden box and catch some sun and take in M83 far enough from the stage I didn't need earplugs, yet close enough that the music was at the perfect volume. A recent Pitchfork review of M83's Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts reminds us that "the power of music to seemingly construct, alter and distort space can be staggering." And this is what I experienced. I was happy to just lie there a short distance from the tent letting the music and sun waft over me, eyes closed, beer in one hand cigarette in the other, feeling freer than a goddamned bird.

And that's why I come to Europe for my festival experience, because for some reason I feel more in tune with the world in a crowd of 150,000 people who don't know me than I do even alone. And the interruptions of conversation in the English language are further between. It's indescribable, really. I consider myself very, very lucky to be able to experience this.

Speaking of my anonymity, no one knows I'm American here -- unless, that is, I open my big mouth. Some Swedish were having a conversation in English with some Danes right next to me as I sat later having a pint on another one of the many wooden constructions that litter the festival as places to sit or lie down.

Dane: Don't you all drive Volvo's in Sweden.
Swede: No. You get that from the commercials. The
Americans think we have polar bears walking down the street.
Dane: Americans believe anything you tell them.
Swede: They all drive Volvos there, don't they?

I even caught their eye at one point. The point being, it's assumed I am not American at Roskilde. Maybe Danish, maybe German, probably English. But American? Not many of those around.

My feet were killing me, but I managed to tough it out long enough to catch a bit of The Tears at The Arena. Having been a big Suede fan, I wish I could have stayed longer, but I needed to pace myself if I was going to last long enough to catch a bit of Ozzy.

At 10 PM, with the sun still basically up, a veritable Tsunami of people started pouring towards the Orange Stage where Black Sabbath was just starting to perform. I had to duck behind a tree and a bin to be on the forward side of the rush, otherwise I would literally have been swept all the way to the front of the crowd. I have never witnessed such a a reverse diaspora. It was like watching footage of September 11th if all the people were facing the other way and heading towards the World Trade Center, although with less horrified looks on their faces and less (though at times not a lot less) debris covering their bodies.

Ozzy and co. had opened up with a short medley of their songs and really ripped into their set. They were just as tight as the program had promised (this was apparently Black Sabbath's first appearance in Denmark.)

But it really was time to head back to Copenhagen for me, so I caught the rest of the show after the first three songs during my long walk to the bus.


solace said...

M83 rocked the crap out of the Triple Rock a few months ago, good stuff

Hoffman said...

You MISS ME!!!

Kiss Caroline fer me.

David said...

Sean, I kissed all the girls. They sent their love.