FEBRUARY 24, 2018
VOORTREKKER MONUMENT , PRETORIA
‘Incubus are coming to South Africa?! This must be a dream!’
The announcement that the alternative rock icons, Incubus, were making their way to our little tip of Africa brought the rock scene of both current and past generations to a standstill. Social Media feeds were flooded with delighted fans who wasted no time securing their tickets. The show that seemed like only a pipe dream was now a reality, thanks to the relatively new kids on the event circuit, We Are Live.
The day had arrived and the excitement was overwhelming. Thousands of fans made the trek to the heart of Pretoria to witness the mighty Incubus. Parking, check. Bus ride, check. Despite the slight miscommunication prior to the event, the park and ride system was a totally painless process. With the buses running as often as they were filled between the Fountains Valley parking area and the Voortrekker Monument.
We had arrived. The sun was out, a slight chill in the air, and the festival vibe was in full swing. With the wide range of local opening acts, it was sure to be a stellar day. However, the general crowd response to the local acts was a disappointing ‘meh’ (based on friendly conversations with a wide group of people). Southern Wild’s vocalist, Dave Van Vuuren, did manage to get the crowd excited by climbing the stage rig and delivering a power vocal.
As the natural light decreased, the size of the crowd rapidly increased and the countdown to the main event began. With glimpses of bassist Ben Kenney prepping his instrument and Chris Kilmore’s unmistakable dreads silhouetted on the side of the stage, the suspense was building fast. Then on the dot of 9PM, greeted with a swift ‘howzit’, the show had begun. From a professionalism stand point, it was incredibly refreshing to have an international band not keep a crowd waiting.
The show itself was everything any fan would want, plus so much more. We all unrealistically hope that the band we are seeing will sound exactly the same as the mastered records we have listened to for years. Thankfully, vocalist and front man, Brandon Boyd, was able to deliver a pitch perfect performance from the first note to the last, with a mesmerizing and somewhat infectious stage presence.
Instrumentally the band delivered an extremely tight performance, really making use of their instruments with all the tones and effects of the records, reproduced on the live stage. In addition, they offered some special live elements. The surprise cover of the ‘80s hit ‘I need you tonight’ by INXS was a definite crowd pleaser, as was the mash up of their ‘Morning View’ hit ‘wish you were here’ with the Pink Floyd hit of the same title.
Visually, this was one of the most incredible and emotive shows to watch. Each song was carefully and thoughtfully accompanied by a specific visual with specific special effects on the big screens. The use of double exposure, geometric animation and floral imagery gave each song it’s own atmospheric feel. That being said, the transition between songs did feel a little static as there was a complete blackout every time a song ended. It is understandable that the band would want this blackout as they change their instruments and prepare for the next song, but the sudden loss of light robbed the crowd of seeing any real reaction from the band. Just as we caught a slight glimpse of a smile from Boyd- there was darkness.
For someone who enjoys taking his ‘clothes off and dancing in front of strangers’, Brandon Boyd is a seemingly shy front man, who said just enough to make the crowd feel welcome, but still left them wanting a little more interaction. However, to see a man so captivated in the moment was incredibly contagious and somewhat hypnotic.
What felt like twenty minutes turned out to be just over an hour and Incubus were walking off stage, but there was no way this crowd of 20-somethings to 40-somethings were going to let them leave so soon. Luckily the uncoordinated cries of ‘encore’ and ‘we want more’ that echoed through the amphitheater, were met with an interesting return. Incubus made their way back on stage with a unique arrangement of arguably their biggest hit, ‘Drive’. This new reggae/broken down version had a very cool groove and feel which, together with the chorus of out-of-tune voices in the crowd, created a perfect and emotional moment.
The combination of a friendly crowd, good organization, great sound, great lights and a band as incredible as Incubus, all outdoors under the stars (well, clouds really) resulted in one of the coolest concerts I have personally attended.
To those who couldn’t make it, I’m sorry. To those who sold their tickets on the day, your loss. To those who were there, I’m honoured to have witnessed this performance with you, and hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Congratulations to We Are Live, I look forward to what you have install for us in the future.
Reviewed by:Sammy SF
Shots fired by: Wayde Flowerday