Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood live in Istanbul June 2010

This concert trip didn't start in the usual way. What I mean is that we didn't say "Oh, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood are playing in Istanbul so let's go see them". What happened instead was that the previous winter we had said that we should go to Istanbul some day, and if we could go to a concert there that would be even better! So, at some point we realized that Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood would be playing there together on the last day of their European Tour which didn't pass through Greece. We didn't think too much about it. We booked our flight and hotels during the previous March. The added bonus was that my birthday was on the day after the concert and I would have the chance to celebrate it there. I will dedicate another post to sightseeing whereas here I will concentrate on the concert itself which took place on Sunday the 13th of June 2010. Not before mentioning the Bruce moment of that trip which happened just a few hours before the concert. I had gone to explore the Asian side of Istanbul and as I was getting on the boat to get back to the European side I noticed a guy wearing the same t-shirt as me from the Working On A Dream Tour of 2009. He was a Turkish Bruce fan who knew most of my European Bruce friends. What's more he was going to the concert that night as well.
Although we had hired a mini van to take us to the venue, it literally took us hours to get there. The reason? Istanbul traffic jams are far worse than those of Athens! When we did arrive though, we found ourselves in one of the best concert venues we had ever been to! Imagine being next to the Bhosphorus listening to your favourite music! Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, were outstanding and we could see the stage very clearly from where we were standing. In fact, because of the way the venue was designed we would have been able to see the stage from anywhere. 

The best moment however was the fireworks show that took place halfway through the concert.

Several times during the concert I kept looking at those around me. "So, these people are Turkish" I kept thinking. Of course there were Turkish, I was attending a concert in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city, so the majority of the audience had to be Turkish. What was so strange about that? Nothing, apart from the fact that from the moment we Greeks are born in this country we are taught by everyone (teachers, politicians, priests, journalists and the army) that we should hate these people. Instead what I saw as I was looking at them were not enemies, but people like us, with the same needs, the same problems, and, in that particular case, an equal love of music and who were there to enjoy a rock concert.

After the concert ended, as I was waiting for my beer (yes, the bars stayed open after the concert had ended) I struck a conversation with one of them reminiscing about the last time I had seen Eric Clapton live back in 1984 in Athens.

As we were leaving the venue we caught a glimpse of the Turkish leg of Sonisphere Festival the Greek leg of which I would be attending a few days later.

Once outside, we started waiting for our minivan to come and pick us up and lead us back to our hotel where a (surprise) birthday party had already been planned for me...

01. Had to Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence of the Lord
05. Glad
06. Well All Right
07. Tuff Luck Blues
08. While You See a Chance
09. Key to the Highway
10. Midland Maniac
11. Crossroads
12. Georgia (On My Mind)
13. Driftin' Blues
14. How Long Blues
15. Layla
16. Can't Find My Way Home
17. Gimme Some Lovin'
18. Voodoo Chile
19. Cocaine
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The Specials live in Athens June 2010

Having seen Madness live at Ejekt Festival 2007 (who managed to complete their set before the riots started) I learned that The Specials, the other great band of the 2-Tone scene had reformed the following year. They started playing gigs first in Britain and then in the rest of Europe with great success and then on Friday, the 11th of June 2010, came to Greece in order to appear at the Kosmos Festival where they headlined its first night.

At the festival entrance, there were stands selling books, jewellery and even food from different countries of the world.

The two bands that performed before them were Staff Benda Bilili and Dub Inc.

And finally, 3 years after Madness, The Specials came on stage for another night of fun and dance, even though they were never as "mad" as Madness.


Our only complaint was that they didn't do an encore and the reason for that, as I've learned in the following days was this young lady, who not only came onto the stage and started dancing, but in the end, grabbed the microphone and started singing as well!

All in all, it was a wonderful night, but I had to go back home because the following morning I had to catch a flight to Istanbul...