This tweet shows how fortunate I was to receive tickets to watch George Ezra live!
We arrived there at about 11:30 and the gates opened just after 13:00 to greet a handful of eager fans. As we were like the first people there, we chose a spot right in front.
I watched as the lights and everything was being arranged while the acts were backstage. Bongeziwe Mabandla accompanied by Msebenzi Nzimande* (on bass) and Kevin Malope*(on drums) set the stage ablaze with their upbeat songs and vibrant spirits. Although they were jumping, the crowd was unfortunately not as enthusiastic. It was a great opening act, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hot Water took to the stage next… you had the African drums going and Bandile Mbombela singing, no chanting ‘Hot Water’. Their energy was infectious and you got a sense that they loved what they were doing. If you were not dancing to their ‘South African Folk-Rock-Pop-Township-Jive-Blues‘ then you were just refusing to have a good time. A highlight for me was when Donovan Copley jumped over a fan’s head and his shoe lace got stuck on one of her jacket’s buttons, he gave her the biggest kiss to say sorry and for the remainder of their performance I was thinking ‘Why couldn’t HE almost break my neck?…’ They had fans dancing with them on stage, Copley went ‘crowd surfing’. The entire set had our feet itching to dance and our hands started clapping automatically because everyone had a case of The Blues.
You could feel we were getting closer to the headlining act as people started screaming and dancing uncontrollably when there was no music, fewer people went to the bathroom as ‘your spot’ was not guaranteed when you returned. And then it was time for Beatenberg. They opened with my favourite song – Chelsea Blakemore!, and I was mesmerised by how beautiful Matthew’s voice sounded live – soft, angelic, like a seductive whisper. I was ecstatic because this song has no official music video and it sounded just like the studio version. They performed break-out single, Pluto (Remember you), Scorpionfish, Beauty Like A Tightened Bow amongst other hits off their album – The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg.
The stage’s lighting changed to an ominous and dramatic blue/violet/purple. We started cheering when George Ezra started singing Cassy O’ . Although I knew what to expect, I was still taken aback by how deep and soulful this 21-year-old English singer sounds. He has a very relaxed presence about him as he tells us about the stories behind his music and how he travelled through Europe and wrote songs about his experiences there. When it came to Leaving It Up To You, we became ‘his three girls with lovely voices and his choir’ as we sang along with our beautiful voices. The entire atmosphere changed when he sang Spectacular Rival, I thought for a moment I was at a rock concert as the drums, the guitar, his voice, everything just echoed throughout the entire venue. His voice was amplified and I could feel it in the depths of my soul. What was so astounding was the fact that he did it so effortlessly – it just comes naturally to him I guess. Whilst singing Budapest, we all sang our hearts and lungs out as we tried to emulate the greatness that was George Ezra, we all failed miserably but he appreciated our efforts. And that’s all that counts anyway.For his encore, he performed Did You Hear The Rain? … I lost my mind at this point. As he sang ‘whoa’ repeatedly, his voice sounded like he came from the 1960s with the soulful and bluesy sound that came from this young man, it was coarse and rusty. Unrefined, which adds to his allure, making him the beautiful soul that he is.
*the names may have been spelled incorrectly as I spelled it the way I heard it and unfortunately I could not verify their names.
George Ezra performed at the Durbanville Racecourse, Cape Town on Saturday, 29 August 2015.