The Script has toured South Africa twice before (in 2011 and 2015) and I sadly missed their concerts both times. So when the opportunity arose to finally go watch them perform live at the GrandWest Grand Arena in Cape Town on 2 May 2018, I was giddy with anticipation, ready to be swooped off my feet.
This Irish band has sold over 29 million records and is known as one of the most successful bands in the world. Band members include Danny O’Donoghue on vocals, Mark Sheehan on guitar, and Glen Power on the drums. These guys loved South Africa so much after their first tour here in 2011, they shot the music video for their track Superheroes (the lead single from their No Sound Without Silence album) in Alexandra township in Gauteng!
The very first time I heard of this band was when they released The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, the second single from their first album The Script. Having always been one of my favourite songs, hearing it live made the whole experience so surreal, especially since I found myself near the front of the stage in the golden circle. As the cords to the song echoed through the venue, I was instantly transported back to 2008, hugging my pillow on my bed, singing along to the words.
Excitement and wonder
I wasn’t the only one, the crowd went wild, immediately drowning the singer out with thousands of voices joining in, singing their favourite lyrics together with the band members, who watched us in awe from the stage. I could feel the energy of the crowd engulf me as I stood tippy toe to try and see more of what was happening on stage. At 1.68m, I felt like a dwarf jumping up and down to see past the tallest teenagers imaginable, or at least that’s what I thought as I resigned myself to watching one of the big screens instead.
For the next song, the stage got lit up in gorgeous green. The Irish-themed song, Paint the Town Green was the next one up and we all started bobbing our heads to the beat of the drums. Suddenly bursts of green confetti strips were launched into the sky by the confetti canons. Wow, what a way to get us in a celebratory mood! We all started cheering as the green paper rain showered down on us, our eyes shining with excitement and wonder.
Song after song, we danced and sang together with the strangers around us. At one stage the lead singer got us to put our arms around one another and bounce from side to side while holding on to each other. I felt sorry for those who valued personal space, as I embraced the sweaty armpits and sticky arms and hands holding on to me for dear life, while plastic beer and wine glasses were sent flying, the contents spilt all over my new shirt. But I didn’t care, we were bonding, this was good, I whispered to myself.
Kicking and screaming
Halfway through, the band decided to take the music to the guys up in the cheap seats. The whole venue started clapping and gasping in amazement as they literally went singing in the stands. The lead singer continued greeting fans, posing for pictures, and even had a gulp of beer with some of the spectators, while the rest of the band tried to get our attention back to the main stage. I have seen singers connect with their fans walking through the crowds but never like this before.
It was nearing the end of the night and I was waiting for one more song, Rain, from their latest album Freedom Child. I told my husband after that song we could leave, seeing that the crowd on our end had become rather aggressive, randomly kicking and slamming into people. My husband insisted that it would probably be the last song they did and my annoyance with the lewd bunch was wearing thin. However, that soon became a thing of the past when I heard my song being performed. I nearly wept! O’Donoghue said that they would like to believe that they brought the rain to Cape Town and we all squealed in agreement because it has been raining buckets the whole day – rain Cape Town desperately needed.
As my husband predicted, they thanked the crowd and disappeared backstage after Rain. I knew there was going to be an encore but took the opportunity to quietly leave, as I listened to the crowd chant, “We want more!” My feet were tired puppies, I was sweaty and hot, but my heart was full and I had stars in my eyes. I recently turned only 35 but must admit I felt old standing between those teens in front. Nevertheless, it felt good knowing I could still “rough it” in the golden circle with people probably half my age, listening to the same band we all love and adore, even if it was kicking and screaming.